Written by: Anna Sibal
01/13/2013 10:00 AM
We're all familiar with the thermos bottle. A lot of us use it to store hot water. Some of us grew up with our mothers forcing a thermos full of soup we could eat during recess at school. Some of us bring hot coffee in a thermos so we're sure to enjoy our own delicious brew instead of the indescribable mess that sometimes passes for coffee in the office break room.
But did you know that you can also cook with your thermos bottle? Many thermos cooking advocates consider preparing food in a thermos to be a great time- and energy-saver. When you're on a camping trip, thermos cooking will certainly help you a lot. With thermos cooking, you're guaranteed to have hot food to eat when you take a break for a meal in the middle of exploring the wilderness and you're miles away from your campsite. You won't have to make a cooking fire, especially when you're not really allowed to build one. And you won't have to make do with cold food or eating out of a can.
How Thermos Cooking Works
How does thermos cooking work? We all know that storing hot liquids in a thermos will keep them warm for at least six hours. That's because a thermos bottle is built with a vacuum surrounding its inner container. This vacuum prevents heat from dissipating and basically traps it right inside the thermos' inner container. Over time, this trapped heat can sufficiently cook the food items stored inside the thermos.
However, because thermos cooking works by preventing heat transfer from occurring, the first step to efficient thermos cooking is by pre-heating the inside of the bottle. You do this by boiling water in a regular or electric kettle and then pouring the freshly boiled water inside the thermos. After 10 minutes or so, you can dump the hot water used to preheat the thermos, and then you can dump the ingredients you want to cook inside your thermos. All you need to do is to top it up with more boiling water. You'll be able to tell if the food in your thermos is cooked by shaking the bottle. If your food sloshes about inside your thermos, it's not yet ready (unless, of course, it's soup).
Thermos cooking is perfect for preparing whole grains and vegetables. However, some ingredients such as meat and hard vegetables will still need to be pre-cooked over the stove. Otherwise, you'll end up with undercooked and inedible food.
The quality of the thermos you use for cooking matters as well. Some thermos bottles don't hold heat as much as others. When you attempt thermos cooking, you should go for high-end metal thermos bottles. These retain a lot of heat. You can easily buy a cheap but high-quality thermos from any department store.
Recipes for Thermos Cooking
We've listed here five recipes that you can easily make with thermos cooking.
Recipe 1: Oatmeal
Serves: 1 to 2Preparation time: 10 minutesThermos Cooking time: Minimum of 10 minutes
Recipe 2: Beef Chili
Serves: 2 to 3Preparation time: 15 minutes (including pre-cooking)Thermos Cooking time: Minimum of 15 minutes
Recipe 3: Chicken Macaroni Soup
Serves: 2 to 3Preparation time: 10 minutes (including pre-cooking)Thermos Cooking time: Minimum of 15 minutes
Recipe 4: Bread and Raisins Pudding
Serves: 2 to 3Preparation time: 10 minutes (including pre-cooking)Thermos Cooking time: Minimum of 10 minutes
Recipe 5: Pork and Vegetable Soup
Serves: 2 to 3Preparation time: 15 minutes (including pre-cooking)Thermos Cooking time: Minimum of 10 minutes
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