Emergency Cooking
Cooking Without Utilities

When Utilities are out more than 6 hours:
Use most perishable items first
1. Refrigerator

  • Keep door closed as much as possible
  • Use Bottled water instead of opening the frig
  • If any question on food spoilage, throw it out
  • When power comes back, cleanout and disinfect
    2. Freezer
  • Keep door closed as much as possible
  • Food is good for 3 days if the door remains closed.
  • Wrap freezer in blankets to help keep it cold
  • Food with ice crystals in their centers are still safe.
  • Thawed meat must be immediately cooked, eaten, canned, dehydrated or made into jerky.


  • Cook in well ventilated areas
  • Be aware of carbon monoxide dangers
  • Never use BBQ grills or camp stoves indoors


  • Have a plan and means for putting fire out before you light it

    Ready to Eat Foods

  • Canned/Bottled Food May be eaten without cooking
    Emergency Candles Use for cooking and light
    Sterno / Chafing Fuel An easy method of cooking for:
  • 72 Hour Emergency Kits
  • Boiling small amounts of water for dehydrated or freeze dried foods
  • Cooking small amounts of food
  • Easy to light with a match and extinguish by placing lid back on can
    Fireplace/Wood Stove
  • Added benefit of heating home
  • Keep a large supply of wood for fuel
  • Have Fire Extinguishers Ready
  • Clean Chimney every 3 years or more if used often

    In most cases it is better to cook longer than hotter
    Use meat thermometer to be sure foods are completely cooked Barbeque

  • Be sure to have plenty of extra fuel
  • DO NOT use barbeques indoors

    Camp Stove

  • Camp stoves are for OUTDOOR USE ONLY
  • Store plenty of fuel

    Home Made Emergency Stoves

  • #10 Can Stove
    1. Use a standard #10 Can
    2. With a can opener cut several vent holes around the top and bottom of the can.
    3. Use Sterno or “Buddy Burner” for fuel
    4. Place the can over the fuel, carefully light the fuel with a match
    5. Cook directly on stove “top” (bottom of can) or put pot on can

    Make a “Buddy Burner”
    1. Use an empty tuna can
    2. Cut cardboard in strips and roll up to fit inside the tuna can.
    3. Pour melted wax over the cardboard.
    4. Add some lint from dryer to serve as a wick for easier lighting.
    5. Light with a match, use as fuel with #10 Can Stove, or with a grill.

    Stove in a Can
    1. Push a roll of Toilet tissue down into a quart metal can
    2. Pour 1 bottle of Isopropyl alcohol over the paper.
    3. Light with a match, use as fuel under #10 Can Stove or with a grill.
    Note - Alcohol burns very hot, cooking surface needs to be 6-8” above stove.
    4. “Turn off stove” by replacing can lid. Do Not try to blow out flames.

    Open Camp Fire

  • Build up sides with rocks, bricks, etc. and lay rack across top for pots or fry pans
  • Wrap meat or vegetables in tin foil, put on coals, (not open flame) to cook.
  • Cook hot dogs or meat strips on green willow sticks over the fire, best with coals.
  • Make a “reflector oven” to cook beside the camp fire.
    1. Cover a cardboard box with several layers of tinfoil.
    2. Place pan of biscuit dough in “oven” and place oven beside fire.
    3. Can also make a shelf in the middle of “oven” by taping another piece of cardboard in the box, or taping two boxes together, and covering with tinfoil.
    4. Place pan on the shelf and charcoal on the bottom of the oven for additional heat.
  • Use the reflector oven, tape a piece of cardboard covered with tin foil on the side of your oven, as a door. Add charcoal in the bottom of the oven for your heat source.

    Dutch Oven
    You can cook just about anything in a Dutch Oven with charcoal briquettes

  • 9 – 10 briquettes on bottom, 15 – 16 on top = approximately 350 degrees
  • 2 briquettes on or off = approximately 25 degree change

    Solar Oven – Ovens are available for purchase, or can be made from a cardboard box.

  • Does not require fuel
  • No fire hazard
  • Can be left unattended
  • Lower cooking temperatures, food doesn’t burn
  • Can only be used on sunny days in areas with no shadows
  • Best cooking times are between 10 AM and 2 PM
    1. Use a heavy cardboard box or two boxes, one inside the other.
    2. Paint boxes black inside and outside
    3. Stretch a Turkey Oven Bag across the top of the oven, tape in place.
    4. Cover 4 pieces of cardboard with tinfoil, and shape to fit the opening of the oven , like a funnel. Tape in place.
    5. Place a thermometer in oven, so you can regulate cooking time. (Double normal cooking time)
    6. Use dark light weight pans for cooking.

    In an emergency, will you be part of the problem – or part of the solution?