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Old 30-01-2011, 10:29   #1
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Retained - Heat Cooking

In another thread an excellent suggestion was made about Retained Heat Cooking as a way to keep solar cooked foods warm until after sundown, when tropical sailors usually eat. In olden times this was called Straw Box Cooking and in some countries today is called a Fireless Cooker. I actually had one that was made in England in the 1980s. It was a lidded aluminum pot set in a big, plastic bread box and surrounded by foam molded to fit exactly. Anyone else out there get one when they were on the market? It really works. Bring almost any dish to a boil in the morning, put it in the Fireless Cooker and it's ready by nightfall. It worked fine even for beef stew made with tough stewing beef. Getting back to the pioneers in covered wagons, they soaked beans overnight, brought them up to a good boil in their liddled iron pots over their morning fire then placed the pots in wood boxes packed heavily on the bottom, sides and top with straw. By the time the wagons circled for the evening, the beans were ready to eat. The straw box could, of course, be used day after day. I've made many variations on this including using pillows in ice chests. Picking up a Chinese takeout meal on your way to the marina? Take an ice chest and a big stack of old newspapers or other insulation. Stays hot for hours.
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Old 30-01-2011, 11:00   #2
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Originally Posted by JanetGroene View Post
Bring almost any dish to a boil in the morning, put it in the Fireless Cooker and it's ready by nightfall.
Any old SS vacuum type thermos works very well too

I typically used a small thermos to cook with while backpacking. I would have meals pre-made, of rice/lentils, spices, dried veggies/onions. Sometimes dried beans (soaked in the thermos the night before), and occasionally dried meats... I'd cook in the morning right along with making my coffee and oatmeal... I'd make my coffee/oatmeal first then add the food to the leftover water (I had it all precisely measured) and return to a boil, pour the whole thing into the thermos, put thermos in backpack, and off you go. It's ready within 20 minutes or so (cooks like a pressure cooker) and stays piping hot and fresh (not overcooked) for up to 24 hours.

Same principle also used in backpacking, is to make a pot cozy out of reflective insulation material. You just bring your meal to a boil and place the pot in the cozy and let sit until it's cooked... I like the thermos better for one-person meals, but the cozy is more useful for bigger pots.

The principal for backpacking was to use the least amount of cooking fuel possible. So making an entire day's hot meals just by boiling water once in the morning, using about an ounce of alcohol, was extremely useful.
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Old 30-01-2011, 13:30   #3
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I came across this type of cooking in an old woodworking book I've recently been reading, with a description of how to make the box. Did a bit of googling and it seems that many are still doing, but with modern materials, like sleeping bag insulation or polystyrene etc.
I've still yet to try it though.
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Old 30-01-2011, 13:32   #4
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I remember my grandma made rice by bringing it to a boil, and then wrapping the pot in newspapers and putting pillows around it, letting it sit from noon until supper time.

Made perfect rice every time.
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Old 30-01-2011, 14:32   #5
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Isn't this fun? I've done a lot of vacuum bottle "cooking". Much depends on size of food and insulation in thermos. Preheat bottle first with hot water, then add food and water. Have hot eggs for breakfast by putting no more than four raw eggs (in the shell) in a preheated thermos no smaller than 1 quart. Fill with boiling water. In the morning, crack shells and dig egg with a small spoon. Overnight thermos cooking works well too for oat groats, wheat berries, barley, old-fashioned oatmeal, other hot cereals. Put 4 hot dogs in a preheated quart thermos, fill with boiling water and they're ready for the buns in a couple of hours. Did I say you need widemouth thermoses for this?
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Old 30-01-2011, 15:21   #6
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On the opposite side of the thermal equation, you can run a Koolatron or similar Peltier-fan cooler (or heater) box at full bore at the dock, and then shut it off, wrap the box in a silvered Mylar "space blanket" of the type often acquired for ditch bags, and then wrap that in a sleeping bag. Stow it in the V-berth and you might be surprised at how long the food stays cold...like 24 hours.

Of course, if you are motoring, you can just run the thing constantly from a 12VDC outlet, but if you run a low-battery-capacity, low-power boat without a traditional icebox (or access to ice), it's a cheap way to "extend the cool" over much of a weekend.

