A few days ago, I wrote about our kitchen being flooded out. As a result, we have not been able to do much cooking in the house. So we figured this was a good time to experiment with off grid cooking. Now my last trip to Utah I had brought back a new solar oven made by Gosun (See the ad on the right side of this page) and a new rocket stove made by Silverfire. This was a great time to test them. In a few days, I will write a more detailed review of both of these products.
We have always figured that in an emergency we would use several different cooking methods, depending on the weather and general conditions.
The first is the Butterfly stove. This is a kerosene stove that is widely used in Asia for off grid cooking. Kerosene Stoves for When the Power is Out The version of the stove that we have uses approximately ½ gallon of kerosene in 12 hours. Ten gallons of kerosene would provide you with approximately 240 hours of cooking on a one-burner stove. Depending on your climate, by sharing the cooking with a solar oven for sunny days, a wonder oven and a rocket stove for backup, you could cook for a year with a relatively small amount of kerosene
There are several versions of the stove with different wick designs. I have the original design which uses about 25% less fuel than the later models. Checking their site today, I notice that they only show the 2-burner version of the original stove. This method is the closest to what you normally use.
The second is the Wonder oven which is a great fuel saving device. This is a thermal cooker that cooks your food by retained heat. They are easy to make and use. Any of the other three stoves can heat the food hot enough to cook in the Wonder oven.
The third is a solar oven. Now in the past I have used and reviewed quite a few different types of solar ovens but so far none have cooked as fast as the new Gosun. This is a new design that works well. I have been using it and in a few days will publish a detail review of it. For now, I will just say that I like it for off grid cooking.
The fourth method is a rocket stove. Rockets stoves have been around for a few years now and keep improving. The one that I have used this last week is the Survivor made by Silverfire. It worked great and I will post a review of it in a few days. One thing that I like about the rocket stoves is that they can heat a substantial amount of water using free easy to obtain fuel. You will need a surprising amount of water for sanitation and hygiene.
This combination of cooking methods will give you a lot of versatility and allow you to maintain operational secrecy when needed. For example, food cooked in the Wonder Oven gives off few odors. The Solar Oven gives off no smoke and minimizes cooking odors. If you keep the fire small in the rocket stove they are not very noticeable.
The kerosene stoves work well and you can even get an oven to use with them. The downside is that you can get odors from cooking food and kerosene. The reason that I have all four is that I can cook under just about any circumstances and even if the kerosene runs out I can still cook.