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Old 30-06-2019, 03:07   #1
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Efficient cooking

What's the state of the art wrt cooking? We currently have the ubiquitous propane stove. Drawbacks being finding propane, safety, and adding heat to an already hot galley.

Induction plates and microwave ovens require obscene amounts of electricity (1200W or so). Slow cookers are poorly insulated and transfer considerable energy into ambient heat. Solar ovens look like inadequate solutions for morning coffee and evening meal (we do not heat food for lunch anyway).

We make coffee with a stove-top moka pot, frequently cook pasta, occasionally do pancakes, and grill meat. Being able to do this without propane would be great. Possible?
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Old 30-06-2019, 04:02   #2
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Re: Efficient cooking

Retained Heat Cooking uses a lot less energy than continuous active heating, dramatically reduces heat transfer into boat, and does not need to be monitored (as does anything with an active burner)...so you can go do fun stuff like snorkel.

The concept is ancient, but there are new variations on it like the Wonder Bag.

https://www.wonderbagworld.com/
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Old 30-06-2019, 04:05   #3
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Re: Efficient cooking

I think cooking can be done with energy sources like : alcohol, kerosene, electricity, propane/butane gas, petrol, diesel and you mentioned solar-oven.
Take your pick.
Many of the above are not state of the art, are passť, or have inherent risks.

After you have taken your pick you decide how to use that energy: plain pots and pans, pressure cooker, slow cooker, retained heat type of cooking.

I think is a question of elimination: what do you like, what fits on your boat, size of your wallet, and what risks are you prepared to live with. If you are 100% risk adverse..... cooking might not be for you.

For me propane works well, cheap, reliable, and risks can be managed; particularly with a pressure cooker or retained heat cooking, very economical.

If diesel stoves would be simpler, more reliable and cheaper, I might go that way, but can not see that happen in the short or medium term.

Induction type of cooking might be the way forward, but not suitable for every boat and budget.

If one does not want to have 'cooking' heat inside the boat:
- consider cooking outside or
- cook only those items on the stove that need very little time on the stove, use minimal amount of water, or pick the right food, ie fish can be cooked within minutes while a cheap steak might take 20 minutes.

edit: I see that belizesailor is on the same path: here is another link for retained heat cooking (that I use): https://www.roothy.com.au/products/s...rmal-cookware/
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Old 30-06-2019, 05:39   #4
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Re: Efficient cooking

Quote:
Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
What's the state of the art wrt cooking? We currently have the ubiquitous propane stove. Drawbacks being finding propane, safety, and adding heat to an already hot galley.

Induction plates and microwave ovens require obscene amounts of electricity (1200W or so). Slow cookers are poorly insulated and transfer considerable energy into ambient heat. Solar ovens look like inadequate solutions for morning coffee and evening meal (we do not heat food for lunch anyway).

We make coffee with a stove-top moka pot, frequently cook pasta, occasionally do pancakes, and grill meat. Being able to do this without propane would be great. Possible?

I have a good gas system and four burner gas stove and oven, but like you I don't like propane.


I have a Nuwave induction plate, and it is so fantastic, that I only use propane any more for cooking when I must have more than one burner. It uses not 1200 watts, but 2000, but why is that "insane"? This is not really a problem on my boat. Easily powered by inverter off batteries or generator or shore power. I would guess that most cruising boats of medium size and over, could deal with this kind of power.



My gas solenoid failed last August and I haven't even bothered to replace it yet -- so little do I care about gas since I acquired the induction hob. I've got a summer cruise coming up and I will replace it this week, but it's no big deal.



In my opinion induction is the bomb for cooking and my next boat will be induction only, no gas.



Induction gives a simply superior cooking experience -- as much better than gas, as gas was better than old fashioned resistance electric cooking, in my opinion. But it also uses very little power because it is so efficient in transferring heat into the food. I can cook a meal on the induction plate and hardly notice the effect on my batteries. It uses 2000 watts only at peak -- say boiling a large pot of water -- and for a few minutes at most. The rest of the time it cycles down to maintain whatever temperature you set.



