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Everyone, young or old, can enjoy having a handy collection of basic cooking skills with a little practice. Mastering this list can help you make better meals, save time, be safer in the kitchen, and just plain have fun!
Taking the time to make your own stocks or broths gives you ultimate control over the amount of sodium and fat going into your meals. It's also great for customizing spices and herbs for certain dishes (bonito-pork broth for ramen, anyone?).
Eating healthy should still be delicious.
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Properly Cooking Pasta
While most people can at least boil water to cook pasta, it's still a fairly easy food to mess up. It's a good idea to glance over the main pointers to make sure you're not using too little water or adding unnecessary ingredients (looking at you, salt).
If you don't want to wake up early to pack lunch or have been eating a bit too much takeout recently, then meal prepping might be for you. By investing a few hours each week and a little money in reusable containers, you can make healthy meals that will last you the whole week.
Roasting a Chicken
It might seem a bit intimidating at first, but learning how to roast a whole chicken is something that will continuously help your culinary ventures. Our easy fool-proof way is a great primer for those wanting to try their hand at making an impressive bird.
Roasting is one of the tastiest ways to cook vegetables. Many vegetables that are found unappetizing when raw or steamed come out wonderfully flavorful when roasted. Our guide to roasting carrots is a good introduction to the technique, which can be easily used on other veggies as well.
Properly Using a Knife
Being comfortable with knifes is an absolutely essential cooking skill. Make sure you choose a knife that fits comfortably in your hand, is sharp (which ironically causes fewer injuries than a dull knife), and is the correct size for what you're trying to cut.
Food Safety Basics
Last, but most definitely not least, is a basic knowledge of food safety. The FDA has a great website highlighting the need-to-know practices that will keep your kitchen and the food coming out of it safe.
15 life skills every teenager needs to learn before college
Students must learn to behave like adults — cooking, doing chores and setting a budget
Thousands of young people will be heading off to college in a couple of weeks and while this is undoubtedly one of the biggest steps they will take in their young lives, many might not be prepared for their first foray into independent living.
W e asked some experts for the lowdown on what first year students should be able to deal with when they leave home for the first time.
Teaching Kids How To Cook
I believe that teaching our kids a new kitchen skill should not be done during bewitching hours. Instead, use the weekends and non rush-hour times. I’ve found that I’m more patient (and not as critical) when I’m more relaxed.
Here is a breakdown of some age appropriate kitchen tasks you can use when you are helping your kids cook!
Cooking Tasks for 2-3 Year Olds
At this age, kids need high supervision. Focus on basic tasks and they’ll do just fine. Toddlers can get involved in the kitchen with the following activities:
- Setting the table
- Squeezing lemons
- Learning to match the silverware as you empty the dishwasher
- Using the salad spinner
- Picking the leaves off fresh herb stems
- Gentle stirring
- Mashing potatoes
Cooking Tasks for 4-5 Year Olds
Motor skills are more defined and they can focus better. This is a frustrating age for many parents because many kids will be doing the 2-3 age group while others the 6-7 -it depends how involved and interested they’ve been.
Work with your child to figure out what they are most interested in doing from each list and focus on things they can accomplish on their own, with minimal intervention from mom and dad. This is a great age to focus on independence while still doing many of the same tasks they were doing in the kitchen the year before.
- Stirring independently
- Setting the table
- Putting away pots and pans from the dishwasher or drying rack
- Greasing pans (with help)
Cooking Tasks for 6-7 Year Olds
Fine motor skills are developed so they can take on more detailed work, like using measuring spoons and forming meatballs or nuggets. They still need a lot of guidance and reminders of where to keep their fingers during grating and peeling.
Some of the things you can teach them to do at this age are:
- Dicing and mincing vegetables (use a pairing knife and start with soft foods like strawberries)
- Peeling raw potatoes with a peeler
- Slicing and scooping avocados
- Greasing pans
- Using a microplane zester
- Draining and rinsing canned beans
- Pouring liquids into containers
- Decorating dishes
Cooking Tasks for 8-9 Year Olds
This is my favorite age group. They can read! They can take on every task prior to this age group and teach new things based on their interest. You’ll have to decide if they are mature enough to work at the stove but you can start with easy toaster oven type of recipes if not.
