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Cooking Without Power in Emergencies

ohoto of a portable cooking stove

A few years back I lived in a mobile home way out in the woods. It was secluded but in a nice area and close to the city. I live where there is fairly cold winters – with our share of snow storms and high winds. I always kept camping gear around to take my daughters out camping close by in the woods. My most important gear was a portable propane cooking stove. I kept several of the tanks around for spares for our camping excursions to do cooking without power. 

Power grid failure

One night, when it was late in the evening, a snow storm hit us with high winds and the power went out. But because we had camping equipment  – like lanterns and battery operated lights,  and a propane stove to do our cooking without power, we were able to meet our needs.

I kept a 7 gallon water jug that you can buy at Walmart full of water. I would fill a one gallon pastic jug half way with cold water, and then heat another half gallon of water in a pan with the portable stove. Mixing the two together made a gallon jug of slightly hot water. I could stand in the shower and take a portable quick shower – so to speak. The portable propane stove would also heat the bathroom for this.

The fact that we had this portable propane stove, allowed me to handle a lot of tasks – heating water for quick partial shower – providing a little heat for one room to stay warm –  and most importantly, cooking food without power. We would have been suffering if it wasn’t for this one item of survival gear.

Here is some methods to cook without power during an emergency:

1. Fireplace – 
If you have a fireplace this is a big bonus. Any individual can roast marshmallows or cook hotdogs over a fire, yet to cook a genuine dish you have to be a lot more creative. Wait till your fire has a lot of radiant coal at the bottom, then attempt one of these methods:

Aluminum aluminum foil: Season some meat and veggies with salt and pepper and add a little vegetable oil. Then cover the food in aluminum foil, use tongs to place it into the fire, and to turn it periodically. In a short while you’ll have a tasty dish. Use a meat thermostat to make certain the meat is at least 165 ° before you eat it.

Skewers: Put your seasoned meat and veggies on a lengthy skewer and slowly rotate it over the fire (not in the fire) until they’re fully cooked. This requires a little bit extra perserverance.

Fire place grate: Set one up above the fire and use cast iron skillets to fry up just about anything. These are excellent for soup, stew or chili.
Naturally, utilizing the fireplace to cook inside without power is apparent. So since that’s out of the way, let’s go on to the choices for people that do not have fireplaces.

2. Canned Heat

These are flaming cylinders that are commonly used by food caterers to keep food warm. They utilize a gel-like fuel that will not splash, they’re simple to start, and also a 7-ounce size can will burn for a couple of hours.


I, myself, have a Sterno stove as well as plenty of canned fuel on hand. It doesn’t get as hot as a fire place, yet it is sufficient for you to cook some eggs, make tea or cocoa, and heat up soup. You can also cook your dried or freeze-dried foods.

photo of a sterno stove

This is without a doubt the easiest way to cook inside. So if you haven’t already, I strongly suggest you to get some canned heat to do your cooking without power.

3. Camp Stoves

I also have a Coleman two-burner stove, however it’s not safe to utilize inside your home without an open window in a well ventilated  space. Some people will say that using gas stoves inside your home isn’t really that harmful, as long as you don’t leave it on for too long. But, I prefer to stay safe. If you do use a propane oven inside, at least make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector.
photo of a coleman portable stove

A better alternative is a butane cooktop. butane burns cleaner so it’s a little safer to make use of inside. Nevertheless, I ‘d still beware.

4. Your cars and truck
If you have enough gas, it might be worth it to open your garage door a little (for ventilation) and utilize your automobile to produce heat.

Wrap some food in aluminum foil several times –  place it on the engine (away from any type of moving components) and close the hood. Once again, check the inner temperature of your food with a thermometer prior to consuming it.

This is not neccessarily an ideal way to prepare food. But it’s something you can do if you’re out of alternatives when trying to do your cooking without power. Better yet, get a portable stove that you could plug into your auto’s cigarette lighter.

5. Grill
An obvious choice would be to have a good grill on your front or back porch and plenty of coals or propane.

6.Dutch Oven
A cast iron pot that you hang over a fire is an ideal way to heat up food or cook it.
You will need to get a campfire tripod for this way of cooking as well.

7. Kerosene Heater
This is great to have around for heating the house as well as using the flat top to put a pan of water to boil foods, hot drinks, and soups.

Try to keep one or more of these helpful items to cook food when the power grid goes down.  Go here to get more helpful food storage ideas for an emergency event.

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