Wood Cook Stoves –
Using them in an efficient way
Wood cook stoves are the most basic in cooking and heating, using only burning
wood or fossil fuels as the source of heat. In less than developed countries,
this is still the most common and practical method of preparing food. More advanced
countries consume more energy than that of developing nations. The latter, however,
focus 50% of its energy into cooking food, and the average normal family allots
at least 20% of its income into purchasing wood or charcoal into cooking.
Cooking over an open fire has, however, brought about increased health problems
caused by the smoke. Lung and eye ailments and birth defects are among the consequences
brought about by the inhalation of smoke throughout the home. A common solution
for this is replacing the traditional 3-rock cook stove with an improved one
and installing a chimney or a wood hearth within the area to provide a vent
or a passageway for the smoke to leave the house.
It must also be noted that deforestation and erosion are the long-term effects
brought about by the use of food as a cooking fuel. Families from mostly the
rural areas of Latin America rely solely on wood for cooking. The money a family
spends on wood and charcoal translates to a lesser allotment on the educational
and health budget of all the family members.
An improved cooking stove may be the easiest solution, but this may not always
be the case. A few strategies can be observed so that fuel usage can be conserved
in three of the following areas: fuel, stove, and cooking pot. The greatest
gain does not come from the stove itself but how the heat produced is being
used. Paying attention to the cooking pot itself and not the stove can result
in large fuel savings. The use of a cooking lid reduces consumption by as much
as 40%. Considering the amount saved, this change is more beneficial than buying
a brand new stove. Another method is the use of a larger pot. Fact is larger
pots are more efficient the smaller ones while large shallow ones are also more
efficient than tall narrow ones. Lastly, when cooking for a number of people,
the use of larger stoves that holds more than one pot raises efficiency to as
high as 40% or even more.
In developing countries, families who rely upon wood for cooking have three
ways of obtaining a better budget. They can physically search the areas where
they live for firewood, purchase it from a firewood dealer, or grow their own.
The disadvantage for many is that there is a shortage of harvestable firewood
in the surrounding area. Those who do not have the means to buy firewood from
their nearest dealer are often forced to travel several miles to obtain some.
With these problems at hand, several manufacturers have provided built in features
in their wood cook stove that may improve the quality of life and health to
those who still use it.
Manufacturers such as Kitchen Queen and Esse reroute the passageway of heat
and flue gasses to make it safer to the people in the home. Normally, gasses
condense and liquefy into a sticky mess. The newer models have rerouted heat
from the top resulting food cooked from the top and less than baked at the bottom.
Then, heat from the top travels to the bottom to evenly spread out itself over
the entire fare.
Another big difference is the reservoir. It is located on the back behind the
top shelf where it will not take up any extra floor space. The water is not
just heated by heat radiating from the stove. It has a stainless steel coil
right in the firebox that will naturally circulate the water through the firebox
and back into the reservoir. In other words, you have plenty of hot water all
the time with our large 24-gallon capacity reservoir and handy tap within easy
reach. No more dipping water out of a small hole. Fill your teakettle or pan
with hot water right out of a faucet, like you would in the sink.
Despite recent developments, there are still those opposed to wood cook stoves.
Aside form it being hotter than kerosene stoves and heaters, the smoke it creates
is still relatively more than that of modern cooking gadgets. The art of using
wood cook stoves is also another issue to be reckoned with. Using it is not
simple and the art of utilizing it to its fullest potential is usually handed
down from generations of mothers and daughters. The wood fuel to be used will
depend on the kind of stove, and storing the materials requires more than usual
space. On the flipside, some still crave that certain taste of food that only
wood cook stoves create. Whichever way you choose the most crucial thing to
remember to have a proper exhaust system in the home that these stoves require.
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