If you’ve ever used a wood-burning stove, you know how hot the fires can get. That heat is fantastic for cooking. In fact, some wood stoves are built as cooking stoves complete with an oven. Others just have cooking surfaces like burners on top.
If you thought wood stoves were just for heat, here are 6 reasons people cook on a wood stove.
1. Woodstove cooking is perfect for off-grid living
When you live off-grid, you need alternative cooking options. If you’ve got a solar power system without a battery backup, you’ll only be able to use your electric appliances during the day. At night, you won’t generate any electricity.
If you do have a battery backup, you probably won’t want to use all of your stored power for appliances that run on high wattages, like microwaves and electric stoves.
Cooking with a wood stove is the ultimate in off-grid living because you don’t have to mind the daylight hours to make a good home-cooked meal.
2. It’s not hard to cook on a wood stove
Unlike building a campfire that doesn’t have any sort of pre-made frame to hold pots and pans, building a fire to cook on a wood stove is easy. All you do is build a fire in the stove and get it going hot. Since the top of a wood stove is a flat, cast-iron surface, you can just put your pot or pan on top and cook your food.
Woodstove fires take time to build up into a raging fire, but once you get it going, it’s easy to maintain. Once the fire gets hot enough, you’re ready to cook your meal.
3. You’ll be able to cook when the power goes out
If you’re not into off-grid living, there’s one good reason to own a wood stove: power outages. One of the most frustrating aspects of a power outage is not being able to cook on your stove or use the oven. When the power’s out, you can’t even use your microwave.
Having a wood stove gives you a non-electric resource to cook food and boil water. If you don’t already have a griddle for your wood stove, it’s a worthy investment. Although you don’t need one, they’re not expensive and can turn the top of your wood stove into an optimal cooking surface.
4. Cooking on a wood stove is old school fun
You can’t get more old school than frying up some eggs over easy in a cast-iron skillet using the heat of a wood fire. Cooking on your wood stove will likely bring back memories of camping as a kid, visiting friends who live in a cabin by a lake, or just spending time in an older home.
5. You’ll develop patience and appreciation
It takes a while to get a fire going in a wood stove, so you won’t be eating dinner in 30 minutes after lighting your match. However, over time, you will develop better fire-making skills, and you’ll also develop a deep sense of pride for preparing your meals the old-fashioned way.
You’ll feel that deep sense of pride by performing the manual labor required to build a fire hot enough to cook a meal. It’s not the easiest way to prepare a meal, but as long as you have wood, you’ll be able to cook.
6. Wood stoves rarely break
Unlike electric and gas stoves, you won’t have to worry about your wood stove breaking down as easily. Wood stoves do require regular maintenance, like clearing out the ashes and cleaning the chimney. However, these tasks quickly become second nature and can even be hired out.
Since wood stoves are made of cast iron, and the chimneys are made of metal, it’s rare for a wood stove to break. Granted, if your stove experiences a strong impact, the chimney could break. If you have a pellet stove, some of the external components like handles and buttons might break. However, it’s unlikely.
The one thing you do need to watch out for is cracks in the metal. However, if part of your wood stove cracks or breaks, it’s usually an easier fix than getting your oven fixed. Most wood stove repairs you can do yourself, including repairing cracks. On the other hand, you have to have specialized knowledge to fix a broken electric stove.
Old school cooking is fun
If you haven’t tried cooking on a wood stove, try it out. Even if you just get a small wood stove for emergency purposes, at some point, you’ll be glad you bought one.