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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cooking Methods for the Future!

Have you thought about how you will be cooking your foods? Most of us do the majority of our cooking in our kitchens on our electric or gas ranges.   What would you do if there were no power or gas to cook with?  Many of us have a propane or charcoal grill and do some of our cooking in the summer months on it outdoors and I would also imagine that we keep at most one tank of propane or one bag of charcoal to fuel this grill.  Am I right?

Well, that also will run out fairly quickly.  So what will we do now?  I don't know about you but I don't care much for eating canned foods cold unless it is fruit or tuna fish!

If you don't have much money there are some cheap alternatives for heating canned foods or cooking quick cooking foods.  Hobo stoves were used a lot during the depression by the really poor or traveling families or single men on the road.  You can use several kinds of fuel with these such as; small pieces of wood like branches broken up or small pieces of leftover lumber, also you can gather pine cones and pine straw for fuel if it is plentiful.  One of the best fuels I have found is Buddy Burners, that are made from cardboard coiled in a tuna fish can and then saturated with melted candlewax from junk candles which would essentially be free if you have access to old candles or candle stubs.  Lastly you can use several candles placed in a circle to increase the heat for your food to be heated with.  The Buddy burners and candles can be used in the house if it is cold, wet or dangerous outdoors to cook.  Do a search on how to make hobo stoves and Buddy Burners to get your directions for making these.

Next I would suggest a small contained cook fire in your backyard if you have one (backyard I mean),  You must be very careful with campfires that you don't let them get out of hand due to the fact that Firestations may not be working in a scenario without power due to communications problems.

I would suggest you gather yourself  a small metal drum or a large metal can and cut them off at about 4 to 6 inches from the bottom then put some slashes or drill holes for air and then place them on some concrete or cinder blocks to bring them up to a height that is more comfortable for you to sit on a bench, log or chair to make it easier to stir and watch your food.  Learn to lay your firewood in such a way that you have air circulation around and under your fire.  You don't need a large fire to cook your food.  Think about how large your burners are on your range.  They aren't huge so keep your fire small and feed it fuel as needed.

You can use a campfire and a hobo stove to bring longer cooking foods to a hard boil and then you can combine thermal cooking methods with the boiling foods to complete the cooking process.  Thermal cooking can be done with several different things. 

Have you ever heard of how the Pacific Island people cook their whole pigs?  Well they get a fire going and use the hot coals to line a pit dug in the ground then they put wet banana leave or other fragrant leaves on the coals to protect the meat then they place the cleaned and gutted pig and then they place more wet leaves on top and place more coals on them then place the soil back over the pit to cook everything slowly the coals keep the buried pig hot and steam and roast it with residual heat.  There is no flame just coals and the meat comes out moist and succulent 12 hours or more later.  That was probably one of the first thermal style of cooking done.  Today we have come up with other ways do thermal cooking.

We can do some cooking in good thermos bottles.  Rice, spaghetti noodles, small cut and cubed vegetables, etc. can be cooked in a thermos by adding the room temperature food in the thermos and adding boiling water.  Remember some foods expand with cooking such as rice and noodles.  So leave room for expansion.  It works really well and saves fuel.

Another way to cook thermally is the haybox style of cooking.  You take an item which is to a boiling state and in a pot like cast iron and wrap it in towels and place it in a box lined with an insulating material such as hay, straw, blankets, comforters, etc.  Leave it cook for at least 6 hrs before checking it and then if it is not done bring it back to a boil again, re-wrap and wait for approximately 2 to 3 more hours.  Works great!  My Uncle used to make whole hams this way for family reunions and it was so moist and tender and succulent we would beg it to be done the same way next time......

The next method of cooking is the Rocket Stove.  These can be bought and are fairly reasonably priced but they also can be made for next to nothing with castoff items.  This is another item you should do a net search for the directions to make one.  The rocket stove is a healthier option for cooking because it puts off very little smoke or carbon monoxide.  The missionaries in third world countries are teaching how to make these and use them for the health of the people as well as for conservation of fuel.  The Rocket Stove uses very little fuel and uses it very efficiently.  It is also a very versatile stove in the fact that you can use most any kind of flamable material to fire your stove.
Pine cones, sticks, straw, needles, paper, cardboard, and wood of course.  If you are needing to keep the smoke down for security reasons then this method is a good choice.   If you use a cast iron pot with a lid you can heat the pot and contents and cook for a short time then leave it over the fire as it dies down then put in a thermal wrap and let it finish cooking.  This method is a good fuel saver.

Next is solar cookers.  There are several kinds starting with the least used which is parabolic solar cookers.  The requires a parabolic or convex lens to cook with.  It is a little more dangerous in the fact that you can get burned if your are not careful with this method.  Search the net for it and see if this is a style of solar cooking you would be interested in. 

Secondly is a popular method in the 3rd world countries and is spreading rapidly there especially in desert countries or countries with little or no wood.  This method is a Solar Cookit.  It is a metalic or aluminum covered cardboard that reflects and concentrates the suns energy toward the food in a black pot and cooks the contents on the inside of the pot.  This is extremely useful for people who are so poor that they cannot afford fuel and food.
This way they can concentrate on just buying the rice and other foods that they need for survival.

Lastly is the Solar Box Ovens which are the most popular in this country.  They can be homemade but are rarely as efficient as commercially built ones.  If you can afford to buy this one then please do so.  You can bake, roast, boil, steam, and do just about everything but fry in a Solar box oven.  It cooks similar to a slow cooker.  Bread, cookies, potatoes, rice, casseroles, meats, soups, deserts, and many more things can be made in these.  This style of cooker works well in the cold or hot summer as long as there is sun shining you can cook.  If it is very overcast and rainy you need to use another method such as the hobo stove, rocket stove or combination of those with themal cooking.  It has the added plus factor of creating no smoke or pollutants.  That is not to say that the delicious aromas won't escape.  So you will probably have to guard your cooker with an eagle eye or you will be fighting off the neighbors who smell your delicious cooking.

My suggestion is to build yourself a hobo stove and buddy burners, a rocket stove and to purchase a good box Solar Cooker.  You will be set then for indoor or outdoor cooking.  Do some research on alternative non-electric and non-gas cooking and on the methods I mentioned above.  You will find directions and all kinds of alternatives that I have not mentioned such as alcohol stoves,  Don't forget that you can stockpile propane and wood to have alternative methods which would be dependable.

There is no substitute for your own research.  You Tube and the Net are full of great teachers and you can then learn to be self sufficient in this one endeavor.  The last thing I would like to leave you with is to have many 3 or more hand operated can openers so you can use your commercially canned foods.

Happy Journey into your own Survival Kitchen!

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