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Cooking on a wood-burning stove

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I'm buying a house that has a wood-burning stove - not a cooking stove, and I'm wondering if anybody has tried cooking on one and can offer any tips.

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  1. We had one in our basement growing up - we used to make applesauce on it in the fall. Pretty much anything you would do in dutch oven (stews, pot roasts) or on a cast iron skillet (steak, grilled cheese sandwiches) would work. I've found the main key is having the right equipment, such as heavy pots and pans, to make the high heat of the stove work for you - lucky you, have fun with that!

    1. We used to have a wood burning stove, too. It made me CRAZY that thanks to California laws we had to remove it before we could sell our house, though...

      Anyway, I kept a kettle of water on it all the time to help humidify the room, and we often cooked on it as well. Enamel coated cast iron (Le Creuset style) works beautifully. Cheap pots seemed to stain the gorgeous stove.

      You need to find recipes that either a) do not depend on consistent heat, or b) you need to be willing to stick close to the stove and keep a very close eye on things at all times. As a mom of four, option #2 wasn't an option at all! So I used recipes that could handle ebbs and flows of heat, like stews and soups.

      Enjoy it...not only was it a fun way to cook on occasion, it kept the whole huge house warm enough that we never used the heater!

      1 Reply
      1. re: tsfirefly

        I second that, it heated OUR whole house too - very efficient and you get a lil exercise chopping the wood :)

      2. Once during a 3 day hurricane- induced power outage, we made smoked turkey and black bean chili on ours. We may have used a cast iron dutch oven.

        1 Reply
        1. re: WCchopper

          I grew up with woodstoves- seemed like there was always a pot of beans or stew simmering on it. A cast iron trivet under your pot will help regulate/difuse the heat if your stove gets really hot on top. Just remember to check your liquid levels frequently, until you get a feel for your particular stove.

          We now have a wonderful old Waterford Stanley wood cookstove in the kitchen...it it quite large, and has areas of high and lower heat on the top, so I've been able to do more with it....toasting nuts for baking, making quesadillas, pancakes, french toast, frying & sauteing, plus baking in the oven (with mixed results!). We keep a kettle of water on, both for humidity, and for hot tea. Hot cider is nice simmering on top, too. Sometimes I'll throw lemon or orange peels, cinnamon sticks etc in the water to make the whole house smell good.