What is a Rocket Stove?
Modern rocket stoves as we know them today developed in the 1980s as fuel-efficient, safe stoves primarily used for outdoor cooking. However, the basic technology behind rocket stoves has been around for centuries. Throughout history, people around the world have used oil lamps, chimneys, and wood-burning stoves with the same convection and combustion cooking methods employed in rocket stoves.
Today’s designs provide a unique alternative to open fires for outdoor cooking. Rocket stoves funnel incoming air through the flames and up through a combustion chamber. This efficient design traps heat and reduces emissions, meaning less fuel is needed to maintain a fire and people inhale less smoke when cooking. The small, contained fire in a rocket stove is also protected from wind, meaning a longer, steadier burn with less flames and charcoal whipped up by unpredictable breezes. As well, for campsites where open fires are not permitted, rocket stoves can be a handy alternative. The easier clean-up, fuel-efficiency, and compactness make rocket stoves extremely useful for camping, backyard cooking, living remotely, and emergency preparedness.
The compact and clean design of rocket stoves has also been put to humanitarian use by organizations such as EcoZoom, a producer of these fuel-efficient stoves. In many countries people still rely on open fires to cook meals, which has resulted in widespread illness and death due to excessive smoke inhalation. EcoZoom has worked with non-government organizations and local governments to provide stoves in countries such as Kenya, Somalia, Mexico and Haiti as a safer, cleaner means of preparing meals for families.
EcoZoom stoves benefit people by decreasing the amount of fuel they need to collect or purchase, saving them money, and preserving trees. According to EcoZoom, one stove “can save 30 to 40 trees and 12 to 15 tons of carbon dioxide” over its lifetime. Each purchase of an EcoZoom stove also helps support a worldwide initiative to reduce harmful emissions and make cooking an easier and cleaner task for people in both developed and developing nations.
Tips for Cooking with an EcoZoom Rocket Stove
The smallest EcoZoom stove is the Dura Rocket Stove, which can burn wood and solid biomass. The Dura works for all the recipes listed below. There is also the Versa stove, which has a chamber for burning charcoal, allowing for more controlled heating. The Plancha stove is a larger model with two burners.
When using a wood-burning stove, make sure you have dry sticks and kindling to begin the fire. Check if your sticks are green on the inside – if so, they will smoke lots and burn little. The EcoZoom Rocket Stove is extremely efficient, so only a few sticks are needed, and they do not need to be big in diameter. EcoZoom recommends only using three sticks at a time. Start with less for more efficient cooking, especially if simmering – you may be surprised at how quickly the flames gain height!
Cast iron cookware is best for evenly conducting heat, especially over a fire. Cast iron cookware will ensure your food cooks more consistently, and is also extremely durable. EcoZoom sells a cast iron Dutch oven, frying pan, and grill pan that will perfectly fit your EcoZoom Rocket Stove.
Simple and Delicious Recipes for your Rocket Stove
Whether you’re camping or in your backyard, the rocket stove makes for easy and enjoyable cooking. The recipes below use overlapping ingredients for easy packing and preparation, and are single-pot as often as possible. Preparing some of your food ahead of time – for example, marinating chicken, chopping vegetables, dividing spices, and sorting everything into jars and containers – can save you a lot of time when you’re hungry for a hot meal.
Quick Berry Pancakes
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 cup milk
optional sweetener (1 tsp cinnamon or vanilla)
- Prepare dry ingredients in a jar at home in advance, if camping. Make sure there is room to add the rest of the ingredients later.
- Add the egg, milk, and optional vanilla. Shake the jar until the batter is smooth. Add more milk if necessary.
- Pour batter onto a greased cast iron frying pan over your rocket stove, or use a ¼ cup to scoop. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, then flip to the other side.
- Serve on a plate and sprinkle with seasonal berries. Other toppings can include chopped nuts, granola, chocolate chips, honey, nut butter, and maple syrup.
Alternative: You can also add the berries directly to the mix and by shaking them up in the jar with your other ingredients.
Avocado Smash Breakfast Toast
1 tbsp olive oil