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
1 full avocado
2 large eggs
2 pieces of whole wheat toast (or an English muffin)
salt and pepper
- Cut your avocado in half, remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh and smash with a fork on a cutting board.
- Heat up your rocket stove. While your frying pan is dry, quickly toast your two pieces of bread to your desired crispness.
- Remove the toast and add oil to your frying pan. Crack the two eggs onto the pan. This recipe recommends doing your eggs over easy, but other methods, such as scrambled and over hard, will also be fine. Try to keep the flame low especially if you’re doing your eggs over easy.
- To make over easy eggs, crack the eggs into the pan and leave the yolk whole. Once the bottom is cooked and the edges begin to brown, carefully flip each egg, keeping the yolk intact. Only cook this side lightly to ensure the yolk stays runny.
- While your eggs cook, spread your avocado smash onto your toast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Transfer your eggs on top of your avocado toast. Add salsa, Siracha sauce, bacon, cheese, or any other of your favourite breakfast food.
Gluten-free Alternative: Cut the avocado in half and take out the pit. Crack one egg into a bowl. Carefully spoon out the yolk and put into the hollow in one avocado half. Top the yolk with the egg white. Crack a second egg and do the same to the other half. Bake the two halves in a Dutch oven until the tops are cooked. Add toppings to your stuffed avocados.
If you don’t have a Dutch oven, hard boil one egg over your rocket stove. Cut the egg in half to fit into each hollow part of the avocado. Add toppings.
Baked Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Nut Sauce
1 pound of Brussels sprouts, halved
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp Siracha sauce
1 tbsp peanut or almond butter
- Toss the Brussels sprout halves in the olive oil and salt and pepper. Lightly grease the bottom of a cast iron Dutch oven.
- Spread Brussels sprouts across the bottom of the oven and cover. Let bake until soft and lightly browning.
- Meanwhile, mix Siracha, maple syrup and nut butter in a small bowl. Add ½ tablespoon of a nut-sourced milk, if available, to thin the sauce. If not, water will do fine. This sauce can also be prepared at home ahead of time.
- Transfer brussels sprouts into a bowl and toss with the spicy nut sauce. Add your favourite toppings. Recommendations: shaved parmesan, dried cranberries, and spliced almonds or other chopped nuts.
Alternative: If you don’t have a Dutch oven, Brussels sprouts can also be roasted on a frying pan with olive oil until soft.
Salmon and Berry Salad
1 large salmon fillet
1/3 cup blueberries
1/3 cup cut strawberries
¼ cup pecan pieces
¼ cup shaved parmesan
½ package spinach
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, ½ sliced
salt and pepper
- Organize your ingredients at home into easy containers so you can quickly throw most of the salad together.
- Over a low flame, pour oil onto a cast iron frying pan. Squeeze lemon over salmon fillet and top with rosemary, salt, and pepper. Place the salmon on the frying pan with your slices of lemon. Try to keep the heat lower with less fuel, to ensure the salmon cooks properly all the way through. If you have a Dutch oven, you can also bake your salmon.
- Meanwhile, combine spinach and berries. Squeeze other half of lemon over top and toss. You can also add some olive oil if you find it too dry. Top with parmesan and pecans.
- Once salmon is flaky, place on top of the rest of the salad with roasted lemon.
Baked Cinnamon Apples
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large apples (or pears, if preferred)
1 tablespoon melted butter
½ tablespoon cinnamon
½ tablespoon brown sugar
Pinch of nutmeg
- Combine spices and sugar at home and secure in a container.
- Melt butter in frying pan over your rocket stove.
- Cut your apples in half and cut out the core. Spread out the melted butter over the two halves and top with the sugar mixture. Lightly grease the bottom of a cast-iron Dutch oven. Insert the apples and cover. Bake the apples until they are soft. You can also add chocolate pieces or chopped nuts, or use them as an alternative to sugar.
- If you do not have a Dutch oven, cut your apples into thin slices. Pour oil onto a frying pan. Add the apple slices and sugar and spices mixture. Coat the slices evenly. Pan fry the apples slices until soft and brown. Add any other toppings.
Bonus Quick Treats
Pour two tablespoons of olive oil into your Dutch oven. Add few popping corn kernels to start. Once the oven is hot enough and they begin popping, add another 1/3 cup of kernels and shake or stir so all the kernels are coated in oil. As soon as the popping stops, pour your popcorn into a bowl. Melt some butter and drizzle over top.
Apple Cider or Mulled Wine
Pour apple juice in a saucepan with apple slices, one teaspoon of cinnamon, and a half a teaspoon each of nutmeg and cloves. Alternatively, combine red wine with the spices, as well as a few shots of sherry and some orange and lemon slices for a simple mulled wine.
Add a bit of oil or butter to your Dutch oven. Crumble graham crackers in your hands and create at least a one inch layer. Next, add a layer of dark chocolate broken into pieces. Top with marshmallows and cover. Cook until the top of the marshmallows begins to brown. A fun twist on a camping classic! Feel free to add nuts or dried fruit in the middle with the chocolate.
Pan Fried Pizza
Super simple and easy to prepare at home ahead of time: start with a whole grain pita and add your favourite toppings. Keep in a sealed container in your cooler. To prevent it getting soggy, it’s best to have early on in your camping trip. Simply throw the pizza into a frying pan over your rocket stove until the bread gets a little crispy and the cheese melts. Go for something a little different by doing pesto instead of tomato sauce, and feta instead of cheddar.
Use your frying pan to make a quick stir-fry or to roast some skewers. Potatoes, peppers, onions, chicken, shrimp – the options are endless. Dutch ovens are also perfect for homemade soups, chilis, and stews. For ambitious cooks, they are ideal for making bread and pastries. You could even bake pizza dough from scratch.
With a rocket stove and a few quality appliances, you don’t have to feel limited while cooking in the outdoors. So, make these recipes your own, pack up your rocket stove, head outdoors and start cooking!
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