It’s in the Bag! A Simple, Energy Saving Cooking Idea
By Tish North
I want to tell you about a product that I have developed that can help you save power when cooking. It’s called a Haylo Bag and it’s based on an idea that I have had for some time. After much research and prototyping, I have developed what I believe is a great energy-saving device for cooking food.
The idea formed out of my philosophy on life. I feel that the fewer natural resources we use the better for the planet, as well as being financially beneficial for us. Power bills are increasing and we need to find creative ways of saving and using less power.
Another strong belief of mine is not to waste. I grew up surrounded by people who had less than me and because of this I have always been aware of those who have, and those who have less. I abhor waste of any kind. This has enforced my ideas about recycling as there is so much we can reuse and so many things we can look at in different ways and give new life to.
My energy-saving cooking idea is a reinvention of an old method that seems to have been lost in time.
In England, during the last World War, hay boxes were used to aid in cooking with the purpose of reducing power use. A cooking pot was submerged into a box of hay and covered over with more hay to retain the heat. This allowed the temperature to remain steady and the food to continue cooking, all the while using less precious power.
For years, I have used a type of hay box made from two specifically shaped styrofoam pillows that fit tightly around a cooking pot to insulate and preserve the heat in the pot. In this way, the contents of the pot maintain their temperature as the cooking is in process. They used to be a real asset when I did catering and could produce piping hot food hours after preparation for large numbers of people in remote areas. Although this method worked, I found that the bags I used were bulky and not easy to transport, so I decided I wanted to design a similar, but smaller device with the same successful energy-saving properties that would:
- retain heat
- fit multiple size pots
- be portable
- be small and light enough to carry for outdoor pursuits
- be made with recycled materials.
With these ideas in mind, I began designing and trialling many prototypes. I started by looking into using recycled materials, but I found I could not incorporate materials such as wool blankets, old sweaters etc., as they were too bulky. Newspaper wasn’t any good either as it is not washable. In the end, I decided I could not meet the recycled materials criteria straight away, so concentrated on the power saving aspect – that being the primary idea. I do think recycling is important though, and I recycle other objects in my own way. (I have recently made jewellery from recycled typewriters, used a whole piano to make sculptures and screen printed the keys for necklaces . . . but that’s another story.)
The solution I came up with for my power-saving cooking device was a small polar-fleece, double-sided bag that expands to fit different size pots. It is filled with mini styrofoam beads that help retain the heat. It is small and portable, and can even be used as a pillow.
Haylo Bags are ideal for outdoor living. They’re perfect for camping, tramping and kayaking trips. The cooking can look after itself whilst you’re away from a hut on a day tramp or it can even be done in the bottom of the kayak. There are multiple situations I can think of where these bags can be used in the outdoors.
I will be selling my bags at the Eco Fest coming up on 21st and 22nd August.
If anyone wants more information my details are:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 021031841
The following advice is on a leaflet that I give away with the bags to explain their use. HAYLO BAGS
Heat food in pot and bring to boiling. Cook for about 5 minutes, 10 minutes for rice, beans and meat. Do not lift lid. Place pot immediately into bag, close bag to seal in heat and leave undisturbed for as long as possible. Grains should be left for at least ½ hr. Meat cooks better the longer it is left (2-3 hours). Once the pot is opened the heat is lost and the food stops cooking. If more cooking is required bring the food back to the boil and place pot back in the bag without opening the lid. Cheaper cuts of meat work especially well if cooked twice, with about 2 hours each time in the bag. Do not replace lukewarm or half eaten food in the bag. Reheat to boiling before putting the pot back in the bag, this is to prevent spoiling. The less air space in the pot, the better it will work. Choose the smallest pot that the cooked food fits. Root vegetables can be left twice as long as regular cooking time. Green vegetables should not be left for more than 20 minutes as they lose flavour and colour. The best thing is to experiment with your favourite recipes and be creative using your Haylo Bag. Tish North
- Saves on cooking times.
- Food does not burn, stick or dry out.
- Great for cheaper meat cuts, chickpeas, lentils, rice and dried beans.
- Keeps food hot for up to 4 hours.
- Can be used to keep foods chilled.
- Keeps yoghurt warm whilst setting, keeps yeast warm whilst proving.
- Great for pot luck dinners, camping and tramping trips, yachting and motor home use.