9 Ways our Homestead Cooks Off Grid

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9 Ways our Homestead Cooks Off Grid I learned early in my prepping career that stoves can die on you! Particularly electric stoves. They are just not the best single option for the average home. The power goes out and now you are stuck with eating out or eating cold. When you talk about a …

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Solavore Sport Solar Oven Review: Pasteurizing Water and Baking

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Giveaway at the bottom of this post! Keep reading!

It’s summer and to celebrate the sunshine, Solavore sent me their Solavore Sport solar oven to test out.  Having a powerless cooking method is important if there is an emergency and you aren’t able to use your normal stove or oven.  It is also nice in the summer to be able to cook without heating up your house running your oven!  The Solavore Sport is a slick little solar oven that is easy to use and cooks some delicious food.

About the Solavore Sport

The Solavore Sport comes in three pieces.  The base is large enough to hold a standard 9×13 pan with some room left over.  The lid, which is an insulated clear plastic piece, snaps onto the base.  And the optional reflectors install easily in a groove on the lid and hook down.  The reflectors are recommended for use if you are cooking in spring, fall, or at high altitudes to increase the heat of the oven, but are not necessary if you are cooking in the middle of summer on a sunny day.

Solavore sport solar oven review--will it bake a cake?

From the Solavore website:

Features:

  • Housing is made from rugged nylon plastic for weatherability and durability. No BPA’s.
  • It’s tough but light, only 9 pounds.
  • Insulation is one inch closed-cell foam, does not absorb moisture.
  • The lid’s double layer creates dead air space for enhanced insulation.
  • The oven holds two 10-inch pots (included) or your favorite lasagna pan!
  • The floor dimension of the oven is 9 1/4 inches x 17 1/2 inches- yes, you can bake cookies!
  • All oven components are made in the USA.
  • Uses no fossil fuel – only the free energy of the sun.

The Solavore Sport also comes with a thermometer to gauge the temperature of the oven, two black pots that fit side by side in the oven, a getting started guide, and a WAPI (WAter Pasteurization Indicator).

Solavore sport solar oven review--will it bake a cake?

Pasteurizing water

I started testing the oven with a simple project, pasteurizing water using one of the included pots and the WAPI.

In order for water to be safe to drink, it needs to be heated to 149 degrees F.  The WAPI is a small tube filled with heat sensitive wax that melts at 150 F.  Threaded on a thin wire, this WAPI can be suspended, wax side up, in the water that is being pasteurized and will indicate, by the wax melting and falling to the bottom of the tube, when the water has reached a high enough temperature to be safe to drink.  It is such a simple tool, but extremely valuable for conserving fuel and keeping you safe from water borne pathogens in an emergency.

Solavore sport solar oven review--will it bake a cake?

Pasteurizing water in the Solavore Sport was very simple.

  1. Put water in the pot
  2. Suspend the WAPI, wax side up in the water.
  3. Put it in the oven and point it toward the sun.

Solavore sport solar oven review--will it bake a cake?Solavore sport solar oven review--will it bake a cake?

It easily reached a temperature high enough to pasteurize the water within a couple of hours on a clear 80 degree day at approximately 5,800 ft. altitude.

Here’s video of how it’s done:

Cooking some dinner

My next project was cooking dinner.  We have a family of 6, so I filled both pots with partially frozen chicken and raw quartered potatoes.  This one I started about noon and we ate around 6 pm.  I did occasionally adjust the angle of the oven to keep up with location of the sun.  I didn’t check it before we were ready to eat, so it may have been done sooner.  The meat was super tender, and everything was nicely cooked through.  My amazing husband, who doesn’t dish out compliments easily, said it was the best chicken he’d had in a long time.  Thanks, Solavore!

Solavore sport solar oven review--will it bake a cake?

Dinner going in . . .

Solavore sport solar oven review--will it bake a cake?

And coming out perfect!

Without the reflectors, this oven didn’t get above about 250 degrees F for me.  The drawback there is that it won’t cook foods as quickly as a conventional oven.  The benefit is that slow cooked food is usually better tasting, and the oven doesn’t get so hot that you have to be super careful with kids around it.  So, having passed the “pasteurize water” test and the “cook dinner” test, and knowing the lower temperature range of this oven, I thought I’d put it to a real test and bake a cake in it.

Baking a cake

I used a cake mix I was familiar with so I could judge a little better how the end product turned out.  Even though dark pans are recommended, I used a light colored metal pan for the cake because that’s what I own.

Solavore sport solar oven review--will it bake a cake?

