At Winding Pathways we wrote periodically about preparedness.  Usually, it’s related to the potential for seasonal weather-related events. Almost every day someone somewhere suffers damage from a tornado, hurricane, ice storm, blizzard or some other natural disaster.  Sometimes we simply discover an alternative use for emergency equipment. Sterno is one! It’s as simple as a quick way to heat water for tea or coffee while working in the cabin or out camping.

We all realize that when the power goes off it’s helpful to have back up lighting and cooking equipment on hand. Propane and liquid gas stoves designed for camping are ideal for emergencies when the power goes off, but they are pricey.  A lower cost alternative is a “Sterno” stove or equivalent. These are inexpensive lightweight stoves that fold flat and take almost no storage space. They are sold in big box stores that stock camping equipment.

The common fuel for these stoves is “Sterno”, a gel made from alcohol and contained in a small aluminum cup. You pry off the lid, stick the fuel cup in the stove, light it, and it’s ready for cooking. Sterno stoves cook slowly.  They’re not the best for elaborate cooking but are perfectly suited for a few days of light meal preparation until the power comes back on.

We’ve found that fuel cans sold in restaurant supply stores and called “Chafing Fuel” are less expensive than buying fuel in a camping store. These are mostly used by caterers for keeping food warm at buffets, and they work great for emergency cooking, too!  For information go to Sterno Products.

Please note that Winding Pathways has no connection with the Sterno Company. We like their products but have not received money or materials from them.  

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