Power outages are usually rare, but have been happening more often. Unfortunately, some recent power outages have occurred during winter and were for prolonged periods of time. For example, in February 2001, 5.2 million Texans went without power for around 42 hours. Forty-two hours without power may not seem like such a big deal, but the outage was completely unexpected and people literally froze to death in their homes.
Hopefully, you’re prepared to deal with a power outage, should one come your way. A power outage isn’t a big deal when you have a plan to stay warm and you have sufficient food and water. However, you’ll need to get creative to cook your meals.
Whether you lose power for a few hours, a couple of days, or several weeks, here are 4 easy ways to cook your food.
- Heat some pre-cooked hotdogs with your fire pit
If you’ve got a fire pit table and plenty of fuel, you have the means to create a fire for cooking some food. Keep in mind that flames produced by a gas-powered fire pit won’t burn as hot as wood, but the open flame can be enough to cook certain foods in an emergency.
This is a great option for foods that will cook quickly in an open flame, like hot dogs and other pre-cooked meats that just need to be heated. However, avoid using this method to cook raw meats like beef, poultry, pork, and fish. You probably won’t be able to get the temperature hot enough to kill bacteria and/or parasites.
When you’re not using a stove, it helps to have a food thermometer handy to make sure your food has been thoroughly cooked.
- Get a pre-made rocket stove
A rocket stove is a stove with simple and efficient combustion that uses small pieces of wood for fuel. Rocket stoves are popular for camping, but some people enjoy using them year-round.
In a power-out situation, you’ll be thankful you have a rocket stove. While you can always dig a pit and build a bonfire, it’s much easier to cook on a rocket stove.
There are all kinds of rocket stoves on the market, including small, foldable stoves that you can fit into your pocket. However, if you’re building up your emergency kit, get a high-quality stove. The Silver Fire Survivor rocket stove is one of the best on the market. The top is made from heavy cast iron, it’s well-insulated, has handles, and you can use small sticks for fuel.
- Make your own rocket stove
Making a rocket stove that will tide you over in a power outage is easy. You can build one out of just about any material from an old #10 can to a few scraps of metal. You can even use sand to build a stove.
Although many DIY rocket stove instructions include using bricks, cement blocks, and cinder blocks, use these materials only when you have no other option. Bricks and cement – including cinder blocks – can explode when exposed to heat. Although some people say this is a myth, it’s only because they haven’t experienced the damage firsthand. The truth is that concrete can explode when exposed to heat and so can brick. If you must use bricks, use fire brick to be as safe as possible.
Makeshift fire pits made out of random materials often explode in people’s backyards, and grout can also cause a dangerous explosion, so exercise caution when choosing your materials; metal is always the safest option.
- Use a solar oven
A solar oven uses the sun to cook your food via conduction. You can buy one, or you can make your own solar oven using a few basic materials and some patience. Although, if you don’t want to make one, they’re not that expensive.
Heating and cooking food without electricity isn’t hard
Finding ways to heat and cook your food without electricity only seems hard when you haven’t experimented with all of the options. Before the next power outage hits, pick up a few different types of solar ovens and rocket stoves. Experiment to see which works best for you. Don’t buy something now and wait until the lights go out to test your choice. You might find out the hard way that you should have chosen something different.