It did need to bake for quite a bit longer than normal because of the lower temperatures, but 2.5 hours after putting it in the oven, I had cake.  Nice, moist, a little denser than usual, cake.  Delicious.  Without using my oven or having to use any fuel.  Just the power of the sun and the Solavore Sport oven.

Solavore sport solar oven review--will it bake a cake?

And for you visual folks, here’s the cake baking video and an overview of the Solavore Sport solar oven:

Giveaway!

Solavore is also going to send one of my readers a Solavore Sport oven of their own, complete with reflector, two 3-qt Granite Ware pots, thermometer, WAPI, and Getting Started guide.  A $269 value!  What a great way to celebrate the sunshine and get practicing cooking without power!  To enter the giveaway, use the form below to sign up for my mailing list.  I promise the list is not spammy–I use it to share preparedness information and deals I find with my readers.  You can always unsubscribe if you find it is not of value to you.  You can also share this giveaway with your friends for extra entries!  Giveaway ends next Wednesday, July 20 at 11:59:59 pm MDT.  Good luck!

Solavore Sport Solar Oven

Keep preparing!
Angela

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Please be sure to follow Food Storage and Survival on Facebook which is updated every time there is a new article. You can also find me on Pinterest, and purchase my book, Food Storage for Self Sufficiency and Survival on Amazon.

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Dutch Oven Fish Fry (Video & Transcript)

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Video By Backwoods Gourmet
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Transcription provided by American Preppers Network

Number of speakers: 1 (Backwoods Gourmet)
Duration: 11 min 36 sec

Watch more Backwoods Gourmet Videos Here!!

Dutch Oven Fish Fry (Video & Transcript)

BG: “Hey folks what we have here is something that most people in Florida consider a trash fish. This is Southern chain Pickerel. Okay, it’s lost a little color because I just brought him off the ice. He’s a predator fish, he’s got pike. Look at the mouth on that joker. He can eat a lot of stuff. Old timers use to just knock these guys in the head, kill em and through em back in the water. This ones got something big in his belly. We’ll try and see what that is. He’s eaten something very larger. For his size he can wolf down a huge fish. Like I said, most people either just through these guys back or just kill them or leave them out there for the gators. The old timers call this fish in Florida a Fresh Water Jack. It is a cousin to the northern pike. Much smaller. This one is average size but they get much bigger than this. Maybe 3-4 pounds. I’ve even seen a few around 6 pounds but this is a very good fish to eat.”

 

“Skin off. Like I said, those look like 2 beautiful fillets of fish. The problem is just like every other pike there are those Y bones running the entire link of the fish. Now that we have this filleted you can go down this middle and you can feel the Y bones and may be able to see the little tips of them. They extend down like your spread fingers all the way through that filet. So we are just gonna try to find the edges of them all the way down there and let the knife just kind of follow them. I can feel the pressure of them as I go down and take this strip off you’ll be able to actually see them. This is, believe me, I would never go through this trouble with this particular fish if this was not worth it. You can see there is the Y bone there, but that piece right there is completely boneless. You can feel it with your fingers. Beautiful piece of fish right there so we’re gonna save that one. Now it does the same thing on the bottom side. I see a few bits of the bones, a little piece of the rib left. Down here at the tail end we are gonna kind of do the same thing. We are gonna cut down until we feel that Y bone. Let the knife follow it. Even if these pieces are very small, they are delicious. “

 

“We got a couple nice crappy today to. We are just gonna go head and filet them out. Another tutorial filleting we are just gonna go ahead and get these guys ready for the Dutch oven and go ahead and cook these guys on an open fire for you guys today. I try to do the least wasted meat as possible. Fish is ready to go on the fire and the Dutch oven warming up with the oil.

 

 

“What we are gonna do is a very simple hush puppy mix. One cup of corn meal, one teaspoon of baking powder. So dry ingredient’s a teaspoon of garlic, a teaspoon of pepper and salt. Boom. Combine the dry ingredients alright. Next thing we got is about a half a cup of finely chopped sweet onion. Optional. It’s really good in hush puppies though. Throw that in and then we’ve got one beaten egg and a little bit of water to bring it up to ¾ of a cup. Pour that in and incorporate that. While we are looking here our consistency we are looking for on this is a little thicker than corn bread. We want it to be able to hold together enough that we can drop it into hot oil. That’s about right. Really thick cake batter or pancake batter. Not as soupy as corn bread. We’ll just let that sit a minute and we’ll be ready to make hush puppies.”