This age group can learn to do the following tasks in the kitchen:
- Using a pizza cutter can opener
- Scooping batter into muffin cups
- Scraping down the batter
- Using the stand mixer
- Putting away leftovers
- Rinsing dishes and loading the dishwasher
- Pounding chicken
- Skewering food
- Make sandwiches and wraps
- Chopping most foods (nothing much bigger than a paring knife or small serrated knife)
Kitchen Tasks for 10-12 Year Olds
This age group can usually work independently in the kitchen. Make sure they have learned basic kitchen skills and moved on up on skill level before they are left to make meals (even under supervision).
Rules still apply (and often need reminding) like use mittens and wash hands after touching chicken. Kids this age can even do basic stove tasks like scrambling eggs and flipping pancakes.
The Tree of Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar
This is a great book to read if you want to work a daily yoga practice into your routine. Iyengar is a respected yoga teacher who developed his own yoga philosophy based on &ldquostrength, endurance, correct body alignment, as well as flexibility and relaxation.&rdquo This book is a great way to deepen your practice and understand the &ldquowhy&rdquo behind the exercise if you&rsquove been going to yoga classes for a while.
But it is also accessible to new yogis. Yoga with Adriene, who is one of my favorite YouTube yoga instructors, said this is the first book she read when she was in yoga instructor training.
Best Variety: The How-To Cookbook for Teens
These 100 recipes for beginners are organized by meal type and meal course, with a section on solo meals and family meals, making this book your perfect go-to whether you’re feeding yourself or a crowd of friends. A comprehensive introduction section covers everything from essential kitchen tools to microwave hacks to food safety tips.
Study snacks like Pull-Apart Pizza Bread and Spinach-Artichoke Dip will make you the most popular dorm room in the hall, but you’ll also be prepared to make impressive full meals like Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops and Linguine with Clam Sauce. You don’t have to be a teen to enjoy this collection any kitchen novice, college student or not, will benefit from this variety of classic-yet-creative recipes.
For a tasty lunch or light dinner, you can’t beat an omelette. Beat your eggs until thoroughly combined, pour into a frying pan, and scatter over your fillings. Simple! To make it fluffy, drag the egg into the middle of the pan as it sets, as shown in our video on how to make the perfect omelette:
The humble jacket potato needs very little to turn it into a substantial meal, but a few tweaks to your method can transform it from just average to outstanding. Try rubbing the outside with a little oil and salt for spuds that have crisp skin and fluffy white flesh. Follow our guide on how to make the ultimate baked potato for success every time and delve further into our baked potato collection.
8. Managing Your Healthcare
Once you’re on your own, your parents will no longer be responsible for maintaining your health—even if you’re still on their insurance. You’ll need to stay on top of your routine dental and medical care by scheduling appointments yourself and making sure you keep them.
Whether you'll be living by yourself or with roommates, make it a point to sharpen these life skills before leaving the comfort of your home or the dorm. You'll be setting yourself up for a smooth entrance into the real world.
Cooking Basics for Teens
While I know there are an endless number of things that could be included in this list, I tried to narrow it down to some basics that could also be adapted and used for many cooking tasks.
1. Boiling Water
Boiling water seems simple but it is the basis for many things, such as making pasta, hard boiled eggs or cooked potatoes. If your kids don’t know how to boil water, there are many things they won’t be able to make or do.
- Put water in a saucepan.
- Place on burner on high heat.
- Let the water come to a full rolling boil. It will appear as though it is bubbling up.
One thing we don’t often think of is the amount of water to use. You have to take into consideration what you are adding to the pot and leave enough room to add that without the water spilling and boiling over.
Another thing to remember is that putting a lid on will trap heat and bring water to a boil quicker. Also adding salt to the water will drop the boiling point and thus cause it to boil quicker.
2. Hard Boil an Egg
When it comes to boiling eggs, the biggest problem is that people often over-cook them, leading to a dark green color around the yolk.
- Place the eggs in a single layer at the bottom of a saucepan and cover with at least 2 inches of cold water.
- Bring to a full rolling boil. Adding a teaspoon of vinegar to the water may help keep egg whites from running out if an egg does crack while cooking. Also adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the water helps prevent cracking as well as making the eggs easier to peel.
