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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Wenzel

Black Out Cooking Tips: Save Precious Resources!

During a blackout, it's imperative to cook with intention. Conserving water, fuel, and other precious resources will be critical for survival.

Water-Saving Tips

1. Use disposable utensils, plates, and cups. Bonus if they are compostable! Paper plates are perfect for starting a fire to cook or keeping warm. A plan for your trash is critical as routine garbage removal services might come to a halt or be reduced.

2. Use the water from your canned goods to cook food. Use it in place or with water to rehydrate your oatmeal! You can even drink it. Every few ounces count! For example: Don't toss the juice from the can of pineapples that you intend to eat for breakfast.

3. Cook with aluminum foil when cooking over a fire or in a camp oven. Dishes deplete water fast.

4. Use cheap, disposable drop cloths or tablecloths. You'll never know if you'll have a clean place to eat after a disaster strikes, throw down a picnic tablecloth and eat anywhere. If you can salvage it for one more meal, shake it outside to clean it. Cloths also make it easier to clean up after eating, especially with small children.

5. Wipes, wipes, and more wipes! When water is limited, you still need to clean things up. Rather than use up drinking water, reach for the wipes. Baby, disinfecting, and hand wipes are all excellent items to store in your blackout kit.

Cold Soaking

If you're like the average human, you probably want your food hot. Cold soaking is a "cooking" method that allows you to rehydrate foods such as pasta or rice without using any heat. It's prevalent in the backpacking world, but you can use this method in a grid-down situation as well. The only real benefit to heating water on a stove is to speed up the cooking process. For cold soaking, you'll need more time to prepare foods, but it's the perfect way to preserve resources like fuel and water. Once the soaking process is complete, use a little energy to warm your food up.


Soak for 90 minutes: Do not use the recommended amount of water that the cooking instructions indicate on the box. Use about half. Add more water IF necessary.


Soak for 90 minutes: Use about half the water recommended and add more if needed.


Soak for 2 hours: although "overnight oats" was coined a popular cooking method a few years back, oatmeal can rehydrate much quicker. Add more water as needed.

Cook with a sun oven

As long as the sun is shining bright, you can cook with a sun oven any time of year. They require zero fuel, and you don't have to light a fire. If you live in an area where fires are prohibited, a sun oven will be a great asset to you. You also may wish to remain stealthy, and the smoke won't be there to draw attention to your home or camp.

What are some of your favorite grid-down cooking tips? Let us know by commenting below!

Thanks for reading!

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