Practice Using Only Your Long Term Food Storage – Without Electricity

Here’s and idea… Once in a while, spend some time making yourself (your household?) meals for a day, but only using your emergency food supplies. If you’re into preparedness / prepping, you most certainly have a supply of specific extra foods stored back. Foods reserved for long term storage – or ‘deep pantry’ emergency food supplies. The foods that you may have acquired for ‘just in case’. The thing is, prepare these meals without electricity.

Practice your kitchen survival skills. Try making breakfast, lunch, and dinner whereby you only use your food preps, and/or “long term food storage” supplies. Challenge yourself. Even better, make all of the meals for one day in this regard. And you can’t use any electrical kitchen appliances.

Be creative. Utilize some of the typical prepper ‘staple foods’. Make some things from scratch.

[ Read: Survival Food Most Common In Preppers Deep Pantry Storage ]

Maybe you get out the hand grain mill, grind some wheat berries into flour, and make a loaf of bread from scratch with the other ingredients that you may need (how are you going to do that without electricity though?)… Maybe biscuits or dumplings instead on a portable gas stove top in a fry pan? Figure it out. Find ways to get ‘er done.

Why bother with doing this? It may help to uncover /discover holes in your kitchen preparedness. Maybe you will find that you need a particular manually-operated appliance or tool (because the electricity is off). Or a specific food item that you don’t have. Or an indoor-safe portable stove.

[ Read: Single Burner Butane Stove – Safer For Cooking Indoors ]

If you dare, go to the electrical circuit breaker panel and flip them all off. A dark house. Or at least no working appliances in the kitchen. Then try to make the meals. Oh, and lets say you can’t use things from the refrigerator or freezer (imaginary long term power outage).

Why? Because this will realistically resemble what could happen, and force you to deal with the variety of consequences and challenges.

One particular person here on the blog (NRP) has always suggested doing a ‘Lights Out Weekend” once in awhile. That’s a great idea to help find out what else you might need. My suggestion here is to focus on your kitchen and your food supplies in this way.

Maybe you open up a #10 can of that dehydrated (or freeze dried) ‘xyz’ or whatever… How does it taste? What about rice & beans? Do you have what you need to spice it up into a decent tasting meal?

I’m not talking about cheating and cooking up that frozen pizza in your freezer. Instead, imagine that you only have the food ‘staples’ or supplies that you’ve reserved for a longer term SHTF. What are you going to do with them?

And you know what? It could even be fun ;)


  1. Doing this challenge is no problem for me, because I eat from my storage, both short term and long term everyday. I have not been to town in 7 weeks, (my town is full of the Flu/RSV, which I damn sure don’t want) no re-supply, just what I have in storage.

    No electricity, not a problem, I’ve done “lights out” many times. My well is self supplying, I’m on a private septic tank/drain field, plus I have a set up working outhouse. I have a working wood cook stove, plus 2 cords of cook stove wood split/stacked in a shed 20yds from the stove, plenty of oil lamps, plus propane. I have hand tools for just about every application for in the kitchen. Plenty of every kind of food, dried, canned, freeze dried, store bought, plus as many of the condiments I could think of. Don’t quite have 600 rolls pf TP, but I have 1000’s of dryer sheets!

    Like I have said before. I’m very well prepped, I’ve work very hard, and spent a lot, to reach this level of preparedness, now it’s gonna pay off.

    1. SMG, Yup, we know you’re well practiced and prepared, and living the lifestyle at Level 4. And you bring up a good reason / example for being fully prepped. This article’s challenge is for others who aren’t necessarily at your high level… Some may acquire and put stuff back, but not practice.

      1. NorthernNutter
        It was a joke I posted on here in 2020 during the TP shortage. Can’t remember exzctly what I said but it went something like this:

        Couldn’t find TP, so I bought dryer sheets, now my butt smells like lavender and is soft and cling free.

  2. We too fast for 48 or 72 hours once a month….good training for the mind.
    I have a camp Chef gas oven with two burners handy for grid down times….can stiĺ bake bread!
    We practice grid down once quarter for 4 days at a time….just to keep.skills fresh and forces a smart rotation of supplies. We even turn off the “main” and refresh the generators and gasoline supplies. Turns out if we run the genes 4 hours per day, that is sufficient for keeping freezers frozen.

