Cooking fuels?

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by anuttama, Aug 10, 2007.

  1. anuttama

    anuttama New Member

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    Hi, I'm new here, and this is my first post. My husband and I are purchasing acreage in a secluded valley in Washington State, USA. We intend to become totally self-sufficient in the coming years. But I still want comforts. Our understanding is that it is a good idea to have several alternatives in terms of power, so we are looking at various options. My real concern is cooking. I don't care to use wood, although the property is heavily wooded. It just seems like it would take more time to deal with the fire than to do the cooking. And in the summer, using a wood stove would make the house really hot. I've been to India where they use cow patties, and while they work well there, and while we will have a cow...Does anyone have any experience with methane digesters and using the methane for cooking? Does anyone have any other ideas. Solar cooking won't always work here because we experience lots of clouds. Thanks, Anuttama
     
  2. christopher

    christopher Junior Member

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    Hi Anuttama

    Wood is actually a very sustainable fuel, especially in the NW USA. Making a screeed summer kitchen would work, and haul your stove in in the fall. Cooking this way will make double duty of your fueel use. Also, thinning the woods near you from dead and won wood reduces tthe fire load, which makes your place safer from catastrophic fire.

    Look at the work of Ianto Evans, who has done great stuff with firewood as a fuel.

    Methane is nice, but you need multiple cows or pigs. Pigs are best for methane. There are some cheap models on line that use polyethylene tubes but you might want to consider a Chinese model, concrete and buried for your cold climate.

    Good luck! You sound like you are in an exciting phase of your life.

    Christopher
     
  3. arawajo

    arawajo Junior Member

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    You will need to clean up fallen branches and so on. Use them for the stove and only cook at night in summer if you have to cook at all. Hot food is for warming - maybe you only need to eat hot food in winter? Eat fresh foods in summer and don't cook. Just a thought.
     
  4. anuttama

    anuttama New Member

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    I agree that wood fuel for cooking is the simplest, so it is probably the best. However one of the things I like the most about the current lifestyle is turning a switch and having a flame to use for cooking. These are the things I consider to be important: running water (hot and cold), heat and an easy way to cook. I can easily do without refridgeration, electric lights and appliances.
     
  5. MoD

    MoD Junior Member

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  6. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Are you in Western or Eastern Oregon? Solar ovens work for me, and I'm on the coast. Even though we have fog sometimes during the day in July, I can use the solar oven on most other days from March through the middle of November. You'll need a clear space where the sun can hit it from 10:00 AM until 3:00 to 4:00 PM.

    You use it outside, think of it as a crockpot-type cooker, and you have to get it started by about 10:00 or 11:00 AM, which sometimes it's not really when you want to think about dinner, but it's so worth it!! It's great for rice, beans, casseroles, chicken, meatballs, etc.

    You have to move it into the sun about every 20 minutes as the sun moves across the sky, so you have to be there to tend it, but I haven't found it to be a problem. Sometimes I'm tempted to start something at 2:00, but that's usually too late, so you do have to plan ahead.

    https://solarcooking.org/

    And I have this oven, which seems pricey, but it pays for itself before too long, and it's very well made:

    https://www.sunoven.com/usa.asp

    A wood stove is good because it gives heat, it cooks nicely, and it can also be fitted with water pipes on the back to give you hot water, so three things is one is always a good thing. They make them with catalytic converters, so you don't have to worry so much about pollution :)
     
  7. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi anuttama,

    Perhaps you might consider each of the suggestions listed above ... it will always pay to have alternatives. A solar oven on sunny summer days will keep the heat out of the house/kitchen, while a well-stoked wood cooker will do double duty in the winter. I also like MoD's rocket stove. There are a lot of different alcohol and wood "stick" cookers to be fabricated using plans put together by backpackers, kayakers, etc. The alcohol stoves are very small and quick to boil water for those evenings when there just isn't time to build fires or set-up the solar oven. The "hobo stoves" use pencil-sized sticks and designed combustion flows to get lots of heat quickly out of a few handfuls of dry sticks...also good for quick meals.

    I agree with Christopher that methane might be the ideal goal to work towards in the long run, but I think that a digester needs a constant supply of manure to provide a reliable supply of methane.

    By having multiple possibilities, you are able to choose what's appropriate for each eventuality....and besides, you'll never get bored!

    9anda1f
     

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