How to make a Bunsen Burner out of a tuna fish can
Back in the day (a long time ago) when I was a Girl Scout we learned how to do many things for ourselves. One of the things that I remember doing very well was making a Bunsen Burner that when finished, we cooked our meal on. With the availability of tea light candles and sterno cans it’s become a lost art, making one’s own.
Why would you want to learn how? Well there are the ‘what if’s’ in life. What if the store is out of sterno? What if you don’t have any candles at home but you DO have the 3 items needed to make a Bunsen Burner? That’s all you need, 3 items.
1 tuna fish can (small is fine) (large is great too if you have them)
Long strip of corrugated cardboard
Paraffin wax (even old candles can be used here!)
Empty the tuna can and remove the outside paper. Cut the cardboard into strips approx ¼ inch wider than the can is high. Roll the strip so it fit’s into the can, not too tightly not too loosely (this will be your wick). Slowly warm your paraffin until it melts and slowly pour into the can. Your cardboard should absorb the wax. Let it harden and store away until ready for use!
To make an efficient stove with your newly made Bunsen Burner:
Depending on your weather - you can use this in the open with a wire rack (the small kind that you might find in a toaster oven) it should be a free standing rack. The Bunsen Burner would fit nicely under the rack and your cooking pan will set on top of the rack. This makes a great way to cook!
Another perfectly fine way of using your Bunsen Burner is with a large metal can. The 1 gallon size (usually you will see these large type cans in the bulk food aisle). Make sure the can is clean and empty and any outside paper is removed. Using a small can opener (the kind that makes a triangle cut) cut several holes around the can for air flow, top and bottom. Taking car not to cut completely through. The bottom of the can will now become the top, and this is the surface you may use to cook on, should you choose. If you wish a small non-stick pan can be used. The non-stick pans are generally thinner than a cast iron skillet.
Light the Bunsen Burner, let it get a good fire going then carefully set the can on top (open end over the fire) of the burner. Very quickly the can will heat up. Do your cooking, when you are finished, using pot holders or a fork, tip the can off the burner and blow it out. This is reusable until the wax and cardboard is gone. Both cans are re-used as well.
Have fun with this! Teach your kids something new! Make a few to keep on hand for those camping trips as well!