    1. Good for YOU! I use a Dutch oven over open flame wood fire mostly. Really good for even distribution of heat, especially for baking. I have several Dutch ovens and lots of cast iron fry pans as well as.griddle that work really well.over wood open flames. Practice makes perfect.

      1. Same here SS and PioW
        Fire worked for a lotta years, it will continue to be the means.
        Keepin it simple

  3. Our power outages are three or four per year.Usually heavy wet snow or wind and always in the middle of night.
    The main cook stove is propane and the wood burner is the back up.The kitchen oven is electric so if we need biscuits
    for the breakfast sausage gravy and home fried spuds we get out the Coleman stove top oven.You have to keep a close
    eye on the temperature gauge. Plan B is the Camp Chef propane 2 burner cook stove with a nice sized oven underneath.Plan C is the wood stove or the rocket stove.
    Breakfast items from storage: Eggs,bacon,sausage,ham,or spam.Potatoes,grits.Biscuits or fresh bread and jam.
    Lunch items from storage: TopRamen,Cup A Soup,Tuna sandwich or PBJ.
    Supper items from storage: Chicken,turkey,beef,burger,bbq.pulled pork.Cabbage,green beans,corn,carrots,yams,peas,
    Apple sauce,peaches,pears,cherries.Almost forgot! Rice,beans, pasta.
    A thermal cooker is great to have at supper time.

    Water is not a problem.250 2ltr.bottles,300 gal.wash water in 6 plastic barrels.Simple Pump hand pump and generator
    to run the well.The gutter downspout will adjust to harvest rain water.

    After supper we like to stoke up the fire and get out the Dynamo LED lanterns.Granny will knit until bed time and I will
    check the NOAA wx band or shortwave.Get the coffee and hot morning wash water ready.Maybe step out back with
    the spot light and see what eyes are lookin back at me.Then I beat feet back in where it’s warm.

    Next Day: Pretty much the same.

  4. As Ken mentioned, I do advocate practicing for Lights Out, among other preparing skills.
    Knowing how, what, and so-on sure can be handy “when, not if” TSHTF.
    Think about all the devastating Weather Events among other happenings that happen daily around the country/world.
    Do you beleive they can’t happen to you and yours?
    I certainly hope nada happens, but it’s good sence to be ready….

    1. – Little brother just went back to Dallas area after a two-day visit here. I still had my kerosene stove in the front room (antsy about Power with current storm), he commented that the one he bought at a garage sale was the best thing ever when we had the Valentine’s power outage. He suggested using one of the cast-iron “pizza pans” from Lodge on top of the thing for heating food. According to him, he could boil water on top of his, although slow. Haven’t tried it, need to get another chunk of cast iron and see what happens when I set it on top of the heater. (As bad as Ken at spending my money)
      – Papa S.

  5. We lost our electricity for 5 days last January, and did rely on some of our backup supplies for meals etc. Had to rely on propane to cook with on a coleman 2 burner camp stove, and used our Big Buddy heater for heat. Had battery powered lanterns for light, and have 5 oil lamps for “just in case”. Only problem we encountered was that we were surprised at how much propane we used. Have stocked up so that won’t happen again. Hope to put in a nice wood stove this summer.

  6. Today’s sharp earthquake in So Cal was a reminder of exactly what this article is about. We were awakened at 2:00 by our earthquake alarm (YES!! they do work and give you about 4 seconds notice) and then both quakes hit. Moderate quakes, the first was rolling and the second a sharp jolt. Reminded us of the Northridge quake, also early morning in January, which caused power to be out in our area for 5 days. When that quake struck, the first thing I did after checking the house was to fire up the Coleman stove on the patio and put on coffee – which turned out to be a magnet for the neighborhood. People stumbled over in the dark in their PJ’s with their flashlights, looking for the coffee. It was really funny because I had lit all the lanterns and candles and put them in the windows and on the mantle. the neighbors told us they could not understand how our power wasn’t out because they saw our house lit up while all others were dark. Once they came inside, they figured it out. For the next 5 days, we had an earthquake party every night, telling everyone to bring what was defrosting in their frig / freezer and we cooked it on the cook stove and barbecues. We had 30 – 40 people per day. My husband and one other neighbor played piano, with candelabra on top, we had wine and beer and a general good time DESPITE the countless aftershocks. Whenever a shock would come, we would stop talking and count together how many seconds it lasted and watch the glass patio door windows flex – it became fun and less scary. Our neighbors told us it made such a difference to them psychologically on that first day, particularly those whose homes were totally destroyed. Most homes were damaged, our suffered plaster cracks but no structural issues because of the direction our house is located relative to that quake. Today we were ready, with LED lights already in all rooms and ready to go and coleman stove ready with fuel cans. Luckily, the power flickered but stayed on.

