A wood stove, or a fireplace insert, is one of the best
survival items a mini prepper can put in their homes. It is a source of
both heat, light, and cooking food.
The above wood stove is an economy model, although wood stoves
are not inexpensive.
To buy one with metal trim around the doors costs a lot more money. However,
the important thing about this wood stove is that the top is flat. That
means that you can put trivets on it, and cast iron pots for cooking.
Gas stoves are wonderful for warmth, but you cannot cook on
them, and if the gas lines go down in an earthquake, the stove will not work. That is why the wood stove is the most desired item for mini
To cook on a wood stove you need some cast iron cookware, some
trivets, and a temperature gauge. You will also want to keep a pot of
water on the top to keep humidity in the room. Some people like to have
hot water ready at all times for a warm drink or to quickly hydrate food.
The temperature gauge will help you determine the temperature
on the top of your stove. The temperature will vary from the back to the
front. Pans are put on the trivets to keep items from getting too hot.
You can also learn how to bake on a wood stove top by placing
items on a trivet, and then covering them with a lid. Be aware that cast
iron takes a long time to heat up, so if you want to make a quick batch of
pancakes, use a very thin metal pan.
It is skill to learn how to cook on the top of a wood stove.
You may never want to do more than make a few stews or heat up water. You
are the one who determines who much you want to learn. The important thing
is that you have options.
Wood Stove Temperature Gauge
Cast Iron Trivet
Note: the Dutch oven in the picture above has a flat
top. That is necessary when you cook with charcoal, but not on a wood
The size you cut your wood will depend on your wood stove.
Ours will take an 18-inch log. If you have a large, secure backyard, you
may want to store regular firewood.
However, if you cannot store wood in your yard, which may be
for several reasons, you can store pressed logs in your garage. These logs
burn a long time, and can be stored inside as they don't get bugs. You can
line them up in your garage along the sides of the walls. Our homeowner
association restricts woodpiles in our yard, so we use our garage. One of
the benefits of storing wood inside is that it is secure from theft.
to light the outside of a pressed log is like trying to light a brick, so you do
need fire starter and some kindling. Actually, we found the easiest way to
start the fire was to cut off a few biscuits from the end of the log and make a
teepee. Place the fire starter under the biscuits, add your newspaper or
kindling, and the wood will ignite. Just a couple logs will last for
Below is the next best alternative to a wood stove- a fireplace insert.
Not the flat cooking surface.
Pressed logs stored in the garage
with fire starter
Fireplace insert with cooking surface