If you have a woodstove and a good heavy cast iron cooking pot with a lid then you have the opportunity to change your woodstove into a cookstove!
By placing a trivet inside a cast iron cooking pot you can create a stove top oven. This small capacity type of stove top oven is great for heating up pasties and pies. I placed my Otter ale and steak pie into my cast iron cook pot and then lit the stove at about 3 pm. The pie will be piping hot in time for tea with a slow to moderate running stove.
To increase the heating speed simply remove the trivet from inside the cooking pot, but remember to rotate the pie or pasty from time to time or it may well burn. A lot depends o the burn rate of your stove and weight of your pan. The heavier the pan the longer it will take initially to raise the overall temperature of the cooking pot itself but it will keep the contents warmer for longer. Quality cast iron rather than steel is such a better material to use in both stove making as well as for making cookware. Cast iron retains and distributes the heat much better and for longer than steel and so is a much wiser material to choose when it comes to heating and cooking.
For most effective ‘cooktop oven’ results you want your stove to be running at a nice steady rate whereby everything is heated nice and gradually when using this ‘cookpot oven’ technique but once perfected you can cook a whole range of items using this method. A good tip to increase the inside oven temperature is to insulate the lid using something like oven gloves!
When living off-grid or simply for the energy conscious who want to be living lightly, making the most of the heat from your woodstove is a no brainer. Not everyone can afford a purpose built small wood cook stove so it is techniques like this, that if practiced and perfected will save both energy and money.
I have found a perfect marriage between a cast iron enameled cook pot and an enameled trivet which fits perfectly in the bottom of the pot.
These are brilliant items to look for in charity shops and on online auction websites. You can find whole sets of vintage Le Crueset pans for example at excellent prices and these will work brilliantly on woodstoves as they are nice heavy weight design. They also look brilliant hanging up around your stove with their wooden handles and colourful exterior.
Wood fired cook stoves are a fundamental part of life for those in the country and other remote off grid locations, where electricity is sparse and hauling in bottles of LPG is both awkward and dangerous. Not only is a wood cook stove the best option for many people, but having one offers them the potential for total self-sufficiency in both heating and cooking. There is a great sense of freedom in the knowledge that you rely on no one but yourself for two of the most essential elements of daily life.
DOMESTIC HOT WATER FROM YOUR WOOD FIRED COOKSTOVE