As preppers and survivalists we need to be prepared for many different types of situations. If there were to be a total collapse having your food storage would be extremely beneficial, but it doesn’t do you any good if you have no way to cook it. Here are some alternative ways to cook your storage food, that may not be conventional, but do not require any liquid fuel or gases that may be hard to come by during a collapse scenario. Not only are these alternative cooking devices cheap, but they can be made to be very durable.
- Solar Ovens are great because they rely only on the sun to cook food, they can be made very easy, and they are passive (you can leave the food to cook, unlike a burner). Even if you are to run out of propane or gas for your bbq grill, conventional stove or camping stoves you would at least have something to cook a couple meals a day with no use of fuel other than the sun. They are also quite good for slow cooking as they cook at lower temperatures than your standard oven this means very juicy and tender meats like you would get from a crockpot.
- A solar oven can be made with some very basic materials including cardboard, aluminum foil, duct tape, some small pieces of wood and a piece of Plexiglass or a Fresnel lens. There are many different styles even some made from old satellite dishes. You can make one with the many kits and plans on the market, but there are many types you can buy as well.
- Some of the downsides to solar ovens are that they do not work at night or on a very cloudy day. They normally will take two to three times longer to cook than a standard gas or electric oven as they cook at lower temperatures (usually 300 degrees or less).
Cast Iron Dutch oven
- While a dutch oven isn’t the actual device that provides the heat to cook food they make it easier to cook on a fire. A dutch oven is a normally a cast iron deep pot that has a cast iron lid. The remarkable thing is that dutch ovens are made to be put straight into hot coals. Dutch ovens can make great soups, goulash and cobblers. Usually you will just dump everything in the dutch oven, stir it for a moment, then you can put the oven straight onto the hot coals from a wood fire. The coals can even be put on the top of the lid to really cook the meal evenly.
- The cast iron dutch ovens are almost unbreakable so they can be used for 50 or more years without problems. Cast iron is also non stick once it is seasoned, so this means easier cleanup and less water usage. Dutch ovens are also quite easy to cook with and there are many delicious recipes for them.
- The main problem with dutch ovens is that they can be extremely heavy. So if you are taking it in your bug out vehicle or bag, it may be smart to get an aluminum dutch oven that is a quite a bit lighter, but a tad less durable.
Wood Rocket Stove
- A rocket stove is basically a controlled wood fire. They are most often made of metal in the shape of a cylinder. Wood is placed in the bottom of the stove and is lit just as if you were making a fire. Because the fire is inside of the cylinder it is forced to come out where there is oxygen. There are ports at the top to allow the heat and fire to come out through the top exactly where your pot or pan is sitting. There are many different rocket stoves from one made with two pork and bean cans to large elaborate stoves that allow you to adjust the oxygen which in turn makes the fire smaller or bigger to raise or lower the temperature you will cook at.
- The great thing about rocket stoves is that it is normally easy to find vegetation that can be burned to make a fire, so your fuel is not hard to come by. They are also cheap and many can be homemade for almost nothing, but the labor to make it. They can be made very small and light so they can be easy to take with you in a bug out bag.
- The main problem with rocket stoves can be twofold. They can be hard to adjust the flame to simmer and they will leave a nasty residue on your pans. As we know wood will smoke when burned. This smoke turns into a very nasty tar type material on the bottom of the pan that is quite difficult to get off. So for this reason I would not use it on your good pans. It would probably work better to use it with cast iron as it is already black and will not show the residue as much.
- The new Biolite Stove is really cool as it doubles as both a rocket stove and a charger. You make a fire in it and cook your food and the stove uses the thermal energy with a charge port to charge a phone or tablet. Now that is cool!
With just these three simple cooking tools you will be able to make almost anything you want, at any time of the day, with no fuel that is hard to acquire. The best thing about these tools is that they can all be made or bought for well under $100. There is no reason that a prepper should not have these items in their preps or at least know how to make and utilize them. I actually made a very rough rocket stove so check it out. As always with your preps it is good to practice and really learn how to use them, knowledge is the most important asset to a prepper and survivalist.