miércoles, 17 de febrero de 2016

Wonderbag Non-Electric Portable Slow Cooker with Recipe Cookbook, Red Batik

This just arrived yesterday and today was only my first use. From what I can tell it does what it is supposed to do, though the instructions might not be completely clear.

"Best you know this" announces the back page of the included booklet, and the "Times" chart suggests that rice and grains need five minutes on the stove and at least 45 minutes in the bag. It would be clearer to understand that it means five minutes on the stove *after* bringing the rice to a boil. Expect at least 10 minutes, possibly more for larger quantities.

I brought a pot of short grain rice to a boil, then simmered for 5 minutes to be sure that the rice was heated through. I opened up the Wonderbag, put a dish towel in the bottom (since the rice had boiled over a bit) and put the pot on top of the towel. Then I covered the pot with another towel, put the Wonderbag lid on the pot, and closed up the bag. I set the timer for an hour.

After an hour I opened the bag (and got a blast of steam) and checked the temperature of the rice. It was over 182°F, definitely hot enough to cook a grain. The rice was cooked perfectly.

The exterior of the bag was cool to the touch, and the countertop under the bag was cool. The interior was very hot, which tells me that the bag insulation is doing a great job of retaining the heat.

Since my pots have long handles, I picked up two pots with short handles and tight fitting lids to use in this bag. A 2 quart pot and a tall 8 quart pot both fit in the bag (individually--not at the same time,) and it's easy to arrange the bag to fit around either pot.

With all this insulation the bag is LARGE. It's going to take up a lot of space when not in use. I'll probably air it out and store it in a garbage bag in a closet somewhere. There's no room in my kitchen for something this large.

There's also no way to wash the bag. You can spot clean it if something spills, but you can't toss the bag into the wash. Wrapping the pot up in clean dish towels is a very good idea.

The Wonderbag is big and bulky and takes up a lot of space, and it's difficult to clean. But it does what it is supposed to do. It saves energy and it's going to keep my kitchen cool in the summer. In a hot place that last reason is good enough for me.

02/04/2014 update: It turns out that storage hasn't been a problem. I never store this bag. It gets used almost daily, and when I'm done with it I drape it over a bar stool to air out. I've even left it there when friends visit--no one sits on the bar stools anyway, and it creates instant conversation.

I've made lots of different things with this bag, but my favorite is rice. With a pot on the stove or even a rice cooker, there's always an overcooked layer of rice stuck to the bottom. Not with the Wonderbag. I'm still amazed when I open the lid and the entire pot of rice is perfect. I cook rice in the bag for an hour, but I've left a pot of rice in the bag for nearly two hours once, and it was still very hot and not overcooked.

Two days ago I started some dried kidney beans just before bed. I boiled them for half an hour before putting them into the bag for exactly twelve hours. They were just slightly firm, so they could have cooked a little more, but even after 12 hours they were warm enough to serve. I'll probably soak the beans next time. (Thanks to David Garcia for reminding me to point out that kidney beans must be boiled for several minutes!)

I've got my share of impulse buys and kitchen gadgets that seemed like a great idea at the time and that never get used. This bag isn't one of those. It saves me money, since the stove and oven aren't on for hours; it's easy, because no stirring or attention are required at all; and it does a great job of cooking food for hours. It keeps food hot enough for long enough that I'm not worried about food safety. It's such a simple thing and a really great idea. Since my concern about storage has turned out to not be a problem, I guess I should upgrade my review to five stars.

10/25/2014 update: Some suggestions have been made in the comments. Here are a few:

yakoanders has washed the Wonderbag, but puts a dishtowel under the pot to keep the bag clean (comments page 1)

Someone suggested Scotchgard, but 3M said no, don't use it on the Wonderbag (comments page 1)

I pointed out that if you're going to buy this bag (or any other item) from Amazon, you can go to http://smile.amazon.com/ and have part of your purchase price donated to the charity of your choice (comments page 5)

HeartofAvalon has instructions for making yogurt (comments page 6)

I also loved Jeri P. Cary's answer to a question about storage space:

My storage solution might not work for everyone, but I just put it on the couch. It looks like a stylish round pillow. :-)


6/17/2015 update: Someone just reminded me of another advantage. I live in an area that has frequent power outages. Most of the time it's for a second or two, just enough to make all the clocks blink. Sometimes they last for hours.

I used to get home and wonder about the food in the crock pot. How long was it sitting on the counter without power? Is it fully cooked? Has it spoiled? I've tossed a few meals because it wasn't worth the risk.