- Turn down to a slow rolling boil for 10-12 minutes.
- Immediately drain of water and rinse with cold water to cool quickly. This prevents them from cooking any longer.
3. Crack an Egg
So many recipes call for eggs. But if you can’t crack one without getting the shell everywhere it can make for kind of a disaster!
Here is a great WikiHow Tutorial – How to Break an Egg with simple pictures, and short video clips on how to crack an egg.
4. Chop Onion
Onions get me EVERY time! They make my eyes burn like crazy! Slicing, dicing, and chopping onions (or anything) into uniform pieces isn’t just for show, its’ the only way to ensure even cooking.
When using a cutting board, dampen a dish towel to put underneath it to help prevent slippage.
One of the main tricks about cutting onion is how to avoid your eyes burning and tearing up. When you slice an ion, you break cells, releasing what’s inside and allowing amino acid sulfoxides to form sulfenic acids. This produces a volatile sulfur compound that reacts the water in your eyes to form sulfuric acid. The acid burn your eyes, causing them to release tears to wash away the irritant.
Some ways to help this include:
- chilling the onion first
- using a sharp knife
- keeping exposed cuts in the onion away from you – the second you cut an onion in half, turn both sides down on the cutting board
- don’t peel the side you aren’t currently chopping
Here is a great video and step by step tutorial on chopping onions – How to Chop an Onion
5. Freeze Hamburger (or anything else)
The following freezing instructions apply not only to hamburger but other things you would freeze as well.
- Step one is to be sure you buy not spoiled, sealed, not expired products from the store. If hamburger doesn’t look bright red, you shouldn’t buy it.
- At home split the meat into recipe sized portions (we will often us a marker and some tape to label for specific recipes or designate an amount – like 4 chicken breasts or ground turkey for stroganoff.
- Use freezer paper, plastic wrap, or foil to wrap each amount individually. Then place in gallon-size freezer bags, forcing all the air out before sealing.
- Label with dates, amounts, item type, etc.
Thawing Frozen Meat
There are a few options for thawing frozen meat. Some require more time than others and thus you might chose one based on the amount of time you have before needing the meat.
- Thaw in refrigerator by placing it on a plate to catch any liquid that might leak. Allow 24 hours to thaw.
- Thaw by placing the bagged item in the sink and immersing in water. Use cold to slightly warm water. If you use hot water bacteria can form. Change water every 30 minutes or so until the meat is thawed.
- To thaw in the microwave remove all the wrapping and place on a microwave safe plate. Use the defrost setting on the microwave to slowly and gently thaw the meat. Then cook immediately.
6. Cooking Chicken (pan or roast)
Most meats, including chicken, need to get up to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to be safely cooked through. If you’re cooking a whole bird, it should be inserted into the thickest part of the thigh but not touching bone.
Remember, you can’t tell whether meat is safely cooked by looking at it. Any cooked, uncured red meats – including pork – can be pink, even when the meat has reached a safe internal temperature.
You can pan fry chicken with water, or oil on medium heat. With oil use a tablespoon or two (enough to just cover the bottom or your frying pan). With water you use more because it cooks off faster. Thus using enough to leave a thin layer over the entire pan would apply.
You can also season or marinate the chicken before frying. An easy way to do this is to buy a seasoning packet or bottle of marinade from the store and follow the directions. We often buy chicken breast, cut any fat off, poke holes in the chicken, and place in a bag with a liquid marinade overnight. This offers the best overall seasoning.
Be sure to use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat to ensure proper cooking of the chicken.
The act of roasting a chicken is fairly universal, however the seasonings you use may not be. Here is a cooking article – How to Roast Chicken that covers, preparation, seasoning, and roasting a chicken.
With any cooking en devour I highly recommend doing it a few times with your child. Moving from you doing, to them doing each and every step, until you both feel comfortable letting them tackle the entire thing on their own.
7. Steam Veggies
I found an article, “How to Steam Vegetables” that does an amazing job of telling you both the why and the how! Below you can check out some of the “why”, then head over to the full article for the details on the “how”.
Steamed Vegetables: Two Essentials
The key to steaming vegetables is twofold: cut the vegetables into uniform sizes and don’t over-steam them. Pretty logical, right?!
