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Towel cooking is the simplest way for most people to do Fireless cooking, either to save fuel, electricity and reduce emissions, or for convenience.

Place a towel on the kitchen bench or table. Choose a safe spot. Never use textile towels near a gas stove!

Any towel can work;[1] but the bigger and thicker the towel is, the better the insulation and the more effective the cooking will be. For additional insulation, place a thick and flat piece of hardwood, a heatmat or trivet under the towel, where the pot will sit.

Preboil water in an electric water kettle. Pour the hot water into a pot or pan on a hotplate or stove. This will bring the pot quickly to a simmer. Pour the food that you want to boil into the pot and put a lid on very quickly. A lid on a cooker and sauce pan should fit tight to retain the steam and heat inside for maximum efficiency.

Remove from the heat to the towel. Wrap the towel around the pot tightly. Be careful so you not burn your hands.

Pressure cooker safety tip[edit | edit source]

If the cooker is blowing steam, wait until it stops, so you don't scald yourself when wrapping it in the towel (or distract yourself by avoiding the steam, and make a different error). Be very careful, as the cooker can be well over boiling point. And before you use this cooker next time, examine the lid in case it is dented or damaged. A lid on a cooker and sauce pan should fit tight to retain the steam and heat inside for maximum efficiency.

Add box for better heat retention[edit | edit source]

For longer cooking times, place a cardboard box or airtight metal box up-side-down over the pot, with its towel still on. Be very careful, do not shake or tip the pot! Close the box up tight for best effect. And the box should be fitting as close as possible around the pot so the volume of air is not too big.

This method has many steps and it can take quite a long time to perfect, so for even better efficiency you could maybe even change the type of food that you eat, for examples on some simpler versions of towel cooking see the project: Updated cooking methods in modern kitchens

Beans[edit | edit source]

Beans should be kept at boiling for a few minutes before placing in any kind of fireless cooker. This is especially true for kidney beans and chickpeas, which should be boiled for 20-45 minutes. If not properly cooked, they can retain toxins, and can even cause food poisoning.

Pre-soaking beans for between 6-24 hours in cool water reduces the cooking needs slightly, and is likely to improve the destruction of the toxins. See Cooking beans for details.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Even a tea towel draped over the pot will have some effect. In warm weather, the pot will continue cooking for a short while even without being wrapped. However wrapping in a full sized towel will work much better.

See also[edit | edit source]

FA info icon.svgAngle down icon.svgPage data
Keywords cookers, cooking, energy efficiency, food preparation, green living, thermal insulation, construction
SDG SDG02 Zero hunger, SDG07 Affordable and clean energy
Authors Chris Watkins
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 5 pages link here
Impact 1,321 page views
Created June 10, 2010 by Chris Watkins
Modified October 23, 2023 by Maintenance script
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