Because the Wonderbag is just an insulated bag, this isn't a problem. The temperature when I open the bag is the coolest it's been all day. And if the power is still off when I get home, dinner is ready anyway. This probably isn't a problem for a lot of people, but here, especially in the summer, it's a regular thing.

Wonderbag Portable Slow Cooker with Recipe Cookbook, Red Batik

What's a Wonderbag?

Wonderbag is a simple but revolutionary non-electric, portable slow cooker. Wonderbag's clever insulation allows food that has been brought to the boil to continue slow cooking or warm while in the bag. No plugs. No Fuss. No electricity required, so it’s worry-free.

Slow Cooking with Wonderbag

Hearty Chipotle Chili
Slow Cooking with Wonderbag

To slow cook, simply bring food to a boil on a stove, let simmer (5 minutes for rice and grains, 15 minutes for root vegetables, meat or presoaked beans), then put the pot with lid into your Wonderbag, close tightly, and slow cook to perfection up to 12 hours. Because it is not on direct heat, it will never overcook or burn. Wonderbag is perfect for bringing delicious home cooked meals to potlucks, dinner parties, tailgating, or camping. It's perfect for holidays when stove and counter space are at a premium.

Powerless is Powerful

Powerless is powerful. Wonderbag isn’t just a powerless cooker; it’s an instrument for change. 3 billion women still cook over wood fires, a major source of health, environmental and socio-economic issues. By drastically reducing time spent cooking, the Wonderbag empowers women across Africa to participate in more activities outside of the home enhancing their quality of life. Using the Wonderbag helps save water, reduces the carbon footprint, minimizes deforestation, smoke inhalation diseases and deaths. One Wonderbag per year saves 1.7 trees, 1000 liters of water and 1,248 hours of time not spent collecting firewood. For every Wonderbag purchased in the US, one is donated to a family in need in Africa.

Hearty Chipotle Chili

Ingredients: 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey. 1 small onion, chopped. 1 medium red or green bell pepper, chopped. 1 garlic clove, finely chopped. 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper. 1 can (28 ounces) of crushed tomatoes. 1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained. 3.5 cups of beef stock. Directions: Cook ground beef, onion, red pepper and garlic in 4-quart saucepan, stirring occasionally, until beef is browned and vegetables are tender. Stir ibeef stock - Beef and chipotle chile pepper until stock is melted. Stir in tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until heated through. This takes about 15 minutes. Place your lidded pot in the Wonderbag for for a minimum of 1 hours and up to 4 hours for flavors to mingle. Serve, if desired, with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and/or chopped cilantro.

Perfectly Fluffy Rice or Grains

Directions: Add 1 cup of rice (white or brown), barley, bulgur wheat or quinoa to 2 cups broth and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Put in Wonderbag for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Powerless is Powerful
Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients: 2 diced onions. 3 tablespoons of olive oil. 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced. 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme. 4 cups broth. Directions: Saute 2 diced onions with oil on medium high heat for 5 minutes in large pot. Add butternut squash, and broth. Boil for 5 minutes. Add thyme. Put lidded pot into Wonderbag for at least 2 hours. Blend. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Best You Know This

Use with copper, steel, aluminum, enameled cast iron, or glassware pots in standard sizes with short handles and tight fitting lid. Use the right sized pot for the food you want to cook in order to best retain heat.
Bring all food to a boil before putting into a Wonderbag. For best results keep bag and pot closed for the entire cooking time.
Hand wash, hang dry. Use a dishtowel in the base of the Wonderbag to protect it from spills.
There is no evaporation when cooking, so use less liquid than you otherwise would. If using alcohol in your recipe, allow it to boil off for 5 minutes before placing in Wonderbag.
Please note: Wonderbag will arrive vacuum sealed and must be fluffed up before first usage.

  • Eco-friendly slow cooking. No plugs, no fuss: Slow cooks your food, unplugged, by retaining the heat from an initial simmer on the stove
  • Electricity free and worry free. Away at work or play? Keep your dish cooking for up to 12 hours without electricity, ready-to-serve when you are. No overcooking, no burning. Great for beach outings, potlucks, BBQ's, camping, or entertaining - anywhere, anytime, any occasion
  • Stress free holidays. Perfect for the holidays when stove and counter space are at a premium. Many uses: keeps items cold or frozen, too!
  • Buy One, Donate One. For every Wonderbag purchased in the US, one is donated to a family in need in Africa. One Wonderbag per year saves 1.7 trees, 1000 liters of water, 1,248 hours not spent collecting firewood
  • Fits your home. Works with 2-9 Quart pots with short handles and lid; metal and cast iron work best