It’s 4:30, you’re just getting ready to begin supper for the evening, and the power goes out. Without calling for pizza delivery, how are you supposed to cook dinner without your favorite mixer, your microwave, your electric stove, and all of the other modern conveniences you’re so used to?
We’ve talked before about how to wash and dry your clothes during an extended power outage (or for an off-grid, power saving lifestyle), but what about your kitchen? That seems a more daunting task!
Let’s assume that you don’t have a generator and you do not have gas or propane as an energy source as most Americans in suburbia find themselves.
Here are some off-grid alternatives to everyday kitchen tools:
Coffee Maker – Percolator, French-press. Or you could go truly simple and just put ground coffee into a coffee filter, placed in a strainer over a coffee mug, and slowly pour hot water through. Of course the hot water is made from your tea kettle you can put on your camp stove or grill or fireplace, right? Because you know the hot water heater won’t be working, either.
Fridge – Root cellar. This is a natural way to keep foods cool. Make a small one with a trash can buried in the ground, bury a fridge or dig out a full sized one on your property. Or create this nifty device:
Oven – dutch oven on grill, camp stove or fire or Sun Oven (or homemade equivalent). You can make bread and casseroles easily this way. An alternative would be a wood-burning oven you can make yourself. Here’s a great example. Of course, you can do this with an adobe oven, etc.
Microwave – fire, grill, propane camp stove
(and for those of you who would die without microwave popcorn, try a saucepan or a Whirly Pop). Extended power outages may mean you don’t have much left frozen, but putting items in a pot of simmering water can help them thaw more quickly, as well as putting them under a running tap of cool water in a basin of cool water.
Blender – Use an old-fashioned egg beater to do many of the tasks a blender or mixer does for you. There is a hand-crank blender on the market that is a little pricey.
Mixer – hand blender/mixer/egg beater, manual mixer system, or a really great large spoon or whisk!
Stovetop – camp stove, Kelly Kettle, rocket stove.
Toaster – cast iron griddle, pie iron or camp stove toaster
Electric Griddle – easy switch out to one of my favorite cast iron pieces – the cast iron round griddle. You can use a double sided version of this that is grill pan on one side, griddle on the other..
Can Opener – manual can openers of all kinds.
Slow Cooker – Dutch Ovens work really well as a slow cooker over a fire. A Wonder Bag (or homemade version) is another good alternative.
And what about that pesky Stand Mixer with all those awesome attachments?
The most important part of this is to understand how you can have alternatives (backups to your backups) to the powered appliances we all rely on today. Playing with the alternatives during times of plenty will allow you to be better prepared to survive in times of need.
This is one of the reasons that we built a fire pit in our backyard. We wanted more options for cooking should we need them. What other appliances do you use that are ‘off the grid’?
photo credit: lindseywb