    1. Always Learning, I am jealous of your great party, I really am…But, what will it be like when they run out of food and you don’t? It will smell even better at that time. Have you taken the opportunity, while sitting around, sipping wine….what it??? What if the power didn’t come back on? Transformers are being shot out around the country. What if it happens here? If they hit the right ones at the right time it will have a domino effect. This is the perfect time to practice what you might say, without outing yourselves. I would love to have that opportunity with my neighbors.
      Sometimes once people start, they get to thinking about what else they may need whaat they don’t have and it gets the ball rolling. Maybe you are lucky and they all prep!

      1. @Ariel – wise words. A few more data points about that quake: that was a one time event and I did not disclose the extent of my supplies – we limited it to defrosting frig or freezer foods only and everyone brought their coffee, sugar, coffee cups etc on the second day AND brought wine, food, snacks, chairs etx. Three neighbors hauled their BBQ’s over with propane tanks because our patio is flat and large. We quickly assessed the “mood” that morning with the coffee and we have made it a practice to know all our neighbors (we welcome all new neighbors with a cake or pie the first day they arrive) – they are a good crowd who have all been here a long time with the exception of one jackass who no one liked nor socialized with so he got mad and moved away (good riddance!). There have been a few other public “incidents”; and when we had conversations about the potential impact on our neighborhood, there were quiet, knowing teamwork. Our neigborhood spirit really cyrstalized during the big fire a few years ago, with everyone doing what they could to prepare including buying pool pumpers, providing food for those who stayed and the fire crews and keeping in communication. I have always been a girl scout and I do know how, and have practiced many times, to camp quietly in the outdoors! ;)

        1. @Ariel – to your question about do the neighbors all prep, YES in their own ways! We have a fire pump block party in May and use that opportunity for each to check that their pumper works and is ready for the season. The fun part is we “practice” by cleaning each other’s roofs :)! We have gotten most of them to install fire WASP gutter sprinkler systems as well. We have suggested and most now have generators and emergency lighting and had our fire department talk to us about fire and earthquake preparations. We personally have plans in case of a longer term power outage or emergency but those are private and my 4WD truck can easily navigate the fire roads to exit our neighborhood. With the very sad and unexpected loss of my sister (and closest friend) last year from pneumonia and the fact that our kids are grown and living elsewhere, our focus changed a bit about where we would congregate. Luckily we have other family in other parts of the state as well.

        2. I was remiss in not expressing any sympathy for the pain you are feeling, having lost your sister. I am so sorry. I never had a sister and always wished I had one. I went through the death of both parents without getting to share memories with a sibling…there is a story here as well. Everyone has one so I won’t go there. Hope you can rejoice in all the wonderful memories you have of “the queen of pea soup”. Sometimes that just takes time. The pain never really goes away, but smiles replace the tears. God has given you a support group and an outlet to be a big sister to many younger women. You are making a difference in the world and I congratulate you for it!

        3. Always Learning. I hear what you are saying. As I read your description of the event, I just couldn’t help but think how people might react if you just cheerfully stated “What if we had to do this long term, like if the power stayed off?” You know these people well, you are close. How would they react to that comment. I never thought that you might announce at the gathering that you were preppers, you are wiser than that. But if they don’t prepare, they could become a burden to you, unless you prepped for like fifty people. I worry about this myself. Not that I have the type of community that you have.. can you hear the envy in my voice?

