Do I live off-grid? Nope. Except when I’m camping. And when the power goes out, which it occasionally does for days at a time where I live. Although these are good practical considerations, the real reason I’m fascinated with electricity free cooking methods is that I’m cheap. Although some of these tools require an initial investment, the ongoing cost is small. There are many ways to learn how to cook without electricity.
How To Cook Without Electricity
Lumberjacks at the old Maine lumber camps used to bury their bean pots with hot coals for several hours or overnight to cook their beans. I can vouch for these being tasty! Traditional clambakes were done similarly using hot stones and seaweed to steam the lobsters, clams, corn on the cob, and potatoes. Sadly, even though I live in Maine, I don’t know of a beach where I’d be allowed to do a traditional clambake, so I’ve never tried one. These two methods are, let’s be honest, big projects, but if historical and cultural significance are your favorite seasonings (and they are some of mine), then these might be two fun cooking methods for you to try.
These non-electric slow cookers have captured my imagination since I first heard of them. Rather than keeping your slow cooker plugged in all day, you briefly heat it on a stove top (or, I suppose, campfire) and then pop it into this insulated bag to keep cooking. How cool is that? Even better, for every Wonderbag purchased, another is donated to an African family in need, freeing women from investing all of their time in the search for firewood. So cool!
I’ve lived without an oven, and I didn’t like it. I’ve baked inside in the summer, and I didn’t like that, either. The solar oven solves both of those problems using the sun’s energy. If you don’t mind turning it to keep it in direct sunlight and if you don’t mind cooking on the stove on rainy days, the sun oven might be for you! Want to try making your own? Here are some instructions from The Herbangardener.
This little stove packs up absolutely flat, and needs only a handful of twigs to boil a pot of water. Would I want to cook for a large family on this every night? Absolutely not. But I do love how extremely minimal and portable it is. Might pair well with the Wonderbag.
How about instead of using electricity to cook with, you could generate electricity? That’s the concept with wood-fired Biolite stoves. Their Campstove is backpack sized, but the BaseCamp Stove is more appealing to me for cooking for a family (and I can’t help but wonder if it would charge things better, too.) Despite some mixed reviews, I think this is an exciting product for those who live off grid.
What have I overlooked? Have you tried any of these? Check back later for posts on my family’s experiments with these cooking methods!