 

 

“Alright we’re gonna go ahead and dredge our pickerel strips, this is a half cup corn meal, half cup flour, and a good couple tablespoons of butt rub. Go ahead and dredge those and get em good and coated. We got a couple of good fillets there. Crappy or as we call them here in Florida, speckled perch. Dredge em up and let em set over here on the pan and get em ready. Got a couple people to feed. (Dropping in hot oil)”

 

 

“Okay folks, as usual we’re gonna plate this up backwoods gourmet style. Got some fresh Romain from the garden here. Gonna go ahead and place that on the bottom of the plate as part of our garnish and also a nice, fresh cool component. Over the top of that we are gonna squeeze a sour orange. These are all over Florida where peoples trees have frozen and they don’t make sweet oranges anymore. It is a lot like a lemon, very sour. Gonna go ahead and arrange a couple fillets here. A couple pretty ones cooked in the Dutch oven. And then strip of our pickerel. Most people call it trash fish. Then we got three beautiful hush puppies to go with that and then a couple of wedges of the sour orange segment’s to compliment the dish. Alright so another beautiful plate cooked on an open fire. You can do this and it is delicious.”

 

This Transcription is available for copy under the Creative Commons By-ND license.  You may copy and repost this transcription in its entirety as long as original links, affiliate links, and embedded video remain intact, including this CC notice.

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Eight Great Ways to Cook When the Power is Out!

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8 Great ways to cook when the power is out!So you are storing extra food for times of emergency, right?  Unless you have all canned goods or MRE’s, that food will need to be cooked.  Even canned meals and MRE’s taste better warmed up.  However, in many emergency situations you are without power which means no microwave!  Making a plan for powerless cooking as part of your prepping will help ensure you’re not eating all your food storage cold and raw.   So here are eight great ways to cook when the power is out.

1. Fire. We’ll start with the most primitive.  Build a fire in a fire pit, barrel, or other enclosure.  Be careful, you don’t want to add a burning house, field, or tree to your emergency!  You also don’t want to cook your food over something that produces toxic fumes as it burns like tires.  Roast your food on a stick or use metal to make a grate over your fire and cook in sturdy pots and pans.

To make it work you’ll need: a safe place to burn, fuel to burn, and matches or other fire starter.

2. Wood or coal stove. If you have a wood or coal burning stove in your house, you can cook on the top of it if it’s flat enough.  An old wood burning kitchen stove would be awesome although I expect this method would have a pretty steep learning curve for those of us accustomed to cooking with power.  A benefit of this method in the winter is being able to warm your home with the same fuel you’re using for cooking.  Not so beneficial in the summer!

To make it work you’ll need: A wood or coal stove safely installed in your home or bug out location, fuel to burn, matches or other fire starter.

3. Rocket Stove. These are little stoves that burn standard biomass fuel like sticks, but use less of it than an open fire.  You can make your own rocket stove with empty cans, or purchase one like the EcoZoom stove or the similar-to-a-rocket-stove fuel saving Volcano Stove.

To make it work you’ll need: Some form of rocket stove, fuel to burn, matches or other fire starter.

4. A barbeque grill. This one is easy if you are used to cooking on it anyway.  An outdoor grill, either gas or charcoal, is a simple powerless cooking option.  Grill meats, large veggies, fish, etc.  Anything small enough to fall through the grate can be cooked in foil or a pan.

To make it work you’ll need: A grill, propane in your bottle if it’s gas or charcoal if it’s a charcoal grill, possibly matches or other fire starter depending on your grill style.

5. Camping stove. These are the portable stoves like the Coleman Stove your grandpa used when he went camping.  Except now there are so many varieties out there from super light weight backpacking stoves to more stable single burner stoves to larger two burner stoves, there’s surely one that will fit your needs for preparedness and probably make itself a regular use cooker during camping season as well.  Each stove will have a specific fuel type, so make sure you’ve got the correct fuel for your stove!

To make it work you’ll need: Camping or backpacking stove, fuel specific for that stove, fire starting method if your stove doesn’t come equipped with electronic ignition.

6. Larger camping stoves. Larger camping stoves, like a Camp Chef, are a bit more cumbersome than their backpacking counterparts, so won’t work as well if you’re doing a quick evacuation, but they are great cookers.  They generally run on large bottles of propane and come with legs so you’re easily able to cook standing up rather than on the ground or balancing your stove on a rock.

To make it work you’ll need: A stove, propane, and a fire starting source if your stove doesn’t come with auto ignition.