Cut the vegetables into uniform sizes so that they cook at roughly the same rate and are all done at the same time. You can mix vegetables, but be aware that more tender vegetables, like broccoli, will cook faster than denser vegetables, like carrots. If you want to steam mixed vegetables at the same time, add the longer-cooking veggies first and then the quicker-cooking veggies after a few minutes. You can also cut the denser vegetables slightly smaller so that they cook more quickly and finish at the same time as the rest of the vegetables.
My trick for avoiding over-steaming? Set a timer! If I don’t, I’m likely to get distracted with other parts of the meal and forget that the vegetable are steaming away on the back burner. I usually set the timer initially for three minutes, and then continue checking intermittently based on how quickly I think they’re cooking.
I also take the vegetables out of the steamer basket when they still have just a bit of crunch in the middle — by the time I get them to the table, the vegetables have cooked through perfectly without going mushy. Take a look at the guide below for rough cooking times for various vegetables.
How Long to Steam Vegetables
- Spinach and Arugula: 3 minutes
- Peas: 3 minutes
- Broccoli Florets, Cauliflower Florets, Green Beans: 5 to 7 minutes
- Carrots, Potatoes, Turnips, Squash: 8 to 20 minutes
- Kale and Collards: 10 minutes
8. Make Mashed Potatoes
Ingredients: 2 lbs of potatoes, 1 cup of milk, 4 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and cut potatoes into medium sized chunks. (The smaller the pieces the fast they will cook.)
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes drain.
- In a small saucepan heat butter and milk over low heat until butter is melted. (This can also be easily done in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave.)
- Using an electric hand mixer, slowly blend milk mixture into potatoes until smooth and creamy.
**You can also mix in a small container of French Onion or Ranch dip for added flavor.
NOTE: A Roasted Chicken, Steamed Veggies, and Mashed Potatoes make a simple meal your child can prepare for the family.
9. Make Soup
Begin By Making Stock
Making a stock (broth) is the basis for all soups.
- You can use bones from meat, woody vegetable trimmings, onion and garlic skins, whole herbs, or limp vegetables. You need a pot large enough to hold all of this and enough water to cover your components.
- Bring it all to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until you have a flavorful liquid. (This can take 20 minutes to an hour, really however long you have.)
- Skim the scum from the top and strain, reserving the broth.
Add Main Ingredients
You can find recipes with a simple Internet search, or use whatever you have in the pantry and fridge. With soup the possibilities are endless.
- Use vegetables, meat, grains, or pastas.
- We often add leftover white rice, cut chicken, and veggies on their way out to a chicken stock to make a hearty veggie chicken and rice soup.
- Don’t like chunks? Puree what you add. We love the flavor of onion and celery but not the texture so we puree them to make a thicker base for our soups.
- Want creamier? Enrich your soup with a little cream, Greek yogurt, sour cream, milk, or nondairy milk such as rice or almond. Start with about 1/4 cup and taste and add as needed.
The Finishing Touches
Use fresh herbs to enhance your soups flavor.
- Try things like dill, parsley, oregano, basil, or cilantro.
- Other good toppings are sour cream, shredded cheese, crumbled crackers or french fried onions, crumbled bacon, and croutons.
10. Repurpose Leftovers
- chop for chicken salad
- slice for sandwiches
- shred with cheddar cheese inside tortillas for quesadillas
- make or buy a pie crust (or use the recipe on the Bisquick box) to make chicken pot pie
- mix with macaroni and cheese
- make taco salad
- make Shepard’s Pie by adding cooked peas and carrots, gravy, and mashed potatoes
- add to tomato sauce and boil up some pasta for goulash
- make a quiche (again Bisquick is great for this)
- use in vegetable soup
- make a stir fry with strips of chicken
Any cooking basics for teens that you would add?
2 How To… Budget
Budgeting. It is a word used a lot, but what does it actually mean?
Budgeting is a way to make sure that your income can cover what you spend money on. You should work out how much you make every month, work out how much you NEED to spend every month (rent, utilities, debt), allow some money for your goals and savings, and anything left over can be used for things that you WANT to spend money on. When dealing with money, there are a few things to consider:
- Keep on top of your bills.
- Prioritise what you need to buy.
- Save some money every month.
