A wood stove, or a fireplace insert, is one of the best survival items you can put in your home. It is a source of both heat and light, and can be used for cooking food.
The above wood stove is an economy model. To buy one with metal trim around the doors costs a 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 they do not get hot enough for cooking. If the gas lines get broken the stove will not work.
To cook on a wood stove you need some cast iron cookware, a trivet, and a temperature gauge. It is also recommended to keep a pot of hot water on the stove to keep the room from drying out. Some people like to have hot water on the stove at all times for warm drinks or to rehydrate food.
Cast Iron Trivet
A 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 trivets to keep items from getting too hot.
You can bake on a wood stove top by placing items in a pan with a trivet, and then covering the pan 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.
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.
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. One of the benefits of storing wood inside is that it is secure from theft.
Trying to light the outside of a pressed log is like trying to light a brick. You will need fire starter and some kindling. The easiest way to start the fire is 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 hours.
Fireplace insert are almost as good as wood stoves. Note the flat cooking surface. They do not give off as much heat as a wood stove, but they get very hot and will keep you warm.
Flat Top Insert