20 January 2009

My hay box

A friend in Cape Town requested that I post some pics and info about my haybox (hot box) here, so after yesterdays post I thought a bit of light hearted cheer would be in order.

A simple hot box or hay box

A hot box is any type of bag that is filled with insulative material, used to cook foods. Traditionally hay was used in these boxes, I've also heard of newspaper but we use polystyrene chips. (ONE good use for these dreadful things) You can usually find these chips or balls at a chemist shop or some other shop that receives packages of fragile goods regularily and they will probably be happy to give them to you. The chips are placed in a cloth bag, like a pillow slip. It helps if you make a cover for the pillows are they sometimes get food spills on them. Mine have velcro strips and were made by my Mom. (Thanks Mom) The pillows are placed in a cardboard box, which also helps keep the heat in. My mother has a box with a lid flaps, but mine is open, simply cos it is all I could find and it works well.

Note the inner cover cushion and removable slip.

Obviously the box has no heat source of its' own, so hot/boiling food must be placed in it, to cook. Once food is brought to the boil or a high temperature on a conventional stove the pot is placed in the hot box and cooking continues as the insulative materials keep the food at a constant temperature for long peroids. Food that is suitable to be cooked in the hay box include pulses and legumes, porridges, rice and such.

At the moment I am using it to cook porridge for my family. In the evening I bring 1 cup of cereal grain and 4 cups of hot water to boil in a pot on the stove. Add a bit of salt. I boil it only a bit and stir till the liquid is a little thicker. Less than 5 min on the stove. Then I pop on the lid of the pot and once the pot lid is very hot to touch I put it in the hot box, closing it up well and making sure their are no gaps.

Pot snug in the cushion

We are using oats, maize meal and tasty wheat at the moment and everyone is enjoying it for breakfast and I'm cutting my shopping bills as I am no longer buying heaps of ready made cereals and Pro-Nutro.

You may need to find a spot for the box in your kitchen before you make your box as they tend to take up a bit of room. I tuck mine in the bottom shelf of the dinner trolley.


  1. Nice posting, thanks for this :-)

  2. I know exactly what you are talking about. Even though D is not homeschooled, we struggle just the same. It is very hard but we do succeed in the end (with or without a little help from others)


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