- Shop around for bank accounts and find the best deal. If you are a student, some student accounts come with perks such as a student railcard.
- Don&rsquot worry if you break your budget.
3 How To… Vote
Voting. It is something we are supposed to do, but what is voting, why should you vote, how do you vote, and who should you vote for?
Voting allows you to have your say about issues and who should represent your views. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland you can register to vote at the age of 16 and you can vote at 18. In Scotland it is slightly different: you can register to vote at the age of 14, can vote in Scottish elections at 16 and in any other elections at 18.
You should vote to have your say, but also because many movements campaigned for everyone&rsquos right to vote. Voting means you can get politicians to work for young people and to solve problems for local people.
There are three ways to vote in the UK:
- By proxy – someone else can vote for you.
- By post – vote by post before polling day.
- In person – you go to the station, give your name and address to the staff and they will give you a ballot paper. Go to a booth and follow the instructions on the ballot paper, then put the ballot paper in the ballot box.
There are many political parties in the UK, but no one can tell you who you should vote for. Read policies of the parties and make up your own mind. If you are having trouble deciding, there are quizzes online that can help you work out which parties most align with your views.
4 How To… First Aid
First Aid. It can save a life.
Some injuries are easy to treat, in the UK if the injury is minor you can call 111 for advice, but if the injury is serious you should always call 999 for help. In general, try to stop bleeding by raising the wound and putting pressure against it.
Meningitis is a much more serious problem. If any of the following symptoms are present you should seek medical help as soon as possible:
- Blotchy or pale skin
- Joint and limb pain
- Cold hands and feet
- Flu-like illness with a temperature
- Eyes sensitive to light
- Stiff neck, headache and drowsiness
- A rash that doesn&rsquot fade when pressed
If you come across an unconscious casualty, follow these steps:
- Danger – check for danger to yourself or the casualty.
- Response – gently shake their shoulders and say &lsquocan you hear me?&rsquo
- Airway – open the airway by gently lifting their chin.
- Breathing – look to see if the casualty&rsquos chest is rising and falling, listen for breathing
- Call for help – if the casualty is not responsive and not breathing, call for an ambulance and start CPR
- 30 chest compressions – place one hand in the centre of the casualty&rsquos chest and place your other hand on top, interlock your fingers. With straight arms, use the heel of your hand to push down firmly and smoothly and release. Repeat this until you have done 30 chest compressions
- 2 rescue breaths – open the casualty&rsquos airway again and pinch their nose closed. Make a seal around their mouth with yours and breathe out steadily. Take a normal breath and then give a second rescue breath.
- Repeat until help arrives – 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths.
5 How To… Internet
The internet. It is a fun place, full of your friends and silly videos, right? Not quite. You should be sensible and safe with your online activities.
- Think about what you post - if your social media profile is not private, anyone can read it. This could include your future employers, so think about your posts before you post them. Do not post anything you might want to get rid of later once something is on the internet, it is there forever.
- Other people are not perfect – people only post the best versions of themselves online, so do not use their posts as a way to measure your life.
- Be nice – treat other people the way you would want to be treated, react by being nice and be yourself.
- Passwords – keep your passwords to yourself as they should be private. You should also use more than one password since, if anyone gets your password, they can only access some of your information.
- Strangers – strangers on the internet may not be who they say they are. If you decide to meet someone you met online, make sure you tell someone where you are going, meet in a public place and ideally do not go alone.
- Security – make sure your privacy settings are up to date and use some form of security on your electronic devices.
6 How To… Cook
Cooking. When most young adults have to fend for themselves, they go for ready meals or takeaways.
Knowing how to cook means that you can save money and eat more healthily. Take some time to learn very basic recipes that are easy to change depending on the food you buy.
7 How To… Get A Job
Jobs. How do you go about getting a job? Before you look for jobs, you should work out what you want to do. Consider your skills, interests, style and values to find a job that is right for you.
Once you have decided what you want to do with your life, you should make sure your CV is the best it can be:
- List your achievements not your duties.
- Say why you are great.
- Avoid typos, poor spelling and grammar errors.
- Tailor your CV to the job.
Your next job to do is to look for a job! Apply to as many jobs as you want to and hopefully you will get an interview. At an interview, the employer will be looking to see if you are a right fit for their company and if you are right for the job. You should:
- Dress smartly and wear comfortable shoes.
