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Kero Cooker Boils Beans

by New England Gardener

In experiments with baking bread in electric Crock-pots or Slow-cookers, I also tried to bake beans. This did not work because these pots wouldn't boil the beans hard enough to soften them. In the winter, on our Wood Cook Stove, it would be easy to boil the beans on top of the range, and then bake them in the oven. If you plan to use a wood heating stove for cooking, make sure you can get the pan hot enough to bring the beans to a steady boil. In the summertime, kerosene is a much better choice for non-electric cooking.

The Slow-cooker recipes all tell you to soak beans overnight, and then boil on a stovetop until softened. This takes us about an hour and a half. Only then, do you season them and put them into the Slow-cooker. I experimented to get around this step, but even when I soaked the beans for 24 hours, simmered them in the Slow-cooker all day, and baked them over night, they still came out like bullets. This little kerosene cooker solves the problem by easily boiling the beans, and it can to be turned down to simmer and even "bake" them. I included it in the experiment for my article, "Baking Bread Without an Oven". It baked corn bread in much less than half the time of the electric Crock-pots, and it will bring water or beans to a rolling boil. This is a very small stove, and uses a 4 cup pan over a common oil table lamp, with a 7/8 inch wide wick. This lamp was meant for a glass chimney 3 inches in diameter, a common size, so the bottom of the cooker fits snugly over the burner. Other 3 inch lamp burners with different wick sizes are available, if you want more or less heat. My guess is that a inch wick would be better for more simmering. No modifications are made to the lamp at all, so you can just put the glass chimney back on, and use the lamp for lighting again.

The hot exhaust gasses from combustion are guided up the sides of the pan for increased efficiency. It was also made from off the shelf components. I only had to drill six inch holes, and bolt it together. The body of the stove is a flue adaptor for 3 inch pipe to 6 inch pipe. It was only a few dollars at a good plumbing supply house. Some hardware stores would have it too. The overall length of mine is 4.75 inches long. I used three extra long truck battery hold down clamps as legs. If your lamp is shorter, the regular length ones may be long enough for you. These are a piece of inch diameter rod with a hook on one end. On the other end, the last 4 inches is threaded. Mine are a foot long. I got these from www.tractorsupply.com , but any auto parts supplier who serves truck or farm tractors should have the long ones. The regular length will be even easier to find.

To attach the legs, six "L" brackets from the hardware store were used. Each side of the "L" has a inch hole, and is 1 inch long. For stability, I wanted a slight outward taper to the legs, so I bolted the upper brackets on the inside of the 6 inch flue, and the lower brackets on the outside, with -20 bolts with lock nuts. The lower three "L" brackets are secured with bolts long enough to support the cooking pan over the flame. Each leg is adjustable in height, and secured by -20 nuts above and below each "L" bracket.

 

Finding the right size pan was a little harder. I needed a 5 inch diameter pan, but since I also wanted to bake bread or beans in it, I chose a stainless steel pan with a thick aluminum plate on the bottom to help distribute the heat from the flame. This pan had a handle, so I had to notch out the side of the flue for that. For simply heating food or water, a thin aluminum pot would be fine, but I think baking a quart of beans or a small round loaf of bread, is much more useful. It is important to remember that without refrigeration, we will need to cook food in quantities we can eat up quickly, especially in the summertime.

MATERIALS LIST

One Flue pipe size adaptor, 3 inch to 6 inch size, Three 12 inch long battery hold downs, Six 1X1 angle brackets with a inch hole on each side, Three -20 by inch long bolts, Three -20 bolts the length needed to support your pan, Eighteen -20 nuts, Six inch lock nuts.

NEW ENGLAND STYLE BAKED BEANS

Soak two cups of dry beans overnight in six cups of water. If you have hard water, add 1/8th teaspoon of baking soda to the soaking water. In the morning, drain and cover with fresh water, and boil the beans until they are as soft as you like. About an hour and a half of simmering after it has reached a good boil. With a large slotted spoon, move the beans to the baking container, or drain off the cooking water and save it. Add cup of Molasses, 1 teaspoon of dry mustard and one half teaspoon of ground ginger. Stir together, and then add just enough of the water the beans boiled in to cover. Keep some of the rest to add later as needed. Bake until suppertime. Salt pork, ham or bacon may be added for flavor. Served with corn bread, it is a very hearty supper.


 

At left, a small Bread'n'Cake pan with insert rack.

At right, a "Tricolator" Flame Tamer, which dissipates excess heat through the vent holes in the side.

Click on the photos to enlarge.

Note from Miles:  New England Gardener's photos will be added later.  At left is a photo of a small kerosene stove I made from a P & A brooder house heater.  This little stove uses a 1 1/2" wide flat wick and produces enough heat for slow cooking.  To lower the cooking temperature, the "Tricolator" above right can be placed on the expanded metal top.  For use in windy conditions, a 2' section of 8" stovepipe is placed over the entire assembly after lighting and adjusting the heat output.  A series of 1/2" holes are drilled around the stovepipe 3" above the bottom to admit combustion oxygen, and a bail handle is attached to the top to make it easier to remove the hot stovepipe.  The chimney was made from a 4" stovepipe and is 3 5/8" in diameter.  For more on mini kerosene heaters, see www.milesstair.com/Mini_Kerosene_Heaters.html .