        4. @Ariel & IMOW – you are right – it makes sense to suggest thinking about the longer term with them. I have taken a bit of subtle approach by the way I structure the block parties that I do (we rotate them around BTW) to encourage development and practice of “lights out” skills. One of mine was by doing “tailgate” chili cookoffs in the street – using whatever portable cooking thing / stove you have (no stovetop prep allowed) and lamplight. During this for example we showed some of the younger ones on the street how to use a rocket stove and they learned that having to rely on the flashlight on the phone all the time runs down the battery quickly. Laughed my ass off listening to the teens “advising” their friends how to use the solar landscape lights and to not use the phone light. IMOW, like your neighborhood, now when the state’s chief wildfire starters, also known as the power companies, turn off the power for 4 days in advance of fire conditions, we have a party on our street and look at the stars in the dark sky with our telescope. My sister was famous for her split pea soup dinner with home made bread and looking at stars and planets. In my experience it sure takes the edge of a not great situation for people to have something to do and to have practiced how to do it in “normal” times and we have a lot of successful self starters in our group. By rotating the parties, it gives each of the couples to be “in charge” and leaders and they have all done well in that role. Of course, challenging times will show up the chinks in their capabilities but we are way more ahead in my opinion than many golden state suburban neighborhoods where no one knows or even acknowledges each other.

    2. True confession, the D.H. and I love power outages. It’s an “I told you so”, to the outside world. We get downright smug about it and jump into action.
      We were a little let down during Y-2k, but will never regret all we learned, in a hurry, by the seat of our pants.

  7. @Ken – Lovely photo of the table – compliments to you and Mrs J on that! Perfect for providing some positive thoughts during a challenging time.

  8. After searching a long time, I found a large stove Tech rocket stove. I bought the large pot that can attach to the top. The stove has handles, a good size opening and a little area where you lay the wood and keep pushing it in.
    All year long, I make meals in quart jars. These include: beef stroganoff, Asian chicken thighs (make rice, throw in peas), Beef Goulash, Pork and sausage mixture to go over our cabbage (canned or fresh), Chicken pot pie filling, Beef Burgundy. Hardy Hamburger Stew. I have more but they won’t fit here. Soups” Loaded Potato, Asparagus, Spicy Tomato Basil, and more. I have around eight different vegetable. All these can be warmed on the rocket stove or in the solar oven, which I prefer. We have a two burner Camp Chef, for colder wet days. Page two…what I learned.

  9. Page two. I learned that I never want to use all the energy it takes to cook beans. I store plenty of them, and will barter or cook when I run out of canned. It takes way too much energy and you still have to watch them. Each time I can, I pretty well know if I will have room in the canner for a quart or pint of beans. I get one ready so it can soak awhile. Over time, these add up. Usually they are in with my meals in a jar, so they are well done. Eating our own rice (storage, can’t grow it, darn it) over a period of time, I would run out of really good flavorings, so I don’t let that happen anymore. I also short store things like sweet and sour sauce and Kung Pow. We raise chicken and when T.S.H.T.F. I may need to can it all. Ken’s table is a good reminder that we need to store paper, foil saran…easy clean up. We have not tried putting our water from the rain barrels through the Berkey yet. In practice, we remember to arm ourselves when going outdoors and to keep our cooking area as out of site as possible. We prepared a hard surface area away from the house, to avoid fires. Nice thing about the solar is it doesn’t smell two acreas away. It will steam up the glass when cooked. We had a power outage around Christmas. Sleeping bags, winter hats and a Buddy did fine.

    1. Ariel –

      The designated bean cooker in our house soaks the beans for 24 hours with 3 water changes. She swears there are toxins in the beans that the water will leach out. The confirmed benefit is a drastic reduction in cook time and BTU’s spent on the process. I must admit that first water change, at least with pintos, smells and looks foul.

        1. Always Learning- Hope you don’t mind me jumping in. I also change the water three times. The first time might be ten or twelve hours and then the time decreases, but basically overnight. Rinse, soak again first thing in the morning and then rinse and maybe four hours for the final soak. I don’t always get a full 24 hours of soaking time before I start cooking the beans. Hope this helps.

        2. @ Moe & Tmac – thank you for the info! I have done 8 hours of soaking but will use the 24 mode going forward.