- Arrive early.
- Research the company beforehand and practice.
- Speak confidently and give full answers.
8 How To… Get Friends
Friends. As an adult, making and keeping friends is hard, you have a full, busy life and so do they.
The best way to meet new people as an adult is to join a club, have an open mind and meet people with different interests to you, this will extend your learning possibilities. Once you&rsquove met people, keep in contact, make plans and take interest in them.
9 How To… Respect Others
Respect. If you talk to others with respect, they will talk to you with respect.
- Well actually – do not assume that people do not know something, and only explain things to people if they ask you to. If they do not ask you, they probably already know about it.
- Stand up – if you see someone doing or saying something you do not agree with, stand up and say something to them. They are never going to learn if people do not correct them.
- Not your darling – stop using pet names for people unless they ask you to. They can belittle the person you are talking to and make them feel like they are less important.
- Consent – sexual consent is where a person has the ability and freedom to agree to sexual activity. An absence of an enthusiastic &lsquoyes&rsquo means no. If you are unsure if someone consents, stop.
Being an adult is tough and strange, but you have got to do it.
For more advice and information, check out my zine: How To Adult, available to buy from my Etsy Shop.
Jodie Christine Cox is a UK-based illustrator, specialising in children&rsquos illustration. She sells cards, postcards and badges of her own designs and has recently designed and made a zine called How To Adult, with advice for 16-25 year olds.
Survival Cooking: 18 Off-Grid Cooking Methods without Electricity
Jennifer is a full-time homesteader who started her journey in the foothills of North Carolina in 2010. Currently, she spends her days gardening, caring for her orchard and vineyard, raising chickens, ducks, goats, and bees. Jennifer is an avid canner who provides almost all food for her family needs. She enjoys working on DIY remodeling projects to bring beauty to her homestead in her spare times.
If you buy an item via links on this page, we may earn a commission. Our editorial content is not influenced by commissions. Read the full disclosure.
Do you like the idea of living totally off-grid? Some people are thrilled with the idea, while some simply are not. However, whether your goal is to live daily off of the grid or not, there are times when going off-grid is not an option.
For instance, when a bad storm rolls through your residential area and the power is out for days at a time. I think we’ve all been there. Those are the moments when we need to have back up plans.
So how do you cook during those times?
Well, I’m going to give you multiple ways that you can still cook without power. Here they are:
1. An Open Fire
Cooking over an open fire is not just something that cowboys do. It can easily be accomplished in these modern times.
When your power goes out, you may want to have a few of these options readily available. Or if you are someone that is planning on going off the grid, then you might have to seriously consider this as a permanent cooking option.
However, you can’t just go outside and start a fire in a random location. I mean, you could, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It is always better to have a designated space and a plan laid out as to how you will function if modern convenience isn’t available.
So with survival cooking over an open fire you could use a fire pit, have a barrel in place to start a fire inside of it, or you could have your own fire ring (a space with sand in the bottom and stones around the outside to contain the fire, like the cowboys did in the desert.) Just make sure these items are readily available to you when and if they are needed.
The main goal is to have a safe space to cook and contain the flame of an open fire.
2. Wood Burning Stove
I already told you all of the great benefits of burning with wood. This reason was actually one of the reasons I listed that having a wood-burning option in your home was wonderful.
If you didn’t already know, a wood stove makes a wonderful cookstove too. Now, one day I hope to have a legitimate wood cookstove.
However, until then, I cook on my wood burning stove every time I get the chance. The reason is that it does a great job and it requires no power.
If my power goes out, I still have a way to cook a hot meal for me and my family. If I ever decide to live completely off-grid, I’ll be sure to install a woodstove because it is such a convenient survival cooking option.
You see, you don’t even have to go out of your house with this option. You can still cook a meal right in your kitchen. They make wood cookstoves available with ovens in them, or you could simply buy a regular wood stove for the purpose of heating your home and cook on it (as I do.)
Plus, it makes some wonderful pinto beans and soups. I place all of my ingredients in my cast iron soup pot, and I have dinner ready within a few hours.
3. Rocket Stove
Rocket stoves are wonderful fuel-efficient options for survival cooking food without power. They can be as compact as you need them to be.
