Saturday, April 30, 2016

Food Preparation & Preservation

It doesn't matter how well stocked your food stores are if you can't cook it. Cooking and preserving food is an important part of surviving. Cavemen learned, that hanging meat high up in their smokey cave to keep it away from the critters, preserved it even better than cooking.

Short term, the best solution is a nice propane BBQ Grill, with a backup bottle of propane.  Good ones are available from $150 - $200. Most grills can be used with wood once the propane is exhausted, but until then, the propane will cook food if you have no firewood.  If you do, the propane is a great way to get the wood fire started.  The ability to close the grill and moderate the air supply with a vent will allow the fire to smolder which will conserve fuel and be easily restarted later.  A Smoker (see pic) that uses wood is great long-term.  At the very least, you can get an inexpensive grill for under $50 and some wood or charcoal for another $20.

For nomadic cooking, there are a number of good camp stoves, but the ones that are capable of using several different types of liquid fuel (gas, diesel, kerosene, etc.), like the MSR DragonFly are best. These can be used at home, while camping or on the road to cook and stay warm. 

An indoor fireplace is a good alternative as many homes have them.  Investing in a little firewood, just in case is a good idea, especially if you live in places with cold winters. Use your fireplace each year to insure it is working.  As you use it, determine how long your wood lasts so you can plan to have enough to last you at least two weeks (or more).

Another solution is to dig a fire pit or use some of your other resources.  Things like a metal can, terracotta pot, or old refrigerator/freezer will work.  If necessary, borrow a household oven grill to cook on, or even an AC intake filter cover.  It is also critical to have a hand operated can opener (or two).

If firewood is unavailable, find sticks, tree limbs, old wooden furniture, boards from a deck or privacy fence (probably a few that need replacing anyway).  There may be a wooded area or park near your house with firewood available, especially if you have an axe, machete or saw to cut it. Be careful about cooking with treated wood as some may give off hazardous fumes.  At the very least, give this some thought and look around your house to see what is available, then form a few ideas about what you could do.


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