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6 Surprising Off-Grid Uses For Alcohol

alcohol barrelWhen city folks in the 1940s went into the country, they were surprised to find the farmers didn’t know there was a depression going on. Why?

Because they made their own food and alcohol.

Yep…you read that right—alcohol. Is alcohol really as important as sugar, gold, salt, tobacco, and canned food?

You better believe it!

1. Alcohol as cooking gas. There are alcohol stoves around you can buy or make yourself. They look like real stoves and can carry heavy large pots on top of them. They consist of a stand and burner. You can place any kind of alcohol inside. After prepping, the flame usually burns around a half- hour at high. I’ve used an alcohol stove everyday for a month to cook and reheat my food as an experiment. The cost is anywhere from 5 to 10 cents to produce the alcohol.

2. Alcohol as fuel. Motorcycles made before electronic ignition can still run on alcohol. The T-Model Ford was run on alcohol.

These days you can get an E85 converter so your car can run on ethanol fuel. Anybody can install this if you have some knowledge in mechanics. It will take no less than an hour to convert your car. Or you can go to your auto repair shop.

Ethanol fuel is the same thing as drinking alcohol (although the stuff at the pump has toxins that would kill you). It’s also called ethyl or grain. There are different proofs, kinds and qualities. It can be made in stills as small as coffee makers to fit on your countertop.

There is also “methanol” alcohol, otherwise known as “wood alcohol,” but we are not talking about that kind here because those products give you headaches. The old story about the old moonshiners going blind was because of drinking this.

3. Alcohol as bartering. It’s considered liquid currency. In Kosovo after the war, the only thing that was used as money was homemade vodka (made out of potatoes), distilled out of old fashioned pot stills. This paid for labor and the rebuilding of their city because their paper money was worth nothing.

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Most importantly, alcohol can be used for bartering for food products. The great thing about ethanol is the shelf life—it lasts forever as long as it is properly sealed. You can even bury this as one would hide gold.

4. Alcohol for medical purposes. Medical alcohol (Isopropyl) is used in sterilizing wounds. This will be valuable as medical supplies may be hard to come by. This is used for surgical operations, sterilizing appliances and tools, as well for bacteria and germs. This is made from 40 lbs of sugar and two bags of yeast. After this is fermented for three to four days, the ABV (alcohol by volume) will be around 16%. If you have 15 gallons of mash, it will produce two gallons of medical alcohol of around 90% proof. This can take between one to six hours of distilling, depending on the size of the still.

5. Medicinal alcohol. By extracting the active compounds out of herbs that heal you, you can create tinctures.  The pharmaceutical companies don’t want you to know that you can extract the ingredients of herbs. For example, tea tree oil is an anti-bacterial, anti fungal antiseptic. Neem or citronella oil kills fungal infections. It is also a natural insect repellant and medicine with a hundred different uses.

You can extract the active compounds out of herbs with a still, creating natural pain killers such as peppermint.  Mild sedatives can be made from herbs like valerian root.  This will be particularly valuable when people are in pain or under emergency dental surgery and there are no doctors available.

We all have headaches and aching bones. Smelling lavender oil works so well as a tension headache cure because it is a relaxant used to help people sleep. Fennel and ginger oil extracted from your still will work for nausea. Chamomile oil can be used for depression. Lemon, orange, dill, basil and thyme make wonderful food flavorings. Just dip a toothpick into oil and stir it into your food.  The possibilities are endless.

Distilling herbs is the same process as distilling moonshine, but you are using a raw material. For example, 10 lbs of lavender, oregano, or garlic will produce approximately one ounce of pure oil. This will take anywhere from 1½ to 4 hours, depending on size of your still.

During a crisis, when you might have to make your own soaps, toothpastes and antiseptics, you will need to distill certain herbs. Peppermint can be used in homemade toothpaste. Rose can be used in soaps you make, as can citrus fruits. They can also be used to hide odors when baths or showers are not available. Patchouli oil can be used in your laundry bucket when hand washing. Lavender oil drops in your bath water can be used to perfume the body.

6. Alcohol to sterilize the air and perfume. You can pour alcohol into a glass candle burner with a cloth wick and add essential oils (like citrus oil you made, for example). This can be good in bathrooms. You light the wick, let it burn a few minutes, blow out and let it perfume permeate the air. These are called effusion lamps. This was invented in 1898 by a French pharmacist to purify the air in hospitals. One whiff of this and you will know what I mean by pure air. It eliminates 85% of the bacteria in room. Thirty-two ounces will burn for thirty-two hours.

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