If It’s Chilling, I’m Stilling

As our cold snap lingers, we burn the woodstove all day long. I’m using this to our advantage by setting up our juicer as a still on the woodstove’s burner top.

I’m not distilling alcohol. That would be illegal, as well as dangerous. I’m distilling water for the battery bank.


The juicer, distilling water on the woodstove (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

Every 60 days, after I equalize the battery bank, I check the fluid levels in the batteries and top them off with water. I often use rainwater, which is naturally distilled, but it’s far better to use real distilled water that hasn’t picked up as much dust and debris in the atmosphere.

I could do this on the propane stove, but that’s not energy efficient. Instead, using the juicer, I can produce some water each day to be poured into clean milk jugs and set aside to be added to the batteries as needed.

The juicer is not an efficient still. At best, I’m collecting about a quart a day, often less. But, I’m not using any energy that doesn’t go into heating the house. Also, having the still operating on the woodstove throughout each day adds some badly-needed humidity to the cabin at a time when the wind is so severe and dry that any snow that might fall overnight evaporates before morning.

I hope to collect at least 3 gallons before I clear the juicer off the stove for other products. Ideally, I should collect enough to see me through the summer months, but I have a feeling I’ll have ample opportunity to do that throughout the winter.

(Expert photographers tell us to watch our backgrounds. When Michelle sees the photo above, she’ll have a fit, but I see cleverly-placed references to previous posts: homemade wine and wine blankets, the homestead reference library, and the duff bucket!)

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