Alternative Ways To Cook Food Without Power
Most people rely on a electric stove for cooking at home. For the sake of preparedness (without electricity), you might consider other “survival cooking” methods.
Not all foods require cooking. For example, commercially and home “canned foods” can be safely eaten without cooking because the canning process has eliminated harmful bacteria.
Pro Tip: “Not all foods require cooking.” In fact you should think about that when diversifying your preparedness food storage!
However for today’s topic, lets consider so called “survival cooking” (as in, without electricity).
Cooking with Natural Gas Fuel Source
For those of you who have natural gas to your home, you probably have a gas stove in your kitchen. The majority of typical or most likely disaster scenarios will not interrupt the natural gas supply. Given the workings of the natural gas pipeline distribution systems, the likelihood of losing gas pressure is very low (unless purposely shut off).
Natural gas to your home will ensure the ability to cook, even without electricity, because most gas stove-top burners will light with a match, although the oven might not light due to modern electronics even in gas stoves. Still, have a backup plan for cooking.
Cooking With LP (Liquid Propane) Gas Stove
Most who live in rural areas have a medium or large propane tank supplying LP gas for appliances such as stoves, heating systems, hot water heaters, and even clothes dryers. During a power outage you will still be able to cook, assuming you have a gas LP equipped gas stove.
At my home, we have a buried 1,000 gallon LP tank. It lasts a long time! Gas stove, furnace, hot water, and clothes dryer appliances.
Lets not forget the good ‘ol barbecue grill. Charcoal fired or with it’s 20 pound propane tank. If the power’s out, and your fridge/freezer is thawing, sounds like a good excuse to bbq some of those steaks! Or whatever else.
Cooking With A Portable “Camp” Stove
A portable burner or “camp stove” is an excellent preparedness appliance. They use a variety of fuel sources including propane, butane, “Coleman” fuel (or white gas), alcohol, wood, twigs…
A portable stove (e.g. camp stove) is the easiest way to deal with having a backup plan for cooking when the power goes out.
There are a bazillion camp stoves to choose from these days. They are not expensive and may be worth your while in case of an emergency. (Browse availability here)
Off the top of my head, I’ve got a Coleman dual-fuel model (white gas, gasoline), a butane single burner countertop model, and a SOLO Stove (rocket stove, wood fueled).
Related article: Butane Stove | Safer For Cooking Indoors
Fire Pit | Open Fire Cooking
Of course I could always cook over a fire outside. I do have a fire pit (ring of bricks). I have a few different size grates, and also have a tripod to hang a Dutch Oven over the fire.
It would be a challenge during bad weather, but it’s an option.
Yes, I know, the sun has to be shining for this to work. But guess what? It works! I do have a solar oven, and use it occasionally. I’ve written lots of articles on solar ovens (search our articles). You could even build you own…
Cooking in a Fireplace or on Wood Stove
Another option is using your indoor fireplace for cooking, especially if it’s during winter. Burn the fire down to a bed of coals and place a dutch oven there.
Cooking on top of a wood stove is a no brainer. I would think that most people who heat with a wood stove already do this to an extent!
The Key Takeaway…
An important consideration for survival cooking is to have a backup plan in case the power goes out for more than just a few hours.
There are a number of fuel sources and stoves to consider for emergency cooking. Chances are that you’re already set in this department, given that you who are reading this are mostly preparedness-minded / preppers.
But lets throw out some thoughts and ideas in the comment section below. Especially if you’ve ever had to use your backup plan under forced real-life circumstances.
SAFETY TIP: Avoid cooking indoors with a camp stove. Perhaps better out on your porch. Carbon Monoxide could be a problem.