    2. @ Ariel
      Just my 2 cents but thermal cookers work good for the beans without much work or burning a bunch of fuel. Soak them overnight then bring them to a boil and seal off the thermal pot. 8 or 9 hours and you have a tasty meal. One other advantage is no cooking odors

      1. Poorman, that makes sense, unless you want to use it for something else. I am sure you can made aa good pot of beans with rice and some precooked meat, like ham or spam in the thermal cooker. Also, sometimes we don’t want that many beans, depends on how many are at home. The only time I throw some in the canner is when I have an empty shot and will be running it anyway. I do make homemade baked beans with bacon in a whole batch. We like them better than store bought. I sometimes forget to use my thrermal pot until I make a big batch of oatmeal and we eat in shifts. Thanks for the reminder.

      2. Poorman, that makes sense, unless you want to use it for something else. I am sure you can made aa good pot of beans with rice and some precooked meat, like ham or spam in the thermal cooker. Also, sometimes we don’t want that many beans, depends on how many are at home. The only time I throw some in the canner is when I have an empty shot and will be running it anyway. I do make homemade baked beans with bacon in a whole batch. We like them better than store bought. I sometimes forget to use my thermal pot until I make a big batch of oatmeal and we eat in shifts. Thanks for the reminder.

  10. Did 11 days without power once and a few 2-3 days . Not a problem ,like camping but with a house with a gas stove,and water heater ! Ordered pizza a few times ,took hot showers .the 11 days was before we even prepped .

    1. Oh good! when the lights go out, we will be able to order pizza. I feel better already!

  11. @Ariel – we make pizza in our Coleman campstove oven using the round perforated pizza pans which allows crust to cook well. No need to order out!

    1. I have a two burner camp chef, but no stove. I assume it sits on the burners, but I am not familiar with one. We do dutch over, grill, Campstove, indoor bass stove. The small indoor propane stoves, Rocket stove and my favorite, due to little work and consistency thriving on neglect…the solar stove. We get lots of sun here but can not count on it.
      Beans…I rinse them in a colander for several minutes, put them in the canning jar with fresh water, and change it out one more time before adding it to the canner. If hot processing, I add hot water, cold get cold of course. Agree that you must rinse.
      Always learning, sounds like a great way to get people on the road to being self-sustaining to some extent, good deal.

      1. Should have said, no oven, the stove I have. I love using it on the porch to make juice in summer, since just when it turns unreasonably hot, the grapes, etc. are ready. I am going to start looking for an oven. I think that the griddle I never use in the house (I forget) will work on the camp chef. Also want to start searching for a larger coffeepot for the fire, to accommodate a few neighbors. Along with the expensive honey, this site is starting to cost me some money. Retired, need to go slowly. Lucky I started a long time ago.
        By the way Sarasota Farms, Cheesy broccoli soup is a good base for other stuff. It’s not real cheesy, but you can throw in a little extra. If you just have a handful of say, broccoli or cauliflower, you can throw it in for a good bowl of soup. It is cheap on Amazon and goes a long way. Corn Chowder, same thing. I don’t eat the more expensive #10 cans, but always buy a packet to try before committing. Sorry to be writing so much, I will slow down!

  12. In reviewing the postings on this topic and my wife’s most recent request, I will repost my recipe for Braised Beef Short-Ribs. A good dish for cold winter days.
    4 lbs of the meatiest beef short ribs I can find, flour to coat the meat prior to braising, vegetable oil in which to braise the beef in, 1 can diced tomatoes (15-16 oz can), enough beef boullion to make 4 cups of beef bullion, 1 cup of good drinkable red wine blend, Additional water to cover the beef shortribs within the dutch oven. (at this point, I turn up the heat or stoke the fire to cook on medium high for several hours. If I am freezing a batch for later use, I will thicken the broth with the roux that was mixed from pan drippings, place in a bag to freeze) I add the following vegetables all of which are washed and chopped to desired size: Yellow onion, button or crimini mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, several cloves of minced garlic, teaspoon of black pepper.
    I start by coating the meat with flour then braising the meat on all sides (as much as possible). The oil from braising is saved and mixed with flour from the dredging bowl. The resulting roux has cooked bits of beef and flour making it very flavorful way to thicken broth from the stew. I prefer to add and cook vegetables of choice prior to mixing in the roux. When I have power, I like to let the flavors of the meat, wine, vegetables and mushrooms blend together for at least overnight. Adding the roux is done prior to serving. For lump free gravy, I use a whisk to mix in the roux with the broth.
    This was a very popular dish to be served on snow survey parties and at the ail end of fire season when the weather turned cold. I called this beef stew for years before a chef friend pointed out this was actually called braised short ribs.

