Low Energy Cooking

January 21st, 2010 by Brigitte Leave a reply »

I have often thought about the amount of time I have my oven on slowcooking casseroles and what I would do in the event of a powercut if I didn’t want to just heat up soup. When we camp we use a meths stove and a pot cosy to cook rice and pasta – the pot cosy is home made to match the pot from a foil covered bubble wrap material. It saves fuel because once the water and rice/pasta has been brought to the boil the stove is turned off and the pot is placed in the pot cosy which insulates it and keeps it cooking.

For some time now I have wanted to use this idea at home but often with three of us to feed I needed something on a larger scale but not being too good on the making of boxes etc I put it on the back burner, excuse the pun. However, this morning I was watching The Wartime Kitchen and Garden on the telly and the cook was using a Hay Box, I remembered my late granny talking about these and it appears it is a very efficient form of slow cooking. There are a number of sites with more information and I am going to experiment in the next few weeks with some of the methods. Here’s a video and some links:-

www.preparedhome.co.uk/articles/haybox.htm

www.instructables.com/id/hay-box-cooker

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4 comments

  1. marcus says:

    You don’t have to wait until you can get hold of a haybox before cooking more sustainably – the following tips are even simpler:
    No need to fill the pan right up when boiling things – just use a good fitting lid, and even a centimetre of water can be enough to cook food perfectly well (just make sure it doesn’t boil dry). Less time to heat up, and probably retain more flavour and nutrients also. I like to add just enough so i don’t need to throw away any water at the end – that way i get *all* the flavour.
    If you don’t have a haybox to hand, just turn off the hob a bit early, and leave the cooking to finish off for the last few minutes ‘under its own steam’ (sorry for pun).
    Get used to using a pressure cooker. Food cooks quicker and keeps more nutrients and flavour (so long as you don’t overcook it..).
    Given the choice, hob is quicker, and less energy, than oven. If you need that browned/roasted finish, maybe blast it a couple of minutes at the end under the grill.

  2. Brigitte says:

    Hi Marcus

    Good tips, the haybox is only for the long slow-cooking of casseroles etc.

  3. Rae says:

    Last Easter with friends we built a clay oven in our garden adapted from an American book , “Make your own bread oven”. It is very well insulated so requires a minimum of fuel. After cooking our evening meal (in fine weather) we put in bread dough, remove the cooked bread, then add casseroles which cook over night in therediual heat. Not only is it sustainable , but we have such pleasure sitting out by the fire in summer evenings. some of our garden pots have not survived the winter, but the oven is fine. Rae

  4. Brigitte says:

    I would be really interested in having a look at that book – it sounds fantastic.

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