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Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Disaster Prep Wednesday: The Useful Sterno Stove

When the power goes out and it's cold and icy outside, it's nice to have several cans of denatured and jellied alcohol about. These are most readily available under the Sterno brand name. For about 24 dollars, you can buy a six pack of 7 ounce Sterno cans from Amazon.

That's about 12 hours worth of cooking time

A single burner Sterno stove will set you back about $9.

The cans and the folding stove take up very little space in your emergency bin.

The shelf life of unopened Sterno is several years, so you can store it and forget it for the most part, though you might want to check out a can every 2 or 3 years. Replacements can be purchased almost every where - Target, WalMart, hardware stores, camping supply stores, etc.

You might need a couple of single burner stoves if you are trying to cook something other than a single dish meal, otherwise you have to cook things in sequence. I have a double burner Sterno stove and you can find them for about $9 - see here.

There are other brands of this product available, just Google "canned heat cooking fuel." Of course, if you search for "canned heat" you'll get directed to the blues/boogie band that started up in the mid-1960's.

Sterno "Canned Heat" just celebrated its 100th anniversary:

One advantage of this product is that you can use it indoors without fear of poisoning your indoor air unlike charcoal, propane and the like.

There are some safety precautions - good idea to take the label off when using a can. You may find a pair of needle nose pliers handy for putting the lid back on the can to extinguish the flame - the cans and lid can get hot. Alcohol flame can be hard to see, so be careful if there's an open can in the stove.

We had a recent power outage and used our Sterno stove to make coffee and hot soup for some of our elderly neighbors who were less than prepared for bad weather.

If things had stayed bad, I also had my propane camping stove and the large propane grill to fall back on. But for a short event when it was nasty outside, the Sterno did just fine. The Boy Scout cook set is an excellent idea and you can find a stainless steel version here.

Make sure you have matches or a butane lighter available, too.

1 comment:

  1. And unlike propane and other compressed gasses, Sterno will burn when it is really cold.