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8 Ways to Cook Without Electricity

By Brody Danielson February 20, 2020

8 Ways to Cook Without Electricity

As a society we have become accustomed to our modern conveniences. Not only can we cook on a stovetop or oven, but we can pop a dish in the microwave and have it ready in mere seconds! So when we find ourselves in a position where we don't have access to these conveniences things can get tough.

Whether you are out on a weekend camping trip, stranded in the woods, or in more dire circumstances, knowing how to cook without modern appliances and tools is crucial. Here are 8 alternative ways you can cook without electricity:

Solar Cooker
What better way to cook in nature than utilizing the power of the sun? Most solar powered cookers are lightweight and foldable making them perfect to bring on camping trips or stored for emergencies. As expected, bright skies and warmer temperatures help the solar cooker operate at peak performance. Especially if you are camping or in a location where an open flame is not an option, solar cookers are a great alternative method for cooking a warm meal. Surprisingly enough, food temperature can reach 225°F with this method!
In addition to the solar cooker shown below, consider expanding your emergency and home cooking with the use of solar powered devices. Solar power provides exceptional off-grid and outdoor power solutions for any situation. Not only is it eco-friendly, solar power packs and panels, like those from GoalZero, can be charged and used only when needed.

Rocket Stoves
Rocket stoves are small, efficient, and particularly helpful when you are low on fire-starting supplies, as very little fuel is needed. A rocket stove uses a small combustion chamber to burn small amounts of wood. A vertical chimney is attached to the chamber – directing heat straight to the top surface. This setup allows for nearly complete combustion prior to reaching the cooking surface. Those in extreme circumstances can even build a makeshift rocket stove out of tin cans if necessary.

Open Fire
There is nothing more primitive than cooking over an open fire. If the supplies are available, and open flames are allowed, this method may be the most practical. Never be without fire starting tools and supplies such as matches, tinder, flint, or dry wood. Also, always be aware of your surroundings and create a barricade that prevents your fire from spreading. Open fires allow for several cooking options: skillets and pans can be carefully placed directly in the fire, rested on hot embers, or more safely upon grill tops above the fire. If cooking equipment is limited, or simply too heavy for your pack, food can be covered in aluminum foil and carefully positioned on or near the hot coals.

Folding Steel Stove
Folding steel stoves measure only 6 inches by 6 inches - yet they are still strong enough to hold a large pot and successfully bring water to boil in less than thirty minutes. The stove folds flat making it easy to take on the go. These small and efficient stoves operate on canned fuel, so stock up with a healthy supply and you’ll be ready to cook a warm meal at a moment’s notice.

Kelly Kettle
During emergency situations or when power is lost, the ability to boil water is extremely important. A Kelly Kettle makes it easy to do just that, boil water or even heat a soup or stew. You begin by building a fire in the base and setting the kettle on top. Kelly Kettle’s operate with any natural fuel and maintain their heat with additional fuel sources (twigs, leaves, paper, etc.) being dropped down the chimney. The kettle’s ability to boil water quickly may be the difference between staying hydrated or drinking contaminated, illness-causing water.

Portable Butane Stoves
Portable butane stoves may be the closest to a traditional cooking method, matching the strength of a home gas or electric stovetop. Because these small, transportable stoves run on butane canisters they are a fairly cheap way to cook in the wilderness and can be stored for emergency use. With several options to choose from, picking the right one for your needs may be confusing. For those who prefer a durable yet lightweight stove, the Mountain Series from Camp Chef will satisfy your needs. If a quiet stove with easy storage are important, consider the Multi-Fuel Cooktop from CanCooker.

Volcano Stoves
If powerless cooking and versatility are important, consider a Volcano Stove. Volcano Stoves are perhaps the easiest to pack and store as the stove the collapsible and folds down to 5 inches! In addition, Volcano Stoves allow you to cook with propane, charcoal, or wood – with flexibility to grill, bake, smoke, fry, or barbeque your meal.

Car Engine
Last but not least, when you have exhausted all other options, cooking with your car engine may be feasible. Turn on and run the car idle to heat the engine; once the engine has reached a substantial temperature turn off the car engine. Next, carefully place your pan or foiled food on top of the engine. However, prior to using this cooking technique always check your gas level; the last thing you want to do is run out of gas and leave yourself stranded.
Nearly all emergency situations can be mitigated with proper planning and preparation. Being equipped with both knowledge and the proper tools is crucial for success regardless of your circumstance.


Author Bio: Bryan Koontz is CEO and Founder of Guidefitter, the online hub for guided hunting and fishing adventures, connecting outdoor enthusiasts with professional guides. The online community allows users to share their experiences and serves as a hub for sportspeople and outdoor adventurists. In his free time, Bryan enjoys fly fishing, hunting, and spending time outdoors with his Labrador retriever.

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