Thursday, October 30, 2014

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Choose for Thyself...

I love having options. I love being able to choose. I am a girl afterall :). I especially love options when it comes to alternative cooking. If I put all my eggs in one basket, and I don't have the correct fuel to make it work, I can find myself up a creek pretty fast...without an oar. Camp fires get the job done, but if we are trying to conserve fuel, there are many better ways.

Today I would like to make a list of my favorite alternative cooking tools. Most I have, some I don't. I will list their pros and cons. 

StoveTec Rocket/ Bio Stove: 
Price: $102 to $124 (depending on model)

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This little puppy is awesome because you can cook your food with just a hand-full of sticks. Sticks can be found just about anywhere (and my guess, I could find any number of sticks behind my 6 year old's bed). It's insulated design makes the best use of precious fuel. 

  • Convenient fuel
  • Small learning curve (you figure it out pretty quick)
  • The two door stove makes it easier to control temperature (a camp fire can't do that)
  • It is called my many users a "prepper must have"
  • Many people have even pressure canned with it!
  • Way more efficient than home-made ones I've built

  • It is a bit pricey
  • With the one door model (less expensive) it is harder to control temp
  • You have to babysit the fuel (constantly pushing the sticks in

Click here if you want to try your hand at making one:

Gas One Stove
Price: $20 to $50 - available locally at Big 5
          canisters $3 (you can buy in bulk on Amazon for a discount)

This bad boy is super convenient. It works just like your natural gas stove at home (if you have one), except it uses butane cans for fuel. I prefer this one to propane camp stoves for the reason that there is no external piping that can break off (happened to me - the stove was ruined and I was not a happy camper). This is an excellent stove for emergency car kit. In my opinion it is better for quick cooking stuff (like bacon or pancakes) than boiling because it can use up a lot of the precious fuel. You might consider getting more than one if you tend to use multiple burners to make your family favorite meals.

  • Zero learning curve
  • Easy temp control
  • Compact
  • Smokeless
  • Self-igniter
  • Affordable (even for the tightest budgets)

Price: About $30

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Most of you know how I LOVE my thermal cooking "ovens". I use mine all the time to cook food and to keep it warm until it is time to eat. It reduces fuel consumption by 2/3 which is HUGE! For those new to these, you bring your food to a boil over another source (the Stovetec for example), cook for desired time (rice is like 5 minutes). Next, take the food directly to the Cooking Bag/ Wonder Oven and it will continue to use the same heat to finish cooking! CRAZEE!

  • Huge fuel saver
  • Can be hand-made or purchased
  • Food can be cooked and HOURS later eaten - dinner is on YOUR terms
  • Styrofoam insulated ovens can be machine washed
  • Affordable
  • Time saver (you don't have to watch on it - will not overcook or boil over once transferred into the oven)

  • There is a bit of a learning curve, but after some practice, this is no big deal
  • If the insulation is wool or cotton, they have to be hand washed very carefully (a towel or two can keep washing to a minimum)
  • Sometimes you have to get creative - casseroles cook differently in a pot than in a casserole dish BUT it can be done
Solar Sport Solar Oven

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For some reason these ovens are currently unavailable. They are probably updating their site or something. I love mine! I cook in it all summer long!

  • Free fuel!
  • Food is super moist and yummy
  • With a few tweaks, you can cook just about anything you can in a regular oven
  • It comes with a recipe book
  • You can pasteurize water with the power of the sun!
  • A bit pricey, but more affordable than other brands
  • This design won't tip over in the wind

  • No sun - no cookey foodie
  • Special thin pans need to be used (that come with the oven) - regular 9x13 pans don't work. 
  • You have to keep an eye on the clouds - if they roll in, you need a plan B.
When they are available again, you can get them here (scroll down for prices):

Volcano Stove

Price: $145 and up

This versatile little Betty is amazing! It uses three different fuel types! You can use wood, propane, or charcoal. It is a perfect fit for dutch ovens!

  • Versatility!
  • Cleaner than a regular camp fire
  • Way more efficient than a regular camp fire
  • The recipe possibilities are endless!
  • A bit of a learning curve - as with all alternative cooking :) 
  • A little pricey - but you get a pretty good bang for your buck

                               or here:

Chances are, you won't be able to purchase ALL of these right NOW. But look at the options and make some financial plans. You'll be glad you did. 

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