It is a simple well-insulated box lined with a reflective
material into which a pot of food is placed. Food is cooked in 3-6 hours
by the heat retained in the insulated box. The insulation greatly slows
the loss of conductive heat. Convective heat in the surrounding air is
trapped inside the box and the shiny lining reflects the radiant heat back
into the pot. Simple hay box cookers could be introduced along with fuel
saving cook stoves in areas where slow cooking is practiced. How these
boxes should be made, and from what materials, is perhaps best left to
people belonging to different regions. Ideally, the hay box cooker should
be made of inexpensive and locally available materials and should have
standard pot sizes used in the local area.
for Building Hay Box Cooker
a) Insulation should
cover six sides of the box, especially the bottom and lid. The box
should be perfectly airtight. Improper insulation may result the
loss of heat.
- b) Inner surfaces of the box should
be of a heat reflective material, such as aluminum foil, to reflect
back the radiant heat from the pot.
c) A simple, lightweight hay box can be made from 60 x 120 cm sheet of rigid
foil-faced insulation and aluminum tape.
d) Hay box cookers can also be constructed as box-inside-a-box with the intervening
space filled with a good insulating material. Required thickness of the insulation
will vary based on the efficiency of the insulating material.
e) Some of the good insulating materials, suitable for ‘Hay Box Cooker’, with
suggested wall thickness are given in Table.3.2.
f) Box can be made of wood, cardboard or any combination, but the lid should
Instruction for Using Hay Box
- a) Cooking with Hay Box Cooker requires
some adjustments as given below:
- Less water should be used since it is not boiled away,
- Less spicing is needed since the aroma is not boiled away, and
- Cooking must be started earlier to give enough time to the food to be
cooked at lower temperature than over a stove.
b) Hay box cookers work best for large quantities of food, as small amounts
of food have less thermal mass and cool faster comparatively. Combination of
two or more smaller amounts of food may be placed in the box to cook simultaneously.
Food should boil for several minutes before placing in the box. This ensures
that all the food is at boiling temperature, and not just the water.
c) The hay boxes perform best at low altitudes where boiling temperature is
highest. They should not be expected to perform well at high altitudes. One
great advantage of hay box cookers is that the cook no longer has to keep the
fire burning, watch or stir the pot once it is in the box. In fact, the box
should not be opened during cooking, as valuable heat is lost.
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