Why Burn Firewood?
An obvious reason for burning firewood is for heat. Burning a fire when camping or in a chimney to heat a house are both common reasons for burning firewood. There is nothing more comforting than sitting around the fireplace in the midst of winter. Lastly, the aesthetic of a roaring fire pit in your backyard is something which will make your neighbours jealous! Think late nights and afternoons sharing freshly cooked food over the fire and you’re in for a great time.
Cooking over an open fire has always been a popular way to get deep, rich flavour in food. Whether this be over a camp fire or in a wood oven, many people will use this as a way to cook all types of foods. From damper to pizzas, to smoking meats and roasting vegetables, cooking over an open fire is one the best ways to gain a one of a kind tastes which cannot be easily replicated in a conventional oven.
Even restaurants have taken a liking to specifically cooking in wood-fired grills and oven to add a smoked flavour to their food. Chefs consider speckled char which lightly cover the food cooked in a wood-fired grill or oven as seasoning which sets their food apart. The higher temperatures allow for rich caramelization, particularly on pizzas. However, don’t think that you can only get this flavour at a restaurant. You can achieve similar results with using a mini pizza oven over an open fire or even in a chiminea.
What type of firewood should I use?
For household use you should burn a dry wood such as red gum and sawn mallee. This is because hardwood burn hotter and for longer. They’re also easier to keep alight. Hardwood tends to be a little more expensive than softwoods but because they burn longer you’ll get better value for money. Buying a cheaper softwood means you’ll have to keep feeding more wood into the fire as it cannot retain its own combustion nearly as long as hardwood do.
Red gum firewood is a good choice for a long slow burn as it will only give off smaller flames, but they will last all night. This type of firewood is perfect for cooking and smoking because it gives of an aromatic smell and burns slowly to coals. Due to it’s high density, red gum has the ability to maintain a steady burn of hot coals which means you have more control over the temperature when cooking. Sourced from the heartwood of the Eucalyptus Camaldulendis tree, Red gum is popular because of its high density and distinctive musky aroma.
Mallee firewood are the dense, dry roots of the Mallee Tree. This type of firewood creates good heat when placed over existing coals. Generally, sawn mallee is a bit larger than red gum and as such is better suited to larger fire pits. For example, campfires and fireboxes. Once burned down, sawn mallee produces excellent coals and is less likely to spit and spark like other types of firewood.
Starting the Fire
Don’t be stumped on the first step. One of the easiest ways to start a fire is to use kindling. Simply put, it is what bridges the fire from being a small burn which needs more fuel into a roaring fire. Essentially, kindling is the fuel that helps transition your fire to get it started. As such, it is an essential step in starting the fire.
A Step-by-step guide to starting a fire
1. Gather everything you will need:
- Firewood logs
- Kindling pieces
- Newspaper or something dry and easily combustible
- Matches or something to start the source of the fire
2. Set everything up:
- Lay crushed up newspaper at the bottom of the fire pit
- Sit some kindling pieces on top of the newspaper
3. Light the newspaper and position the kindling so it will catch alight too
4. Add your firewood. If your fire starts the die down it is most likely because you are suffocating it and air cannot get through. Remember the 2 key ingredients to any fire is fuel (newspaper, then kindling, then logs) and oxygen (so, if you smother it the fire will die out quickly)
- Once all the newspaper and kindling has burn away, you just have the firewood left and all you need to do is add another log when it looks like it is starting to die down.
Is burning firewood bad for the environment?
The Environmental Protection Agency declared that burning firewood is carbon neutral. This is because burning firewood releases the same amount of carbon dioxide then what is absorbed by a tree over its lifetime. Therefore, burning firewood is not considered environmentally damaging since it is a renewable source of energy. So don’t fear! You are not doing the environment any harm.
Newtons Building and Landscape Supplies Evanston store is located just outside of Gawler and stocks both Red Gum and Sawn Mallee firewood as well as kindling to get your fire started. Our Newton store also sells firewood. So if you live in the Gawler or Newton area, drop in and pick some up today or we can deliver straight to your door anywhere in Adelaide. For pricing or more information, call us on 08 8415 7777. Get in quick before the balmy summer nights come to an end!
Author: Jessica Coe