    1. I am in! What time is dinner? I will bring desert, but with those fixing, it will have to be something worthy. Cream Brûlée’s and a good bit of brand to light on top.

    2. Calirefugee you nailed a roux that I like to use for everything from chili to tacos…..mine I use the bottled bullion (better than bullion), 4 tablespoons of bullion in 1cup of Berkeley filtered water, add 1/4 cup star brand red wine vinegar, in addition one teaspoon red chili powder, whisk this no heat or flour needed. When I am using hamburger I add the mixture to 1 to 2 pounds of meat about a minute before the meat is fully cooked, it adds a whole new flavoring to the meat. A experienced road house cook one told me the secret to any great meal was to combine ingredients to created a new flavor and this roux does just that. For brisket I add my other ingredients like mustard and ketchup etc.

  13. Watched a few oof these last night, they are great. I love not putting an egg in the cowboy coffee, just rinse with cold water, who knew?

  14. Yeah no challenge here either. Due to where I live I lose power often in the winter. Just went through a 3 day outage. I’m with Ken and NRP. Every time you go through it you get better and learn how to do more. After 30 years here losing power for me is just a hiccup.

  15. Here’s a re-hydrating tip for freeze dried pork loin chops, raw meat or cooked.

    3/4cup hot water, 1 tbls of pure maple syrup, 1 tbls barbecue sauce, does 2 6oz 3/4 in thick patties

    cook the raw meat till 145 degrees, steam the cooked meat until tender.

    tried it tonight, meats a little tough but flavorable.

  16. To Realist and Ariel: I married into a family that has many diabetics and food sensitivities. With my own issues of high blood pressure, it impacts the way I cook for others. I have been using the Better than Boullion for at least the past 10 years. I have gotten away from using additional MSG in the foods I cook because my mom and other ladies in the Japanese community kept a big jar of it and sprinkled “Aji” on everything except coffee and pastries. To this day, MonoSodium Glutamate is still in many prepared foods within an asian market. When I left home and began working in commercial kitchens, it was along the coastline of the Left Coast. I remember the things I was taught by sauciers and other non-unionized kitchen workers. I like my mom’s cooking but it was a rough-looking fellow that served time in prison that taught me to deglaze a pan with wine and to save the pan drippings for the start of a good roux to be used later. Teachers come in many different forms.

    1. Cali, I like Better than Boullion also. I do use some canned and boxed broth, esp now, when it has gotten so expensive to make your own bone broth. Even bone prices are crazy! I do use wine to deglaze…some for me…some for the pot; makes for a happy cook. Sometimes I forget what I am doing, but, oh well
      I was blessed to have grown up in a melting pot population in a big city. When I could not escape to the farm, in Iowa, I could sample dishes from around the world, just by joining a family or two down the block. You are right, we sometimes learn from people we don’t expect to learn from. It took me many years to realize, that if I listen, I can learn something from everyone. Sometimes, you have to listen really long and hard, but it is there. Get so tired of reading labels and trying to read expiration dates on everything I pick up!

  17. @Ariel – thank you for your kind words! Our family has always been close and I and my brother are so fortunate to have many happy memories of our times together. I am sad that you never had a sibling – it is such a special relationship. I hope for you that you have found a sister in your friends. And you are right, we can be sisters and brothers to others.

  18. Always Learning, I just didn’t have him long enough, but maybe you never do…

    1. Ariel – I am so sorry to hear you lost him. In my opinion, there are no relations like siblings – in our family we considered ourselves “litter mates” and to lose one is devastating. I am sorry for your loss and send you loving thoughts and prayers.

Comments are closed.