My boat also has a built-in microwave which I use a lot, at least 20 times more often than the gas oven. This is also extremely efficient -- 2000 watts for just a few minutes at a time. Even 10 minutes of 2000 watts is only .333 kW/h, and I rarely run the microwave like that -- usually it's just a couple minutes at a time.


Anyway, for a boat with a generator being used off-grid, you would normally time your generator runs to coincide with greatest demand. So do that during dinner preparation and Bob's your uncle.


I think electric cooking is the way to go these days.
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Old 30-06-2019, 05:48   #5
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Efficient cooking

2000W at 120 VAC is 16.7 amps AC or roughly 170 amps from a battery bank.
Average cruising boat shore power is 30 amps, so thatís more than 50% of all power available for ONE burner, so sure you can do it on shore power or if you have a large enough generator. A Honda 2200 busting its gut might can do it, a 2000 likely wonít.

But then what are you going to do about a second burner? How about the oven? We typically use all three at the same time.

As far as timing your generator loads for when there is the most load, sure, but thats morning before Solar really kicks in and your bank can take the power the generator will make, most heavy cooking is done late in the day, when you really donít want to be running the generator due to battery acceptance.

So now we are back to where we pretty much always end up with electric cooking threads, yes it can be done, if you have a massive Solar array or a generator, but it pretty much also takes a Lithium bank to make it work.

Most cruising boats chronically undercharge their banks, adding in electric cooking just isnít happening, unless you donít mind a generator running so that you can cook.

Propane is dangerous, but so is high amp high voltage current, both can be used safely though.
We use 10 lbs a month and thatís high as we eat out very little, I carry four bottles, a four month supply. Two in the locker, one on a rail for the grill. And one on deck.

So yes you can of course use electricity to cook, but your going to have to have one very robust electrical system to do so, and most likely a built in generator.
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Old 30-06-2019, 05:49   #6
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Re: Efficient cooking

I use a small pressure cooker on my propane stove and itís very efficient. Use a propane grill for when I donít want to heat up the cabin. Also have a small Trangia alcohol backpacking stove as backup for the propane system....and itís the perfect heat source for my little Bialetti espresso maker!
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Old 30-06-2019, 06:01   #7
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Re: Efficient cooking

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
2000W at 120 VAC is 16.7 amps AC or roughly 170 amps from a battery bank.
...snip
170A for 5min is 14Ah. Not much to worry about
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Old 30-06-2019, 06:21   #8
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Re: Efficient cooking

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
2000W at 120 VAC is 16.7 amps AC or roughly 170 amps from a battery bank.
Average cruising boat shore power is 30 amps, so thatís more than 50% of all power available for ONE burner, so sure you can do it on shore power or if you have a large enough generator. A Honda 2200 busting its gut might can do it, a 2000 likely wonít.

But then what are you going to do about a second burner? How about the oven? We typically use all three at the same time.

As far as timing your generator loads for when there is the most load, sure, but thats morning before Solar really kicks in and your bank can take the power the generator will make, most heavy cooking is done late in the day, when you really donít want to be running the generator due to battery acceptance.

So now we are back to where we pretty much always end up with electric cooking threads, yes it can be done, if you have a massive Solar array or a generator, but it pretty much also takes a Lithium bank to make it work.

Most cruising boats chronically undercharge their banks, adding in electric cooking just isnít happening, unless you donít mind a generator running so that you can cook.

Propane is dangerous, but so is high amp high voltage current, both can be used safely though.
We use 10 lbs a month and thatís high as we eat out very little, I carry four bottles, a four month supply. Two in the locker, one on a rail for the grill. And one on deck.

So yes you can of course use electricity to cook, but your going to have to have one very robust electrical system to do so, and most likely a built in generator.

Well, some boats' electrical systems couldn't handle it, others could.


