When planning for TEOTWAWKI, a pressing issue is always food. It is important to have enough of it and be able to properly store it, ideally without wasting anything. In order to achieve this, we focus largely on non-perishable food items such as canned goods and anything else with an extended shelf life. As we are stockpiling such items, however, we are still putting things in the refrigerator at the same time. If the SHTF tomorrow, how much refrigerator and freezer food would you end up losing?
If you were to sit down and itemize everything in your fridge, you will probably find a lot of money in there, especially if you tend to store meats in the freezer or deep freeze. All it takes is an extended loss of power to ruin those food items if you're not able to consume them or find other means of keeping cold. Worse than losing refrigerator and freezer food to a lack of power is losing it to an inability to prepare it. Food in the freezer can actually survive several days without power as long as the door is kept closed, trapping temperature inside. Over the course of that several days, you can actually consume a lot of those frozen items, possibly eating them sooner than you intended to but not necessarily creating waste. In order to do that, however, you're going to need to be able to prepare them.
Photo: Zombie Hunters
Electric stoves will be useless in a power outage, but gas stoves may still be operable provided you have a means of ignition as the ignitions themselves are often electric. Beyond that, a gas or charcoal grill is a good way of preparing food items. Any one of these options can keep you from having to waste food, but suppose the stars have aligned in just such a way that none of the above are available to you. Whether the propane ran out or the stove won't light, the ball somehow got dropped. Now what?
A good solution that many of us have around the house is an ammo can. Thanks to their usefulness, ammo cans are something many of us preppers may utilize for a vast array of reasons without even thinking about how truly versatile they are. In times such as this, an ammo can may be able to save your refrigerator and freezer foods by acting as a grill. Ideally, you will have a means of punching a few holes in row along the top as well as along the bottom for both air flow and to create a rack or cooking surface for cooking, but even those things are negotiable. You can always set something on top to act as a cooking surface, such as a group of strategically arranged wire hangers. Adding a hole in the front to add fuel to your fire is useful but also not a deal breaker. In the end, by using an ammo can, you will essentially have a portable stove provided you can add kindling and have a way to light it. Just keep in mind that using an ammo can for cooking will make it very hot; this means only using it on a surface it cannot damage and do not touch it until thoroughly cool.
Photo: Everything SKS
Not only can an ammo can save you hundreds of dollars by allowing you to cook pricey cuts of meat you might have otherwise thrown away, it can also give you some of life's simple pleasures in times of turmoil. For example, if you like having bacon and eggs for breakfast, an ammo can is able to play a role in cooking those, too. If pots and pans are unavailable, you can cook yourself a comfort food breakfast in simply a paper bag as shown below. Maintaining a sense of normal and a full belly when the world around you is rapidly changing will not only help you to feel better, but also to think clearer and have the energy necessary to perform physical acts, all of which is invaluable in times of survival.
Have you adapted an ammo can for cooking use? What other items have you managed to transform in a similar manner? Tell us about them in the comments.