The versatile Hay box cooker
That sounds pretty appealing to most any one, regardless of their circumstances.
Not until I had been involved in the solar cooking world for some time did I first hear about a Hay Box Cooker, a unique and ingenious little contraption designed to cook a meal without the use of fuel.Rather, it is designed to continue the; already in progress cooking action, initiated earlier by means or use of another fuel.This has often been described as Heat-Retention cooking.
After your food is brought to a hard boil or, has been allowed to simmer for a period of time over a flame or electric burner, transfer the cooking vessel to a well insulated container, in this case your hay box cooker. Cover and seal well, allowing enough heat retention to permit the food to finish the cooking process in a manner similar to slow, or crock pot cooking.The insulated container will then allow the food to continue cooking with its own heat and to keep the food hot or warm for several hours longer, allowing for a timely and warm meal.
In many third world countries, a hay box is used in conjunction with a solar cooker or other types of fuel cookers or stoves in order to preserve valuable and scarce fuel resources.Since many people can ill afford the cost of cooking fuel, and also the means or ability to obtain it on a regular and practical basis, the use of a hay box can prolong or extend the meager fuel supplies of the poor, thereby becoming an economic benefit to the families and individuals who use them.See how one organization is using the "hay box" cooker to help people in Africa improve their lives.
Use of a hay box with a solar cooker has been the means to increasing the quantities of food that are possible to be cooked when using such a "time constrained" method of cooking such as solar cooking.Once food is brought to a steady boil or steady simmer and maintained for several minutes, it can then be transferred (in the same pot) over to the hay box for continued cooking, thus saving time and continued fuel consumption.
Though there is no actual fuel consumption when using solar cookers; by continuing the cooking process in a hay box, it frees up the solar cooker more quickly, allowing other foods or meals to be cooked during the same day.
Cooking times using a hay box will vary depending on the types of foods and the initial cook time before the transfer to the hay box.Also the effectiveness of your box will depend on how well it is constructed. Precision construction will help to create a tight, efficient, insulating wrap for your cooking vessel.
As with any new idea, method or technology, it will require regular use of this exceptional tool to become proficient and productive with it.There is a learning curve or experimental factor involved with learning to "supplement" your cooking practices by using a hay box. But the effort is well worth it.
The hay box is really just an earlier and more primitive form of our modern day insulated thermos or cooler.
Early documentation of its use has been found within a few almanac style publications in the mid to late 1800's. There is also documentation of government endorsement for the use of hay boxes in the United States during the Great Depression and WWII in order to help people ration their fuel supplies and stores.
And it also stands to reason that the know-how for "insulated warmers"; existed probably long before our relatively recent awareness of the technology.
Hay boxes can be a handy tool when camping, picnicking and cooking for large groups… And even just for daily home use.
Why not build a hay box for your own use…
Here is a link to an old book published originally in 1913...
What makes a great Haybox cooker (thermal box)?
We would like to hear your experiences with making and using Haybox cookers, especially when using them in conjunction with solar cookers.
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
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I was researching about solar ovens and such when I came across a video of someone cooking beans in a dutch oven and using a laundry basket as a haybox/hot …
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My first hay box was made of carpet offcuts wrapped in cardboard and painted sky blue. It was okay but chickpeas always came out a bit tough and I my …
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