If you have a charger-inverter with power boost -- something I wouldn't be without -- you can add inverter power for limited periods to shore or generator power. So if I'm on a typical 16 amp shore power circuit (much weaker than my generator which can provide 30 amps or 6.5kW) that's 3.6kW which can be boosted up to about 6kW with power boost. If I'm using the generator, then I have 6.5kW available plus maybe 2.5 for 10kW.



Even with the weaker shore power, there's plenty for two induction eyes plus an oven.


YMMV, of course, but I think my electrical system is fairly typical for larger cruising boats, and not necessarily "very robust". Nor do I think handling such amounts of electrical power to be dangerous at all, certainly not with 230v -- 4 to 5kW is only 17 to 22 amps.



I think electric cooking will be feasible for a significant percentage of cruising boats. And lithium batteries with a large charger/inverter or bank of charger/inverters is a real game changer, making electric cooking really effortless.
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Old 30-06-2019, 06:38   #9
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Re: Efficient cooking

Quote:
Originally Posted by TeddyDiver View Post
170A for 5min is 14Ah. Not much to worry about


You cook in five minutes and only use 1 burner?
I guess thatís heating up a can of soup? Thatís not what I call cooking.
Now I donít cook, Iíll grill but whatever the Wife does in the galley takes considerable longer than 5 minutes.
I just asked, even a simple meat loaf is 45 minutes in the oven.
Letís not forget that oven, you going to not have one I guess and microwave anything?
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Old 30-06-2019, 06:46   #10
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Re: Efficient cooking

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YMMV, of course, but I think my electrical system is fairly typical for larger cruising boats, and not necessarily "very robust". Nor do I think handling such amounts of electrical power to be dangerous at all, certainly not with 230v -- 4 to 5kW is only 17 to 22 amps.



I think electric cooking will be feasible for a significant percentage of cruising boats. And lithium batteries with a large charger/inverter or bank of charger/inverters is a real game changer, making electric cooking really effortless.

OK, now itís large cruising boats, I agree a large cruising boat can, heck a truly large one I guess usually has a Chef as part of the crew.

That I think is the issue, I think of typical cruising boat being Mom and Pop, usually not a built in generator but maybe a Honda for those overcast days or cold days when you want a hot shower.

But yes, for Iíd take a swag of a $10,000 investment, most any boat can be made to cook with electricity.
Generator, inverters, lithium bank and or Big Solar Array etc.
Generator alone could likely do it, but its going to be a big one, and your running it every single time you want to cook.

I had two 10 lb propane bottles refilled the other day at Jax Naval Air station, $10.81 cents for two months of cooking. You canít run a generator for an hour a day, every single day for even close to that.
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Old 30-06-2019, 06:47   #11
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Re: Efficient cooking

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
2000W at 120 VAC is 16.7 amps AC or roughly 170 amps from a battery bank.
Average cruising boat shore power is 30 amps, so that’s more than 50% of all power available for ONE burner, so sure you can do it on shore power or if you have a large enough generator. A Honda 2200 busting its gut might can do it, a 2000 likely won’t.

FWIW, I can't use the 20000W of my induction plate for anything other than boiling water quickly. Cooking steaks, I have it around 1000-1200W max. For frying eggs, bacon etc and stir fries, it's more like 800W. For simmering 400W does very nicely.
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Old 30-06-2019, 06:55   #12
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Re: Efficient cooking

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
OK, now itís large cruising boats, I agree a large cruising boat can, heck a truly large one I guess usually has a Chef as part of the crew.

That I think is the issue, I think of typical cruising boat being Mom and Pop, usually not a built in generator but maybe a Honda for those overcast days or cold days when you want a hot shower.

But yes, for Iíd take a swag of a $10,000 investment, most any boat can be made to cook with electricity.
Generator, inverters, lithium bank and or Big Solar Array etc.
Generator alone could likely do it, but its going to be a big one, and your running it every single time you want to cook.

