RE: Late 19th, early 20th century cooking method - Haybox

Asked November 6, 2017, 4:20 AM EST

I am attempting to use less energy to cook our food. To that end, I have successfully cooked steel cut oats in a thermos for breakfast for over a year now and would like to use a 'Haybox' or similar device to cook other foods. In your archives, do you have any information regarding the method. (It could also be called 'residual heat cooking'.) I am also looking for plans, patterns and directions for constructing my own because I can't imagine being able to purchase one with limited funds.

Clackamas County Oregon food preparation residential alternative energy

1 Response

I am not aware that the Extension Service has a plan for making a Hay Box for cooking. Directions for cooking this way are not specific because there are a lot of factors involved in the process. How big your box box, how hot the food is when it went in, the pan used, how insulated, weather outside, quantity of food etc.

I am sure you can find plans on the internet on back to basic sites that will give you some ideas on how to build one. My recollection is that there was an article on Hay Stack Cooking in the Mother Earth Magazine a number of years ago. I must caution you that the safety of the food must be taken into consideration. For safety the food has to be kept hot during the cooking time and not in the danger zone of 40-140 degrees for more than 2-3 hours. This can be a challenge if you leave it too long. If it was boiling when you put it into the box and then boiled again when you take it out you probably will be ok unless you see some signs of spoilage. Sorry I can't be of more help. Good luck.

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Nellie Oehler