|Environmentally Sound Technologies for Women in Agriculture (IIRR, 1996, 213 p.)|
Energy for cooking is a basic requirement of daily life. Women in rural areas must travel long distances to collect fuel for cooking. Then they spend long hours cooking in smoke-filled kitchens. Here are some ways to make best use of fuel and minimize cooking time.
- Use round-bottomed pots on wood-burning chulhas. More heat can be transferred to these as compared to flatbottomed pots.
- The diameter of the pot must be 1.5- to 2-times bigger than the diameter of the chulha opening.
- Clean the pot bottom before use.
Fuel-saving cooking techniques
- Cook with the minimum quantity of water. If more water is required during cooking, add hot water if possible.
- Keep the pot or pan covered with a plate or pot lid while cooking.
- Soak pulses, rice, etc., in water for at least half an hour before cooking. Hard-coated legumes, such as lima beans, gram, and cowpea, should be soaked overnight.
- Do not allow flames to come out the chulha's fire door.
- When cooking is complete, quickly remove unused fuel from the fire chamber and douse the fuel with water. This wet fuel can be sun-dried and used again.
Remember to cover your pot.
Smart fuel use
- Chop wood into small pieces, about 3 cm x 5 cm x 10 cm.
- Do not over-feed the fire. Flames should not escape the fire box. This is a waste of fuel.
- Use dry fuel. Otherwise, energy is wasted removing moisture when the fuel is burned.
Place wood pieces at angles across the grate (if the chulha has a grate) to allow air circulation.
Stack wood pieces across each other for better circulation.
If you are using long fuel sticks which protrude from the fire box, keep them horizontal or tilted toward the centre of the grate by propping up their outside ends with a brick.
When using light fuels such as twigs and straw along with wood, bum the wood first to achieve a high temperature. Add the light fuels next for their good combustion.
Dung should be used for composting. However, if some part of your dung must be used for fuel, prepare fuel rods by coating dung over long sticks. After they are dried in the sun, these fuel rods burn more efficiently and produce less smoke than either wood or dung burned separately.
Producing fuel rods with dung and sticks