Plus, they don’t require a lot of fuel to get them going. So if an emergency happens, and you don’t have a lot of firewood, then this option would be great because you only have to grab a few twigs and smaller pieces of wood to have enough heat to cook a whole meal.
If you are on a budget but still need a powerless option to cook your food, then consider a rocket stove. They can be made quite quickly, very inexpensively, and are absolutely efficient.
4. Barbeque Grill
A few years ago, we had a really bad wind storm blow through our area. It knocked down all kinds of trees on our private road and a huge tree in our front yard.
Because we are so rural, we were without power for days. At the time, we didn’t have our woodstove installed yet. We installed it the very next winter.
However, if it wasn’t for our gas grill, I’m not sure what we would’ve done. We had no power, we couldn’t even make it off of our road though we were cutting wood with a vengeance, and I had 6 people in my home looking to me for food.
Thankfully, we had a gas grill that I was able to power up and cook all kinds of great foods on. I made coffee every morning with a percolator. We had delicious breakfast sandwiches in the morning. I was also able to make full-blown meals for lunch and dinner.
I hope this shows you that if you have a gas grill or a charcoal grill, they can be your best friends during an unexpected emergency.
5. Camping Stove
Would you believe that there was a time in my life I would’ve never even gone camping and now I’ve adopted the homesteading lifestyle?
Well, that is the truth. Yet, now I love the outdoors. When we go on vacation, I don’t want to go to crowded cities. Most people call Disney World the happiest place on earth. To me it was torture. I just love to be in a cabin off in the woods somewhere for a while, or even a tent. I’m really not that picky.
However, I digress, if you are like me, and love quiet getaways, then you probably have a camping stove. If not, you are in luck because you can buy them online for very little money.
However, they come in larger gas options or smaller options. Plus, you can buy a gas grill or a charcoal grill. It is all about preference.
So if you are trying to live off-grid, or need a survival cooking option for camping or emergencies, then this might be a good fit for you. The reason is that these are easy to store and take along with you.
However, I wouldn’t recommend them for a larger off-grid family because it would take a lot of resources to power a smaller grill like these to feed a larger family for a longer period of time.
6. Gas Stove Top
Do you have gas appliances in your home? If so, that is a great feature to have. Growing up we never had gas appliances.
However, my parents do now, and they love them! As a matter of fact, those appliances are what saved us when I was a young adult. We had a nasty ice storm come through and thankfully, I could get to my parent’s house.
Because of their oversized fireplace and gas appliances, we were able to eat and stay warm for almost a week and a half while we waited for the power to be restored.
If you are thinking of living off-grid, then you might have to consider having your home set-up for gas appliances.
However, if you are just looking for a means to cook without power if needed, keep in mind they do make gas burners that can be set-up and cooked on easily. I have a few of these that I use when I host get-togethers in the fall. We just place the burners outside on tables and use them to cook and keep soup warm.
Remember to keep gas cooking appliances in mind when trying to cook powerless.
7. Solar Oven
I love solar ovens. They are easy to build, you can purchase them too (if needed.) They are fully functional meaning you can cook a variety of items in them.
Plus, they require no power and don’t cost an arm and a leg either. Anything that is dependable and affordable, I’m all about.
So a solar oven is a piece of equipment that is built and meant to attract the heat from the sun, but it does take longer for items to cook in it.
For instance, rice normally takes around 20 minutes to make. In a solar oven, it takes a few hours.
However, it is a survival cooking option, affordable, and something that anyone can use as long as they have some sunlight.
8. Wonder Box Oven
This is a very creative idea. The Wonder Oven looks like a bean bag. It is designed to cook food and keep it hot without burning it, or to keep cold foods cold.
You use this survival cooking option by bringing your food to a boil and then place it in the center of the Wonder Oven (aka Wonder Box) and put the cushion on top of it. The food will continue to cook without using any power what so ever.
Plus, you can make it yourself for very little money. Again, if you are someone looking for survival cooking options but are working on a budget, then this might be something worth considering. It is basically a powerless crockpot which is something I had only dreamed of until now.
9. Outdoor Wood Burning Grill
Do you have an outdoor grill? Well, that’s great and certainly a viable option for survival cooking. Obviously, since I’ve already mentioned it here in this post.
