A while back I wrote a post about cooking without power which was really just a list of ways to heat up food–dutch oven, fireplace, grill, etc. But what if your food needs more than just heating? What if the power is out and you want to use the blender, the mixer, the toaster, the waffle maker, the coffee pot, or one of the many other kitchen appliances we tend to take for granted?
Fortunately, there are many non-electric alternatives. I suggest you start replacing your kitchen appliances with non-power versions and learn to use them. This way, if the power goes out it won’t be as big of an inconvenience. Here are 15 kitchen gadgets that don’t need power.
1. Percolator – An affordable and easy-to-use alternative to coffee pots. All you do is pour water into it, add a filter and coffee grounds to the basket, put all it back together, and place it over a camp grill or fire until your coffee is ready. It takes about 5-10 minutes depending on how strong you like your coffee.
2. French Press – Personally, I like these more than percolators. You just get your water boiling in whatever way is most convenient, then add it to the coffee grounds and let it sit for five minutes. When it’s ready, use the plunger to push all the coffee grounds to the bottom. Then you’re left with a pot of delicious coffee.
3. Camp Stove Toaster – My second biggest concern after coffee. I love having toast for breakfast, and this thing will make up to four pieces of toast at once. Just place it over a small flame and flip the bread over halfway through. It takes a little longer than an electric toaster but it’s worth the wait.
4. Manual Mixer – If you’ve been using an electric mixer for things like pancake batter or whipped cream, you should go ahead and get used to using a manual mixer. It actually works just as well as the electric version, anyway. You could also get an old-fashioned egg beater.
5. Waffle Iron – If you prefer waffles over pancakes, you should definitely get yourself a Rome Waffle Iron. It’s made of cast iron and has a long handle so you can hold it over a fire. Believe it or not, you can make some really great waffles with this. You just have to preheat it and use very low flames.
6. Hand Flour Mill – A top-of-the-line mill for turning beans, oats, rice, and wheat into flour. One of the reasons some preppers do this is because flour doesn’t store for nearly as long (usually less than a year). If you want to store food for years or even decades, but you also want to have flour, you’ll have to get a flour mill.
7. Dough Maker – You can make dough by hand, but it goes a lot faster with the EZ DOH Bread Maker. Also, you won’t make a big mess in the process. Just put in the ingredients, crank it for a couple minutes, and your bread dough is kneaded.
8. Pasta Maker – This is probably the most popular pasta maker on the market. There’s a knob that allows you to control the thickness of the pasta and with the right blades you can make linguini, spaghetti, and even ravioli. Check out this detailed guide to making pasta at home.
9. Manual Blender – As far as no-power blenders, the Vortex Hand Blender is probably your best option. It doesn’t work as well as an electric blender, but if you’re willing to use your muscles, it can get the job done. Just be sure to clamp it to something sturdy first.
10. Food Strainer – Use this to make your own jams, juices, and sauces. There’s no need to peel or core fruits and veggies. Just cut them in half or quarters, drop them in the top, and start cranking. The food strainer will separate the puree from the seeds, skins, and stems.
11. Meat Grinder – Absolutely essential if you want to make your own ground meat or sausage. This will grind beef, chicken, pork, rabbit, venison, and even vegetables so you can make delicious meals. It’s made of tin-coated cast iron and comes with 3 different nozzles for making sausages and bratwursts.
12. Wonderbag – This is a great slow cooker alternative. The concept is simple yet brilliant: Put your food in a pot, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil long enough to heat the food through. Then place it in a Wonderbag and close it tightly. The Wonderbag will use the heat that’s already there to slow cook your food for up to 12 hours.
13. Ice Cream Maker – The problem with most ice cream makers is you have to have ice, but the ice in your freezer is going to melt if the power is out. This hand crank ice cream maker is different. If temperatures outside are low enough, you can just set it outside until the liquid between its walls freezes (about 8 hours, depending on the temperature). Then you just put the ingredients in the bowl and crank it for at least 15 minutes and you’ll have a quart of fresh ice cream.
14. Whirley Pop – If you or someone in your family regularly eats microwave popcorn, you’re going to have a problem when the power is out. That’s why you should get a Whirly Pop. Just pour in some oil, popcorn kernels, place over medium heat (such as a Sterno Stove), and crank the handle until the popcorn is ready. He’s a video guide to using one.
15. Zeer Clay Pot Fridge – An interesting way to keep food cool when the power is out. You put a small terracotta pot inside a large one and line the gap between with wet sand. When the water evaporates, it pulls heat from the inner pot, making it 20-30 degrees cooler than than air outside. Corporals Corner made a great video that explains how to make one.