Cooking Outside with a “Hay Box”

Bird Feeder

Black Collared Barbet

Some visitors came and ate lunch at the bird-feeders today, this is a Black Collared Barbet.

Crested Barbet

Crested Barbet1

 Crested Barbet

Hay Box


Hay Box1

Jen, Caiden and Erin cooked dinner outside today, the exciting part was that Jen showed us how to use a “Hay Box” to cook the rice. She learnt about it at scouts on one of her camps. All you need is a box, a black box would be better as it attracts and traps heat from the sun but we worked with what we had and it worked just fine. A good time to start would be when the sun is high in the sky, midday.

Line the base of the box with a thick blanket, then add newspaper so that it will surround and cover the pot once it’s placed in the box and then another blanket is placed on top of the newspaper which is covering and surrounding the pot.

First boil the water in a pot on the stove, once the water is boiling, add rice and take your boiling pot outside and place it inside the newspaper in the hay box. Really surround the pot with plenty of newspaper and do it quickly so that not too much heat is lost. Then cover everything with a thick blanket so that it’s nice and snug.

Hay Box2

Hay Box3

Close the lid tight and leave the box in direct sunlight. On a hot day, it should  cook within a few hours. Check on the rice once or twice, not too often, as the heat will escape.

Hay Box4

Jen and Kye repositioning the box into direct sunlight later this afternoon.

Cooked Rice

When she opened the box after approx 3 hours, there was plenty of condensation, heat and the rice was cooked.


Caiden preparing the veggies for the stew that he is going to cook.

Potjie Pot

Potjie pot and stand.

Box Fire

Box firewood for cooking.

(PS Erin and Jen decorated their white sneakers with fabric Sharpie pens, I’ll post about that soon).




A lovely stew with rice has been made for dinner, I can’t wait to try it tonight! What a wonderful afternoon spent outside!

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2 Responses to Cooking Outside with a “Hay Box”

  1. Lise June 25, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    What a fantastic afternoon you all had! I bet it tasted delicious.

    You have a really lovely lifestyle – I envy you your weather and outdoor space, but I am sure with a bit of creativity, we could do something outdoors. But I don’t think we would ever be able to cook using the sun here in the UK!

  2. K June 28, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    Funny. We are having the hottest weather ever here – over 100 degrees for four days in a row. Unusual and not welcome. I am reading this and having to force myself to remember how delicious the smell of that hot stew on a cold or cool late autumn (winter is ice and snow for us) day would be. But I’m also seeing the virtues of keeping all the heat outside in this weather. Rachel posted once about cooking with metal reflectors, using only the sun. I can’t remember how that turned out –

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