Cooking in the dark should be a consideration for a long-term disaster plan. Power outages have been reported to last for as long as three weeks, and you might want to vary your storage foods a little while you wait for the power to come back on.
You may also have to cook some of the foods you stored, although you should try to buy foods that require little or no preparation. Learning how to cook without electricity, will spare you a lot of pain. You can even have fun while you learn.
Everything you’ll ever want to know about solar cooking and more is found on www.solarcooking.org. It has many free resources, including plans to build your own cookers if you’re the do-it-yourself type.
It may seem strange or going overboard to cook with food using the sun’s energy, but it’s a cheap and effective alternative to using the microwave, stove or oven. Your options for solar cooking include:
- Solar oven
- Solar cooker
- Portable solar panel generator kit (plug slow cookers and other low Watts appliances into the battery)
- Panel cooker
To work, you’ll need sun of course, and therefore you should have plan “A” and plan “C” in case you don’t have enough sunlight, or a disaster occurs during the winter time.
Volcano II Stove
One item to budget for in your disaster plan is a Volcano II Stove. You can use it outdoors to cook anything you want using wood and charcoal. You can also attach a propane hose to it, and use propane indoors or outdoors to cook on it or use it as a heat source. It collapses easily, and comes with a storage bag, making it easy to carry if you had to evacuate. It’s easy to store as well, if you don’t have much storage space.
Having all three options for cooking fuel (charcoal, wood and propane) is important, because you have more options. You don’t have to store as much propane in your apartment, because you could also use wood in a pinch, and you can store some charcoal. You can set a dutch oven in the stove, or use the grill parts as you would a stove or a barbecue grill.
You’re not going to want to start an open fire at your apartment building, but you may have to if you evacuate. Learning how to start a fire and keep it going is a skill that everyone in your family needs to learn how to do. Keep in mind the age and maturity of your children, before you teach them this skill.
Your emergency kit should include waterproof matches or lighters for the job. There are many outdoor skills websites that you can check, and even YouTube videos on the subject matter. Practice now, because starting a fire is not as easy as it looks. You should also invest in two dutch ovens and skillets, because you can’t use your regular cookware on an open flame.
Consider taking your family on a camping trip. It’s a great way to practice your disaster plan and to learn how to cook without electricity.