Friday, August 24, 2012

Cooking without Electricity: Alternative Fuels

This is the last post in the series on Cooking without Electricity. We have spent 10 weeks exploring some inexpensive ways you can cook food when you don't have access to electricity. Although some of the ideas require purchasing products (like the Sun Oven), most cooking techniques use items you will probably find around your house or yard.

Today's post will provide some novel ideas on how you can create fuel for cooking when you don't have anything else.  No charcoal or propane? How about wood?  Any camping fuel?  No? No worries!  You can make a fairly long lasting fuel with paper! 

A common way of making fuel with paper is to use newspaper.  If you don't have a lot of newspaper, any paper will do.  Paper is something most everyone has in the house somewhere.  What about junk mail? Everyone has extra junk mail they don't want! Your kids also have notebook paper for school and you probably have extra paper for your printer in a closet somewhere. Now, I don't recommend using notebook or printer paper on a routine basis because of its expense; however, it will do in a pinch.

The first idea comes from a blog post I read a few years ago.  I have tried this and it works!   Homemade firewood  I have a stack of rolled newspaper logs stored in my garage now.  (They are in a large Tupperware tub.)  I have used them in my fireplace. I think it would also work well in an outdoor fire pit.  My experience is each newspaper roll burns in about 15 minutes. You can see how I made them here.

Another idea is to make some fire bricks. You can see how to do that in this YouTube video. Here is the link:  Fire Pellets.  In the YouTube video, this man shows how to use a metal caulking gun to make fuel pellets. I used a cookie press to make mine. I wrote about it in another post. You can see that here. The best part is you can use things like paper, leaves, animal dung (from animals that don't eat meat), grass clippings or sawdust.  Whatever you have on hand!  I used shredded paper.  It is a great way to use up junk mail.

I was also reading some survival blogs a while back and came across this slide show.  It shows how you can make sawdust and paper fuel briquettes without any fancy molds.  You can use a 2L soda bottle or even just packing it together with your hands. It also covers other items that can be used, such as leaves and grass. 

I hope this post has given you some ideas on how you can make you own cooking fuel with just the items you can find in your neighborhood! 

If you liked this post, you may also like other posts in the Cooking without Electricity series:

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