However, I have a wood-burning grill as a solid back up in my outdoor kitchen. After being caught that time with no way to cook besides my gas grill for all of those days, I have made preparations to not be in that predicament again.
As mentioned, I now have a wood stove, and we still have our gas grill too. Yet, I kept thinking the whole time during that storm, “What am I going to do if my gas runs out?”
Then I thought after we installed our wood stove months later, “What am I going to do if I’m in the dead of summer with no power?” Our woodstove gets HOT!
That is when my husband and I came up with the idea of an outdoor kitchen area. We made an outdoor wood-burning grill from an old barrel with a lid. We painted the outside, placed a grill grate inside of it, and have a lid to contain the heat.
Then we have a little crate that we keep down next to the wood-burning grill, with our grilling tools and firewood when we need it. This is our third go-to for survival cooking when we don’t feel like using electricity, or if we have a power outage and we need to cook for our large family.
10. Camping Oven
My mother-in-law gave me her camping oven around the time that we built the outdoor wood-burning grill. She never used it and thought I would. I’ve still hung on to it after all of these years because it would work wonders if I’m found without power.
See, these ovens allow you to bake bread, baked goods, or heat items up over an open fire. All you have to do is place this metal box over the fire and let it do its thing. Mine even came with a timer. They are very neat items to have and don’t cost very much either.
So this is another survival cooking option that might help you have some variety if you are off-grid, or be easy to store in case of a power outage as well.
11. Earth Oven
An earth oven is one of the oldest survival cooking techniques that we know about. It is built from basic material under your feet and is constructed like a giant mud pie. Here is a great tutorial on how to build your own earth oven.
If you are working on a budget and need a way to cook outdoors without power, then this might be worth your consideration.
12. Tea Light Oven
A tea light oven is something that you may not be very familiar with because it is still relatively new. It is an oven that is powered by tiny tea lights. It is able to heat and cook your food using zero electricity.
If this interests you, a tea light oven can be purchased here, or find out how to build your own here.
13. Volcano Stoves
A volcano stove is a collapsible stove that is also very versatile. It can be heated with propane, charcoal, or wood.
Plus, it can be used for baking, cooking with a dutch oven, wok, and a lot more. So if you’d like a versatile and compact survival cooking option, then this could be it.
14. Hay Box Survival Cooking
Hay box survival cooking is the off-grid version of a crockpot. You’ll begin by bringing the food to a boil.
Then you’ll place it inside an almost airtight wooden box that is filled with hay. Then close the box and let the food continue cooking for a few hours. Learn how to make your own hay box here.
15. Solar Dehydrator
Do you love dehydrated foods? I’m writing this as I have deer jerky dehydrating in my kitchen. Needless to say, my family is a dehydrating bunch.
If you are without power it is amazing that you can still dehydrate food and preserve it. You can do this by using a solar dehydrator. Learn how to build your own here or purchase one here.
16. Using Your Car
You might not think of your car as a survival cooking mechanism, but if you are in a true survival situation, it can easily be one of your only cooking options.
Basically, it works by heating up the engine of the car. It then makes the hood a hot cooking surface. Granted you will need enough gasoline to keep your car running in order to use this as a viable cooking option. So keep that in mind if you are choosing this as a survival cooking back-up.
17. Canned Heat
Canned heat is what you see used at catered events. It is tiny cans of flammable substance that is safely contained and used to cook over or keep food warm.
You can purchase canned heat here and learn how to use it to cook here. This would be a good back-up to have. However, I’m not sure how great it would be for constant off-grid living as it isn’t very sustainable.
18. Outdoor Pizza Oven
You can build or buy your own outdoor pizza oven. Either way, if you have no power, you can easily fire this baby up and get busy creating some wonderful dishes.
If you aren’t sure how to cook on an outdoor pizza oven, here is a great site to help you get started survival cooking lots of different dishes.
Well, there are the 18 survival cooking options that I hope will inspire you to be prepared for an emergency without power, or help you if you are looking to live off-grid.
As mentioned, I actually have 5 of these options in place at my own home. We have a wood-burning stove, a wood-burning grill, a gas grill, a fire pit, and a camping oven. Surely, we will be better prepared for our next power outage.