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A serious prepper and survival enthusiast has to be ready for everything, cooking included. Sure, you could survive on stored and canned goods; it’s a good way to survive, but not a very good way to live. In order to raise the standard of living in a SHTF scenario, cooking is a great way to make each passing day more bearable. Doing it Boy Scout style, over an open camp fire would be the easiest and most affordable method: simply add a layer of bricks to sit the pot on or just hang the pot from a beam over the camp fire. But there are other methods available, that require small investments, but they give you more control over the process of cooking itself.
Most people are familiar with outdoor barbecuing or grilling. These techniques are a secret to no one and the food is to everyone’s liking. Grills are a household item and getting a barbecue going is really easy if you have the right stuff (coal, wood and matches). However, it’s very limiting when it comes to the variety of what you can serve, as only meat and a few vegetables do well over an open fire. Luckily, there are other options out there, and next I’m going to walk you through of some of the best survival cooking gear and methods available.
General camp stoves
It’s an item that you can easily find in your local department store, some in the price range of $70 – $100. They use propane as fuel, which comes in a small 1 pound cylinder that costs about $3 – $5. The “fuel battery” is more than enough to last you about 8 straight hours of cooking. As an alternative to propane, there are also unleaded gasoline stoves and even some (more expensive) that use multiple fuels. They will come very handy in case you’ll find yourself short on one type of fuel. If you have your heart set on buying a general camp stove, make sure you never use it in doors, as the buildup of CO2 emissions can be harmful to your health, possibly fatal.
Propane / Butane Camp Stoves
These types of stoves are very similar to regular, household stoves, because there’s no difference when it comes to cooking results. The butane stoves cost about $90, their cylinders cost %5; they last for about 8 hours of straight cooking. The RV 2 propane burner types are available everywhere and are very reliable because of the way they work: you can even do pressure canning, as the flame is constant and delivers heat evenly. The price varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but for the bargain hunters out there, you can find them at garage sales for as little as $5. To have it working properly you’ll need to get all the attire required, like pressure regulator for the stove and a pressure hose, which you can purchase brand new at you propane dealer for no more than $20. As for fuel, the best way to go is with the classic 18 gallon tank, which costs about $35 (and about $9 per refill), and can last even up to a month of daily usage.
Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Unbeknownst to many, open campfire cooking can be used for more than just roasting or making stews. You can bake just as easily. All you need is a covered, large cast iron pot, named the Dutch Oven and you are set. Just grease heavily the interior of the pot, place the dough in and put the lid on. Next, simply make a hole in the ash near the fire and line it with burning coal. Cover the coals with an inch of ash and place the Dutch Oven over. Repeat the procedure with the burning ash all around the pot and place burning coals on top of the lid. Keep as much of the burning glowing coals covered in ash as possible, as this will reduce heat loss. Whatever it is you’re baking should be done in about 30 -35 minutes.
Believe or not, solar cooking is a viable option. And it’s not so out of reach as you might consider it. All you need is the contraption (which I will explain), the patience to turn it in order to face the light source every 30 minutes or so and enough sunlight to get the job done. Making the oven itself shouldn’t cost more than a couple of bucks, because the entire device is nothing more than a cardboard box painted black on the inside, a few aluminum foils glued to the cardboard panels and a sheet of window glass. The principle behind the solar oven is real easy: get enough sunlight to cook your food! The first step is to set your food inside the box (set it on a plate or in a clean surface, so it doesn’t come in direct contact with the painted cardboard box). Next you have to make sure that the glass sheet that goes over the opening of the box is a firm as possible. Once this is done, tinker with the cardboard panels cover in aluminum so that you get as much amount of light in the box as possible. Every 20 – 30 minutes change the position of the box towards the sun, in order to assure a constant temperature in the interior of the improvised oven, until whatever it is you’re cooking is done. When removing the food, make sure to always use pot holders, as the temperature inside can easily build up to 325 °F and keep constant as constant as the light source.
As I said before, just because you’re devoid of the modern conveniences of electricity doesn’t mean you can’t still have nice, home-cooked meals. The possibilities are available to everybody, you just have to get your hands dirty and invest wisely a few dollars. Just like with pretty much everything else, you’ll get better at survival cooking with practice. And once you’ve mastered it, you can consider yourself a fully trained survival cook.
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