Written by Ivana Jakubkova, Events Officer
Simply put, haybox is an insulated box which turns part cooked food into a finished meal without using any extra heat. Hay, the early insulating material, can be replaced with a variety of other materials and various forms of haybox cookers are saving firewood or gas around the world. While this method is particularly well suited to use in developing countries where energy sources and fuel are scarce, it works just as well in developed countries which have a lot of carbon cutting to do to make up for being the main drivers of climate change. As an added bonus, this is an efficient as well as fun way to cut one’s energy bills and enjoy delicious food.
This deceptively small book, Haybox Cooking – Save Energy with Fireless Cookers written by York residents Jane and Seggy Segaran gives you a thorough lowdown of what haybox cooking is, its many advantages, how to do it safely (keeping food heated at the right temperature is important for preventing a tummy upset, or worse) and the different types of cookers available. Jane and Seggy even provide instructions on how to build your own haybox cooker and provide several recipes which made me drool over the pages.
Reading the book brought back fond memories of my gran who used to keep side dishes warm under a stack of duvets while the stew needed extra time. I use her method occasionally and it’s so strangely satisfying to take rice off the hob when it’s nearly done, wrap the pan in a towel and place it under cushions or blankets on the sofa – my DIY haybox. The rice gets beautifully done and my gas bill is a bit reduced. Just need to remember to warn my partner not to sit on the sofa…
I could be saving even more energy by getting or building an actual haybox! This little book gives me enough information to do so. My only little complaint with it is the number of typos which could have been edited out but they do not detract from the valuable content within, which is clear and illustrated with helpful pictures.
If you’d be interested in a workshop on haybox making, drop us a line as we’re planning to arrange one. In the meantime, Seggy and Jane have kindly agreed to take part in our Introducing Eco Homes event on Sunday 24th September where they’ll demonstrate their cookers – including solar cookers and rocket stoves (one of which is for sale at nominal price). Come along to meet them and quiz them about fireless cooking and other ways in which they lead a happy, low carbon life.
We will also be selling their book at the Environment Centre for £5, £1 of which goes to fund ‘fireless cooking’ educational projects in Africa.