I had two 10 lb propane bottles refilled the other day at Jax Naval Air station, $10.81 cents for two months of cooking. You canít run a generator for an hour a day, every single day for even close to that.

Well, I'm not selling it.


Obviously, gas is easy and practical and that is why 99% of cruisers cook with it.


But the premise of the thread was what are the practical alternatives to gas.
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Old 30-06-2019, 06:58   #13
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Re: Efficient cooking

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FWIW, I can't use the 20000W of my induction plate for anything other than boiling water quickly. Cooking steaks, I have it around 1000-1200W max. For frying eggs, bacon etc and stir fries, it's more like 800W. For simmering 400W does very nicely.


That makes perfect sense, but still 400W x two plates for half an hour is a lot of power.
Plus you guys keep ignoring the oven, how do you bake bread? Bake a cake? Brownies? Even a meat loaf?
Do you fry all of your meat?
We use the oven a lot, and a microwave heats some things, but its not an Oven, it doesnít brown anything.
Decades ago we had a Sears micro / convection oven, now that thing was pretty slick, but I havenít seen one lately for some reason.
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Old 30-06-2019, 07:33   #14
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Re: Efficient cooking

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
2000W at 120 VAC is 16.7 amps AC or roughly 170 amps from a battery bank.
Average cruising boat shore power is 30 amps, so that’s more than 50% of all power available for ONE burner, so sure you can do it on shore power or if you have a large enough generator. A Honda 2200 busting its gut might can do it, a 2000 likely won’t.

But then what are you going to do about a second burner? How about the oven? We typically use all three at the same time.

As far as timing your generator loads for when there is the most load, sure, but thats morning before Solar really kicks in and your bank can take the power the generator will make, most heavy cooking is done late in the day, when you really don’t want to be running the generator due to battery acceptance.

So now we are back to where we pretty much always end up with electric cooking threads, yes it can be done, if you have a massive Solar array or a generator, but it pretty much also takes a Lithium bank to make it work.

Most cruising boats chronically undercharge their banks, adding in electric cooking just isn’t happening, unless you don’t mind a generator running so that you can cook.

Propane is dangerous, but so is high amp high voltage current, both can be used safely though.
We use 10 lbs a month and that’s high as we eat out very little, I carry four bottles, a four month supply. Two in the locker, one on a rail for the grill. And one on deck.

So yes you can of course use electricity to cook, but your going to have to have one very robust electrical system to do so, and most likely a built in generator.
Respectfully... you don’t know what you’re talking about.

We have 450w of solar which powers all electric cooking, refrigeration, navigation including two 12 inch chartplotters, radar, auto pilot and running the Spectra watermaker for two hours per day which makes 34 gallons of water, Nespresso coffee maker and microwave. All without touching the generator and which brings us back up to 100% by the end of the day.

You must be doing something/many things wrong. . . .

Example: Today I noticed the solar generation was reading a positive 1 amp. So I cleaned off the panels, and suprise! surprise!.... it immediately jumped up to 4 amps going in.
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Old 30-06-2019, 07:38   #15
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Re: Efficient cooking

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
That makes perfect sense, but still 400W x two plates for half an hour is a lot of power.
Plus you guys keep ignoring the oven, how do you bake bread? Bake a cake? Brownies? Even a meat loaf?
Do you fry all of your meat?
We use the oven a lot, and a microwave heats some things, but its not an Oven, it doesnít brown anything.
Decades ago we had a Sears micro / convection oven, now that thing was pretty slick, but I havenít seen one lately for some reason.

Well, I'm a vegetarian, so I don't fry any meat, or bake it, or do anything else with it. YMMV!


I don't use the oven much -- maybe once a week?


A micro/convection oven would be the very thing -- extremely efficient, and works better and faster than gas. Don't know why you haven't seen them; they are very common.


https://www.bestbuy.com/site/microwa...&intl=nosplash


I considered replacing my built-in microwave (which does have a grill in it) with one of these, but finally decided it would be a bit too small to really replace the gas oven, so didn't.
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