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  • Jane Segaran

What is a Haybox?

Updated: Apr 9, 2022

A quick Introduction


What is a Hay Box? (Also know as "Thermal Cooking, "Retained Heat Cooking" ) A Hay box is an insulated box into which you place in a pot your partially cooked food. The heat from the pot and the insulation will complete the cooking process. This is particularly useful for stew, curries, rice etc. Although I have now made bread using this method. The early version's of the hay boxes were insulated using hay, but we have used old cushions, sleeping bags, newspaper, duvets etc. We have an assortment of hay boxes. Our first a big plastic crate with a clip lid which had served originally as a storage box for the Lego ! This has a sleeping bag and a towel. Now we have various hay boxes, a wicker basket also lined with cut up sleeping bags, a big homemade stool with the large cushions stuffed with newspaper . When making a stew I always cut the food a little smaller than usual to speed the process and use less water. The great advantage is no smoke ! no burnt pans and a saving of around 50% fuel. Usually we do not need to reheat food from the hay box after 3 hours or so it will still come out steaming hot. Using a good well insulated pot is an advantage, cast iron or cast aluminium works very well. The thicker the pot the longer it retains heat. A tight fitting lid keeps the heat in. Remember ! When cooking the food to keep the lid on the pot ! Don't be tempted to peep in ! The food will cool down rapidly Cooking Rice Wash the rice and add 1.5 measures of water to a measure of rice. Put in the pot and bring to the boil on the fire with the lid on. Remove from the heat once you have a rolling boil. Wrap in a towel and place snugly in your hay box. The rice should be ready in an hour. Stews and Curry's work well. Using vegetables, lentils or cooked beans whatever you have to hand, seasoning and enough stock to be just above the line of vegetables ) bring everything to the boil with the lid on for around 8 minutes and move into the hay box. NOTE: We are vegetarian so I have no experience of cooking meat in a hay box, however it is perfectly safe to do so. Cut the meat into pieces . If in any doubt at the end of the cooking Please do re-heat.
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