"Haybox" (maybe "Styrobox") Cookery

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Taz will be a while posting her information on a bushbox. Taz is the only person I know who's actually cooked with her bushbox and, thus, has valuable information--hurry up and get better, you klutz! In the meantime (and to make Taz get off her asparagus and post her stuff), here's info on a haybox.


Haybox Cookery

Q. What is a haybox?

A. Simply an insulated box used for slow cooking.

Haybox cookery saves energy. This tipsheet shows you how to make one and suggests two easy recipes to start you off.

The advantages of haybox cookery

The types of food which cook well in a haybox include soups, stews, sauces, stewed fruits, milk puddings, brown rice, stock etc. The box may also be used to keep pans or dishes of food warm, to make yoghurt or to keep food cold for short periods.

Besides saving fuel and money, it costs little or nothing to make, it cooks food weIl and it can't overcook or burn food.

The design has proved especially valuable in places such as rural South Africa where firewood is scarce, and the search for it can take hours each day. The women frequently put the dinner on before they go to work and, upon their return, it is ready to eat.

There are commercially produced hayboxes on the market, but they are expensive. In less than half an hour you could make one yourself using materials which cost little or nothing, and which are easy to obtain by examining the diagram and following these directions.

[Please go to to site for nicely drawn diagram.]


Traditionally, hay was used as the insulating material as it was easily available and cheap, but it has the disadvantage that it needs to be renewed fairly frequently and is messy. It is now also expensive and difficult for town-dwellers to obtain, so different insulating materials have become more common. Polystyrene and crumpled newspaper are two suitable ones.

The other requirement is for a cooking pot with two small handles at the top (for easy removal from the box) and a well fitting lid. Ideally the haybox should be made to fit a particular pan - the less space there is around the pan, the less heat will be lost.

How to use a haybox

Bring the contents of the pan to the boil and put on the lid. Open the box and put the pan inside. Quickly cover the lid of the box to prevent heat from escaping. Cooking will continue at a little below simmering point. If the pan is removed from the box at any point during cooking for any reason, such as to stir the contents, bring it to the boil again before replacing it. It is also advisable to boil meat dishes for a couple of minutes before serving them. Cooking times are likely to be about half as long again as simmering on the stove, but it is best to experiment for yourself.

Approximate times: stews, 3-5 hours; lentils, 1-3 hours; milk puddings, 1 hour.

Important note: All beans, especially red beans, should be boiled on a stove for at least 20 minutes prior to placing in haybox to ensure that the toxic anti-trypsins are destroyed.

Some recipes suitable for a haybox

[Sorry, you have to go to the site for them too, they don't compute.]

Recommended reading

Chop it, Cook it, Eat it #1.75 By the C.A.T. chefs, illus. by John Urry A5 48pp. A selection of recipes from our celebrated wholefood cafe. Wholewheat Baking #1.90 Steve Jacobs, illus. by Lucy Case A5 36pp. Bread, cake and pudding recipes from one of our top chefs. Why Wholefoods? 90p A4 8pp. An introduction to the benefits and delights of eating natural food.

All titles available from C.A.T. Mail Order. Phone 01654 703409.

) The Centre for Alternative Technology 1997. You may reproduce sections for furthering the aims of the green movement, if the source is duly credited.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), July 06, 1999


"Taz will be a while posting her information on a bushbox." She'll be a HELLUVA while; let's hope she posts it here on the forum first. LOL!

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), July 06, 1999.

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