7. Your gas stove top. If you’re lucky enough to have a gas stove in your kitchen and the gas lines are not damaged, you can use the stove top in your home.  Just light it with a match or other fire starter.  Due to fluctuations in flame to adjust for temperature, your gas oven won’t work without power.  Cook up anything in a pot or pan on your stove as you normally would once you bypass the electric ignition and get it lit.

To make it work you’ll need: Gas stove already installed, matches or other fire starter to get it lit.

8. Solar oven. You can make your own or purchase one like the Global Sun Oven.  You can even make one out of a Pringles can.  These work great on hot sunny days, but also work on cold sunny days!  Depending on your design, your oven may not work too well on windy days.  A solar oven can cook anything you’d put in your normal oven as well as dehydrate foods.

To make it work you’ll need: Solar oven, sunny day.

Of course, for each of these cooking methods you may need specific pots or pans for them to work best.  Testing out your gear before an emergency is always a good idea.

And just for fun, I’ll throw in these safety disclaimers as well.  Some of these methods of cooking use open flames.  Don’t burn your house down.  Others burn fuel that need ventilation–don’t use those stoves indoors.  Okay?

Now here’s a challenge for you. Some time this week, cook a meal using a powerless cooking source of your choice.  This could be as easy as a BBQ or as challenging as building a solar oven and baking a cake in it.  Get out and give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Keep preparing!
Angela

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Please be sure to follow Food Storage and Survival on Facebook which is updated every time there is a new article. You can also find me on Pinterest, and purchase my book, Food Storage for Self Sufficiency and Survival on Amazon.

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12 Days of Christmas Giveaways–Day 7: HydroHeat Flameless Cooker Kit from Emergency Essentials

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12 days of Christmas Giveaways Day 7: HydroHeat Flameless Cooker Package! Ends 12/9/15Welcome to day seven of our 12 days of Christmas giveaways!  Be sure to check out the other open giveaways while you’re here!  Today I’ve teamed up with the fantastic folks at Emergency Essentials to bring you a HydroHeat flameless cooker package!  Having a method to heat food without power is an important part of food storage.  You don’t want to be eating dry rice or cold soup.

The prize package contains one HydroHeat Cooker, one HydroHeat Tumbler, one 10 pack of heat packets for each, two Mountain House meals and a canister of Emergency Essentials’ Raspberry Hot Cocoa to cook in your new cookers!

What’s so special about a flameless cooker?  Using the technology of MRE heaters, it can heat your food or drink with no flame.  No fire, no stove, no waiting to start cooking.  Because there is no flame and no associated smoke, fume, and fire hazards, you can cook your meal when it’s pouring rain, in the tent, in the car, while you hike, in your home or apartment, at your jobsite, in the wind, or any combination of those.  It is fast and easy and only requires a small amount of water to get heating.

hydroheat flameless cooker review

Here’s the HydroHeat cooker and tumbler in action:

Ready to get started? Remember, these 12 days of giveaways are sponsored by some really great companies and individuals, so to share the love, most of the entry methods will be ways of keeping in touch with them or this site. I’ll mix up the entry methods as we go through the twelve days, so those of you who don’t do one particular type of social media can still get entries. There will also be one FREE entry every day just for answering a random question about the Christmas season, so those of you who don’t do social media at all can even enter! And you also get bonus points for sharing this giveaway with your friends (and this is the season of sharing), so share it!

This giveaway starts December 7th at 12:00 am MST and ends December 9th at 11:59:59 pm MST. Three full days to enter, so get busy! Winner will be notified by email and have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Prize package will be shipped directly from Emergency Essentials.

Enter here:

12 Days of Christmas Day 7

Keep preparing!
Angela

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Subscribe to my email newsletter for updates and special deals.

Please be sure to follow Food Storage and Survival on Facebook which is updated every time there is a new article. You can also find me on Pinterest, and purchase my book, Food Storage for Self Sufficiency and Survival on Amazon.

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Click Here To Vote For Me at Top Prepper Websites!

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Shop the Thrive Monthly Specials or my favorites, the freeze dried vegetables and yogurt bites!

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How to Build Your Own Alcohol Stove (DIY Solo Stove)

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diy alcohol stoveOne item you will want to keep in your bug out bag is an alcohol burning stove. Of course, you can buy a solo stove here if you don’t mind spending around $75. Or you can just go and make your own alcohol stove and save yourself a bunch of money that could be better spent elsewhere. Whether its for bugging out or just camping, having one of these will make your life easier.

Follow the link below to learn…

How To Build Your Own Alcohol Stove