Guest post by RightWingMom.
Disclaimer: Our EcoZoom demonstrations were conducted while on a camping trip in Colorado. The elevation at our camp site was 7703 feet. The morning temperature was in the mid 40’s. As with all meal preparations, cook times will vary depending on elevation and outdoor temperature.
We chose to prepare a dinner on the Versa using wood as our fuel. Starting the wood fire in the Versa required: 2 plain paper towels, twigs, and small limbs. The paper towel was wadded up and placed inside the large upper door. We broke the small twigs in 1 – 2 inch pieces and placed them on top of the paper towels. Next, we lit the kindling through the smaller lower door. Once the twigs began to burn, we added the larger limbs. The limbs we used were dead and down from around our camp site. They burned very poorly. We switched to splitting some local logs we had purchased. These burned wonderfully and can be seen in later pictures. The wood smoked at first, but once fully engulfed there was virtually none. A clean burning rocket flame was achieved in about 7 minutes.
We placed 6 cups of water in a flat-bottom Dutch oven. Next, we placed the Dutch oven inside the metal sleeve, for improved cooking efficiency, and then placed it on the stove top. The water reached a gentle boil in 25 minutes.
Creamy Wild Rice and Chicken Soup
The soup is the Bear Creek brand purchased at a local grocery store. I re-packaged it in half of a 1 gallon Mylar bag with a 300 cc oxygen absorber. Both ends were sealed with a clothing iron on a wooden 2” X 4”. The packaged soup was labeled with the contents, instructions, packing date, and the manufacturer’s “best buy” date. This home-packed Mylar is intended for semi-long term storage. Although this product was packaged about six months ago, it came out as fresh as the day it was packaged — a decent test of home-packing in Mylar bags.
We mixed the package of soup with drained cans of the following:
14.5 oz. corn
6.5 oz. mushrooms
12.5 oz. chicken
The soup called for 8 cups of water, but because my Dutch oven was not large enough, I reduced the amount of water to 6 cups. We covered the soup with the Dutch oven lid. The instructions called for a 10 minute simmer. We increased the time by 5 minutes due to the altitude. We stirred the soup occasionally, making sure the rice did not stick to the bottom. The heat was increased or decreased simply by adding or removing the sticks. (We mostly just kept pushing them in to maintain the fire.)
The final product was a very hearty and satisfying meal. As a personal preference, we simmered the soup, with the lid off, for an additional 10 minutes to allow it to thicken.
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