Many preparedness-minded people with a food storage pantry will have (among other things) a quantity of dry food storage including rice. An issue with cooking rice though, is that it requires a substantial amount of fuel (heat) energy to cook (boil-simmer) to soften the grains such that you can actually eat it.
If you’re in a situation where you’re trying to conserve your fuel (e.g. power outage while utilizing a camp stove, a SHTF collapse, etc..), then this method of cooking rice will save LOTS of fuel by eliminating the relatively long time needed on a stove burner, etc..
The good news is that I’ve found a way to cook rice with just a fraction of the fuel energy needed compared to conventional cooking methods of boiling and simmering…
UPDATE: New article about a bigger thermal cooker, Thermal Slow Cooker by Thermos
How To Cook Rice With A Thermos
I recently tried this, and it worked very well.
1. Heat a quantity of water to boiling.
2. Add the boiling water to a high quality insulated thermos.
3. Add rice.
4. Close thermos and wait several hours.
The only fuel energy consumed is that which is required to get your small pot of water to boil. That’s it. Then shut off the heat!
The thermos I chose to use will hold 6 cups of water. When I first tried the experiment, I only added 1 cup of boiling water to 1/4-cup of rice. I discovered that there was not enough heat energy in the one cup of water to do the job (the rice was partially cooked after many hours, however still too crunchy).
Next, I nearly filled the thermos with boiling water and added a fresh 1/4-cup of rice. After 5 hours passed (I had forgotten about it), I checked and discovered the rice was very well cooked (too much in fact)!
While I have yet to determine the perfect formula (which will vary depending on how much rice you’re trying to cook), the proof of concept is intact. It works!
Note: You will need to plan ahead (many hours ahead) with your rice.
For this method to work successfully, it is VERY important that you use a well designed thermos with a double-walled vacuum seal – which will hold the heat for a longer period of time. A cheap plastic thermos will not work.
After researching a bit, this is the thermos that I chose. It has a wide mouth (easier for food) and will hold enough boiling water (48-ounces) to provide a reservoir of long lasting heat. The thermos (insulation) design is of stainless steel walls separated by airless space (under a vacuum).
All it takes to cook my rice now is a few minutes of fuel to get my water boiling – and that’s it…
As I try more quantities of rice and check the process for time required, I will come back to this post and update with results (e.g. how much for 1 cup of rice until cooked well enough, etc.)
The thermos cooked rice must have smelled so good that my mini Dachshund came out of nowhere and almost got it while I was holding the bowl of rice for the picture (above)…
UPDATE: It had been awhile since I used this method to cook rice, but just did it again…
The thermos listed above is the perfect size to cook 1 cup of rice!
I first filled the thermos with water (to know exactly how much I needed to boil). I then dumped the water into a pot to boil.
I then added one cup of (brown rice this time) into the thermos.
After the water came to a boil (about 5 minutes) I dumped it into the thermos over the rice. The thermos took ‘almost’ all the water.
After securing the lid and 8 hours later (I prepared the rice at 10:30AM and had dinner at 6:30PM) I was happy to see that the rice had cooked very well and expanded to fill the thermos perfectly.
I dumped out the rice and strained the remaining water.
The rice was mushy and next time I will try to remember and do a 6 hour slow-cook.
Here are some pictures: