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Here we are with a new round of emergency cooking tips. This time we’ll cover the indoor cooking instruments and techniques.
The first thing you need to take into consideration is the heating source. If a power outage occurs, you can use a propane stove, NEVER something based on charcoal. Why? Because burnt charcoal releases a great amount of carbon monoxide that could poison you and your family.
But here’s the #1 safety rule: whatever you use for cooking, always keep a window cracked open all throughout the process, so you make sure no toxic gas harms you or your kids. Always cook in well-ventilated areas, only with indoor cooking tools (never on outdoor grills or camp stoves). Open doors and windows when you’re finished at let the air circulate for at least 30 minutes.
To get familiar with cooking without electricity, you can even replace your electric cook top with a gas unit, so as long as you have gas, you can cook.
It’s not very complicated, but you have to keep one thing in mind: if a major disaster crashes buildings down, gas will most likely be shut down, to avoid any leakage. So the best solution is to get a regulator that also handles propane and stock some alternative fuel to use when there’s no gas.
You can also use Sterno Fuel, which is made of jellied petroleum. It’s perfectly safe to use indoors and it’s easily ignited with a match. So make sure you’ve always got matches around, preferably kept in an airtight bag.
Now let’s move on to the next thing on the list: how do you keep items fresh after the power outage begins?
First of all, try to keep your fridge and freezer closed as much as you can. Make a list with everything you need for cooking and get everything out at once. If you don’t open the fridge more than once, it can keep food cold for up to 6 hours. Afterwards, you’ve got just 2-4 hours left to cook everything… or move the items into a cooler, with lots of ice.
A freezer can normally keep food cold for up to 48 hours. But keep some towels under it, as the ice will start to melt and leak on the floor. Also, you can wrap your fridge and freezer in blankets to keep it cold longer. Sounds weird, I know, but it actually works.
My advice is to get an instant read food thermometer, to make sure the food is still safe for eating. If the thermometer shows above 40 degrees, you should seriously question whether you should eat the food or not.
But it’s better to always be extra cautious and throw out what’s not perfectly safe. A ride to the hospital isn’t worth all the food in the world. Also, when power comes back, clean your fridge and your freezer thoroughly to keep away bacteria.
One last tip: write down easy emergency cooking recipes and keep them in your pantry, close to your stockpile. Keep your cooking tools in there, too. This will make things easy for you, cause you’ll know exactly what foods and tools you need while you’re in the pantry.
And to make it even easier, next time I’ll start posting The Delicious Emergency Recipe Of The Week. So come back for a collection of the simplest, tastiest recipes you can make with your survival food.
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