Another trick is to freeze a few items in the same cooler, wrap up as before, and let the thawing keep the rest of the beer...sorry, nutritious provisions...cold for a few more hours.
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:36   #7
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The wrapping part is important as S/V Alchemy points out. I love my Peltier ice chest-type fridge but the heat exchanger works backwards as soon as you unplug it and it warms up very quickly.
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Old 06-02-2011, 14:29   #8
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Hey Janet, Just so happens I found a Thermos brand "Shuttle Chef" (made in Japan) thermal cooker at a thrift shop today! Picked it up for $1.99

It's perfect. You just boil whatever in the pot, then drop the pot straight into the thermos, done.

Looks almost like this one, I can't find a pic of the exact one... Mine is about 1.5qt size and has a different handle, but same thing.



I try not to buy much stuff for my galley since it's so small, but this is an excellent addition. It'll save me tons of stove fuel and free up some cooking space for those more-than-one-pot meals.
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Old 11-02-2011, 14:20   #9
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A buck 99? I'm so jealous, I could spit. Nasty letter to follow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by callmecrazy View Post
Hey Janet, Just so happens I found a Thermos brand "Shuttle Chef" (made in Japan) thermal cooker at a thrift shop today! Picked it up for $1.99

It's perfect. You just boil whatever in the pot, then drop the pot straight into the thermos, done.

Looks almost like this one, I can't find a pic of the exact one... Mine is about 1.5qt size and has a different handle, but same thing.



I try not to buy much stuff for my galley since it's so small, but this is an excellent addition. It'll save me tons of stove fuel and free up some cooking space for those more-than-one-pot meals.
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Old 09-02-2012, 14:41   #10
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Re: Retained-Heat Cooking

Thanks to you folks in this thread I have discovered thermal cooking. What an interesting concept. Started with my favorite steel cut oatmeal and have now moved up to soup. bring ingredients to boil, transfer to pre-warmed 16oz thermos, eat a few hours later when there is time. Perfect veggies, even potato. Having a bit of trouble with white rice though, 5 hours later is doesn't look like rice, but still tastes OK.

Less fuel, less steam in the boat's interior, less time over the stove, what's not to like. I find I prefer to keep a 2qt thermos full of hot water for washing or consumption with some hot beverage.

Also, care of this forum, I've successfully used the pressure cooker and even used canned meat. I may yet become a sailor.

Thanks for all your help, fellow forumites!

Mike
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Old 09-02-2012, 15:26   #11
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Re: Retained-Heat Cooking

Yep, we have this....


Thermal Cookware - slow cookers that also keep your food hotter (or colder) than anything else! - Thermal Cookers - Thermos Shuttle Chef - RPC 6000 W combination - Thermal Cookware, Shuttle Chef, Shuttle, Chef, Thermal, Thermo, Recipes, Cooking, Ther

.....and for cooking, this.....


Premier Pro | Cobb - Making Life Easier

We would never think of going camping/cruising without either, two bags of BBQ Beads for the Cobb last's over a year, very rarely do we use gas for cooking.....
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Old 09-02-2012, 15:41   #12
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Re: Retained-Heat Cooking

Mike, I use 1.5 cups of water bring to boil add 1 cup of rice boil for 1 minute only, place in thermos shuttle. Perfect rice in 2 hours or less.
Ian.
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Old 09-02-2012, 16:32   #13
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Re: Retained-Heat Cooking

$537.00 ca. That is nuts...
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Old 09-02-2012, 17:37   #14
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Re: Retained-Heat Cooking

That's a lot of money, but a simple Google search for "thermal cooker" finds some cheaper options, f'rinstance:

Thermal Cooker from SPT | The Home Depot - Model ST-60B
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Old 09-02-2012, 17:49   #15
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Re: Retained-Heat Cooking

Quote:
Originally Posted by tamif27 View Post
That's a lot of money, but a simple Google search for "thermal cooker" finds some cheaper options, f'rinstance:

Thermal Cooker from SPT | The Home Depot - Model ST-60B
And if you get the 8+ years out of the cheap stuff that we have so far got out of what i posted above then......

But i doubt it....
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