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Emergency Cooking Over an Open Fire Using Cast Iron Cookware
Remember last time when we covered water purification, and storage? Maybe, kinda, not really. Ok check my last post it’s all there. Now we will talk about how to cook without electricity or gas.
Yes, I know for some people reading this, it is going to sound completely strange to cook anything over a fire, but remember it was done for centuries, as well as currently by many campers.
What you will need: I truly believe the best cookware for outdoor use is cast iron, it’s durable as a good set kept in good condition will still be able to be used by your great great grandchildren, it’s also the original non stick cook ware. I recommend getting a skillet and a dutch oven at the bare minimum but you can go to almost any outdoor/camping store and take a look at what is available in your area. You can pick them up on Amazon or at Cabela’s, but it really doesn’t matter quality wise where you buy them from.
Now that we have our cook ware, we need a fire, right? Right. So we need wood. Fallen dry branches work very, very well. If you use firewood for winter, don’t touch it…that will be used to keep you warm. However if you have charcoal for the grill it will be very useful, to get your fuel for the fire ready in your chosen spot. I recommend your fire place if you have one, as long as it isn’t a gas fire place. Do not use the oven or the stove for this. You really don’t want your cooking fire to burn down your home.
How to build your fire:
You have a place chosen for the fire (grill in the backyard, spot in the backyard) and you are ready to make the fire. Get some cotton balls, cover them in petroleum jelly (Vasoline or the generic store brand stuff, it’s all the same) and get out the matches. Place the jelly covered cotton balls in the center of where you want your fire and light it up with the match. Slowly add small pieces of wood or leaves or small, loosely wadded pieces of newspaper into the flames,then slightly larger pieces of wood until you have a nice size fire. Now please understand you don’t need a bonfire to cook over and depending on what you are cooking you usually don’t need flames, just hot coals. So let the flames die out before you start cooking, otherwise you will burn your food and no one really wants that.
Using a skillet over an open flame is pretty much the same as cooking over your stove although you will need to keep an eye on what’s in the pan. With a Dutch Oven, (no, not the one where you pull the covers over the head of who ever is in bed with you and then…..well…..you know) you place your food in the Dutch Oven, place it in the fire, and place hot coals on the lid. It’s recommended that you get the appropriate tool (Stacy ninja edit: read – tongs or a lid lifter) to pull the lid off since it its covered with coals. Check on whatever you have in the oven every 5-10 minutes. It’s great for biscuits and other things you need to bake. You can also use it as a big cooking pot if needed. Just don’t put the lid on it.
Personally I recommend that once you go out and get these tools, get some practice. Summer is nearly upon us, so use it as a good way to justify cooking in the great outdoors if needed. Besides, it will shock the kids and they will think you are even more impressive. I think everyone should have the ability to cook without gas or electricity, all you have to do is get some practice.
Next week’s article will be on how to make your own tools from wood. Stay tuned!