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Monday, September 13, 2010

Creating “The Plan” – Food – Part #3

In this BLOG posting, I will talk about methods for cooking your food (applies to boiling water as well) in case you do not have access to a working, functioning kitchen (stove, oven or microwave) anymore.

Some solutions might be very apparent to you like using a BBQ grill or hibachi grill.  These solutions for cooking can work well IF you had the foresight to keep on hand the fuel for these grills.  Typically the fuel will either be charcoal briquettes or gas (like propane or natural gas) and if your grill supports it then you might also be able to use pieces of wood.  If this is what you are planning to use in a survival situation then you not only need the grill; but, also the fuel available for use.  I recommend that you stockpile enough charcoal or gas to last for a minimum of 1 year.  Charcoal would be my first choice for long-term fuel since it is relatively inexpensive to buy and if stored properly will last for years without creating a fire hazard.  Gas fuel is much more combustible so it is a greater fire hazard (especially when stored in large quantities) and the containers need to be maintained to reduce or eliminate the possibility of leaks which not only are dangerous; but, will deplete your usable supply of fuel.  Wood is renewable if you are near a forest where trees are plentiful.  Certainly you can implement a hybrid system that incorporates using both – gas fuel for convenience in the short-term and charcoal/wood for the long-term.  Whichever fuel you decide to use; just make sure you have enough for at least a year.  If you have a fireplace and/or a wood-burning stove (e.g., pot belly stove) then having enough wood (sold in “cords” or “half cords”) stockpiled in a protected shelter would be the way to go.  Of course, you could always go out and release your inner lumberjack and cut down trees for your own supply of wood and as long as there are sufficient trees available and you have the proper tools to do so, then this would be another way of supplying yourself with a renewable source of fuel.  In an urban setting, wood lumber is all around us and of course there is also wood furniture potentially available to use as fuel.  Don’t be afraid to consider using materials from abandoned or derelict construction for use as a fuel source. 

NOTE: The above methods are not only useful for cooking; but, might also be needed for creating heat inside your shelter during the cold weather season.

In a wilderness setting, wood is likely going to be your only fuel source and you will need to make yourself a good fire to service all your needs – especially cooking.  So how does one create a fire out in the wilderness?  You need the following things to create and use a fire properly:
  • Something to create an ember, spark or actual fire.  I’ll talk in another posting about some various techniques for fire starting; however, for now let’s take some obvious choices like: matches (ideally waterproof), lighters, fire steel, magnesium blocks (and knife), magnifying glass, wood-based friction fire starters, batteries and steel wool, etc…

  • Tinder – This is what’s needed to actually get a fire started.  Tinder is a more flammable type of material.  Examples of tinder include any and all of the following: saw dust, wood shavings, dry grasses, dry leaves, dry tree bark, shredded cotton, paper, commercial tinder from camping supply stores, etc…

  • Kindling – The next thing to catch fire after the tinder is burning.  Kindling is simply small pieces of wood need to get the fire created from the tinder up to the next stage in intensity and size.  When your tinder is on fire you will “feed” the fire with small pieces of wood (e.g., twigs) to get the fire more stable and established.  You will keep feeding the fire with kindling and gradually increasing the size of the kindling until larger pieces of wood can be added without extinguishing or putting out the fire.
  • Fuel – It’s the wood you collected and/or stored.
  • Fire pit – the place you will have you fire burning in a contained and controlled manner so the fire does not spread out of control and burn down everything.  Typically a shallow hole or depression you make in the ground that is clear of any materials that can catch fire, and is surrounded by large rocks to contain the fire within the pit.

I will devote other BLOG postings on specifics of starting a fire without matches or a lighter so stay tuned for those fire starting techniques.

Before I close out this BLOG posting I want to mention some very clever outdoor cooking methods that do not involve fire at all – I am talking about SOLAR cooking.  As long as you have a clear, sunny day then solar cooking is a viable method of cooking, without fire.  Solar cooking at its core involves harnessing (collecting and focusing) the Sun’s energy to heat up whatever it is you need to cook.  Food is usually placed in a black (or VERY dark) food container (e.g., pot with lid) and placed in the center of the solar collector (sometimes the pot is also first placed within a large, clear bag) which focuses and transforms the Sun’s energy into a strong heat source.  You can purchase ready made Solar cooking systems or make one yourself out of easy to obtain items like a bucket and a silver car windshield shade (see photo).  However you choose to do it: I think you will agree that in certain situations this is a great solution to use for cooking.

In my next BLOG posting I will talk more about making fire.

Stay tuned for the next BLOG post that will continue with Creating “The Plan” – Food – Part #4.

Survival is a combination of preparedness plus a survival mindset. If you have the WILL to survive, the skills/knowledge to survive, as well as, some planning and preparation ▬ then you will ultimately survive. Don't wait until it is too late or your chances for survival will diminish accordingly. As always, good luck and know I am on your side. ~~ The Survival Guy