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Thanks to S.T., a reader who submitted these questions. I think they’re the type of thing most every Survival Mom wonders but then gets too busy to ask! This is the nitty-gritty stuff that we’ll all want to know, sooner or later!
Q: Is it okay to plan on a charcoal bar-b-cue as a back up stove? Charcoal would be easy to store, I could handle it on my own, and it wouldn’t evaporate from non use like gas. I am going to buy the sun oven, but what if I want eggs or grits?
A: Absolutely, but I would suggesting going a step farther and getting a dual-fuel stove than can burn both charcoal and wood. That way, if/when you run out of charcoal, which is easy to store, you’ll still have the option of burning wood, which is generally easy to come by and safe to store. In addition to something like the Ecozoom Rocket Stove, I recommend the purchase of a good quality solar cooker or one that you make yourself.
Q: I know that my beloved Calphalon stainless steel would not last on a bar-b-cue, open fire, or whatever. I saw some affordable iron pots and pans under the “Lodge” name at Wal-mart. My grandmother and mom used to use iron pans for biscuits and really tender steaks. Would they hold up to “survival cooking”??
: The main problem with using cookware over a fire is that it’s difficult to maintain a steady temperature. You can certainly use your regular pots and pans over a fire, but if they have a non-stick surface, you’ll need to be very careful the pan doesn’t overheat. When overheated (above 500 degrees Fahrenheit), the non-stick finish
can begin to deteriorate and give off noxious fumes. Inexpensive, thin metal pots and pans work well but need to be closely monitored to avoid scorching food. Cast iron cookware is probably your best bet. You can read more here
about its use and care.
image by particlem
Q: What about cooking utensils? I guess I could still use my wooden spoons, but what are the best to use for spatulas, forks, etc. Bar-b-cue stuff?
: Make sure your utensils have long handles in case you find yourself cooking over an outdoor stove or campfire. Other than that, plan on using whatever you have on hand. You’ll need long-handled spoons (including slotted spoons), spatulas, turning forks, tongs, and a ladle. Check out the Pigtail Food Flipper
for a nice option!
: What type of coffee pot? I adore my expresso maker, but assuming there won’t be electricity (at least in the short run). I will need
my coffee!! I hate instant, so please don’t go there. My grinder is electric, so I need to know if they make hand grinders for coffee.
: Yes, you can find hand-grinders online
. As far as a coffee pot goes, track down the old-fashioned percolating kind! I have an old one I found at a yard sale, and even though I don’t like coffee, it’s useful for heating up water and other liquids. I could also use it for heating up soup and then pouring it out of the spout into bowls. Here’s a bit more info
about storing coffee for the hard-core coffee lover!
Q: Are Rubbermaid containers okay to store food in? Like packaged pastas, or flour, or coffee beans, etc. I keep my food stores in my house, in the bedroom on storage shelves from Ikea. The Rubbermaids, of which I must own 40, fit nicely on the shelves. It shares space with my sewing, so it is a constant temperature year round.
: Hmmm….think about the enemies of food storage
, and then you decide whether or not your Rubbermaid containers are doing the best job possible: heat, oxygen, pests, humidity/moisture, and light. Any of these will begin causing food to loose flavor, texture, and nutrition. Check out small mylar bags
as a better alternative. Store smaller amounts of food in the bags, your coffee, for example, and then use the Rubbermaid containers to store like food items. You don’t mention how large the containers are, but they will also be very useful for storing non-food items, such as toiletries, soap, small tools, sewing supplies, etc.
image by epSos.de
Q: I know this will be a hard question, but how much cash is good to have on hand? I have thought of $3600. That is 3 months rent for me, or if we are in such bad shape that the owner doesn’t care about the rent, I can live for awhile knowing that if I have to, I can buy gas or food if it is to be had.
A: There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but I recommend having enough cash to cover expenses for at least a month. That would include fuel, mortgage/rent, utilities, fresh food (to supplement what you have stored), and payment for hired help. Remember, that even during the Great Depression, banks insisted on being paid, and if utility companies are operating, they’ll require payment as well.
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