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Discover Thermos Cooking as a Preparedness Tool | PreparednessMama

May 5, 2014

Discover Thermos Cooking as a Preparedness Tool | PreparednessMama.

The lowly thermos. Do you have one? I’m not talking about the kind of thermos we had in our lunch box as a kid – no breakable glass lining. These new ones are heavier and stainless steel lined. Your thermos can be a real work horse around the home and an even more important ally in an emergency.

Not just for coffee...use thermos cooking as a preparedness tool | PreparednessMama

Thermos cooking is not cooking on the stove and then using it to keep your food warm (or cold).  A good quality thermos is useful for more than just keeping beverages. While, there is certainly something more high tech that you can use to cook your food, a thermos is a handy tool to have around for emergency cooking during power outages.

Your thermos also works well on hot days when you don’t want to get the kitchen heated up. Just heat up the inside of the thermos and get cookin’.

Tip: Choose one with a wide mouth so it’s easier to get food in and out again.

Thermos Cooking – Energy and Time Saving

In a real emergency, where we have no power, I can boil water on the wood stove; place the water and a cup of grains in the thermos to cook and voila! On regular cooking days I like to use my electric kettle to heat water. Boiling water in under 3 minutes. You can’t beat that!

There are several fabulous reasons to try cooking in a thermos:

  • You don’t have to watch the food or stir it, but feel free to take a quick peek inside once or twice; it isn’t going to release enough heat to cause a problem.
  • Thermos cooking saves time
  • Thermos cooking saves money
  • Saves fuel
  • It’s hard to overcook foods in a thermos
  • You can’t burn it. Just set the timer and continue with dinner prep or go relax for a few minutes.

Thermos Cooking Directions

Choose a quality metal thermos that will retain enough heat to cook food.  Thermos Stainless King 40-Ounce Beverage Bottle

  1. Preheat the thermos. Heat water to boiling and fill your thermos for about 5 minutes. This step is really important and you should not skip it. It is the key to your thermos cooking success.
  2. While the thermos is preheating, measure your ingredients for cooking. After 5 minutes pour out the water or use it for something else.
  3. Measure and boil more water, then add your ingredients and pour the water in as quickly as you can. I use a canning funnel to help pour the ingredients into the thermos.
  4. Once you’ve poured all your ingredients into the thermos, close it up, but don’t screw it down so tight it’s hard to open later. Trust me on this!
  5. Give it a good shake and place your thermos on its side for the suggested cooking time. Why on its side? More surface area helps it to cook evenly.
  6. Give it a shake every so often – for extended cooking times of 45 minutes – shake it every 10-15 minutes until the water is absorbed. You will hear and feel a difference when it is done.
  7. Open and enjoy!

More recipes and how to videos can be found at

According to Carolyn Shearlock on her Thermos Cooking Page at “The Boat Galley” you should:

Beware of inexpensive plastic “insulated bottles” – while they may keep coffee warm for an hour, they simply don’t hold heat well enough to use for Thermos cooking. They also stain and pick up odors from the foods in them.

Carolyn’s post about the 11 key points for successful thermos cooking is a must read if you want to begin using this wonderful resource in your home. She has fantastic recipes on the website and cooking suggestion times for most the popular thermos cook-able foods.

Side note: I just love this website The Boat Galley! If you really want to test your preparedness skills, go live on the ocean and see how well you do. Carolyn has some excellent tips for being prepared, cooking in small spaces, and making due when you are far from a store.  I can apply that to everyday, how about you?

The Boat Galley Cookbook: 800 Everyday Recipes and Essential Tips for Cooking Aboard

Quinoa Thermos Cooking Recipe
Ratio: 1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid
Salt: to taste – try 1/3 teaspoon per cup of quinoa to start
Cooking Time: 45 minutes (approx.)

Pasta Thermos Cooking Recipe
Ratio: 2-3 servings of pasta to enough water to fill your thermos
Salt: a pinch
Cooking Time: 10 minutes (approx.)

Thermos Cooking is Versatile

Thermos cooking works best for single item foods (think rice or oatmeal) that require you to cook in liquid. Experiment with the following beginning items:

  • Rice – any kind will work, white or brown, as long as it doesn’t need to be browned first
  • Rolled oats, buckwheat, and other cereals
  • Quinoa, Wheat, Kamut and any other whole grains
  • Pasta (cooks quickly)
  • Soak and cook dried beans
  • Reconstituting dried and freeze-dried foods

Once you feel comfortable with the process and know the capacity of your thermos, try adding an additional step – brown the meat and learn to make soups, stews, chili and spaghetti sauce. Basically, any recipe you can use in a crock pot can be adapted to thermos cooking.

33 Easy Thermos Lunch Recipes for make ahead and serve hot meal ideas. This is not technically thermos cooking as I’m defining it, but the recipes are nutritious. I’ve tried several of them on my husband and he approves.

You can purchase a good thermos at most any store that sells housewares. The cost for a quality bottle should be somewhere in the $25 range. Amazon has several sizes available: Thermos’ available on Amazon


From → bob, cooking, equipment, stoves

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