Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Recycle electricity and gas

What if I told you it was possible to recycle the energy (fuel) you use for cooking your food?  I’m talking about recycling gas, electric, wood,  propane, or any other type energy used for cooking.  What if I told you that you could reuse the same fuel over and over and over again?

Are you convinced I’ve lost my mind?  Well I haven’t.  I’m quite serious.  My Grandma Mama taught me how to recycle the energy a long, long time ago and I simply forgot to keep doing it when I grew up.  I regret that decision now.  Grandma Mama learned it when she had to cope with rationing.  I believe she learned it during WW1 and continued using it during and after WW2.

Maybe  you want to know the secret to recycling energy too?  How is it possible?  Ok, I’ll show you.  For this demonstration I’m simply using water.  I wanted to hurry with photos and water was fastest to get to a boil.  It really does work for cooking food too.  I have a gas stove so that’s what I’m using.  Here’s the first use of the gas.  Simple enough.  A pot of water boiling.

First use of gas

First use of gas

Here is the second and third use of the SAME gas.  You see the steam coming up?  The top pot is just starting to simmer.  There’s no photo of the second pot but the second pot is boiling too.   It’s not necessary to get each separate pot boiling before adding the next one because you want to capture the heat as it rises.  Stack them from the beginning.  The pot on the bottom will be the first food finished so remove it and set the next pot on the heat.

Second and third use of the same gas as it's recycled

Second and third use of the same gas as it’s recycled

Do you see how the same energy is used again with the second pot and again with the third pot?  So do you want to see me recycle the same energy to cook even more foods? I don’t have anymore stacking pots but I have these.

Still recycling the gas for even more uses

Still recycling the gas for even more uses

There you go.  Two more uses of the same gas.  So that makes five times the exact same gas can be used to cook something.  I could even stretch it to a sixth one by tying something inside the lid of the steamer top.  With some experimenting it may be possible to recycle even more than six times?

Can you see the logic of this technique?  Why would you have all four burners going at once to cook a meal when one will do?  I’m not saying everyone should go to these extremes for recycling fuel.  I’m simply demonstrating the process.  Maybe you would only stack two pots on two burners.  That’s a fuel recycle savings too isn’t it?  Anyone who is serious about saving money can use this method.  Even only once in awhile will save a little.

It could be a useful technique if your income is suddenly reduced  and you are searching for ways to drastically cut expenses.  It would be good for an emergency situation too.   Suppose you are without power from a natural disaster and you are using a rocket stove or maybe a hobo cook stove or a grill.  What if your fuel is limited and you are not sure how long what you have must last.  You could make coffee at the same time you boil eggs or make oatmeal and heat a soup for dinner.

With some thoughts we can probably come up with lots of combinations of stack-able cooking.  Care to share your ideas?  Future readers may appreciate the ideas if they are left in the comments.



4 comments on “Recycle electricity and gas

  1. Linda Smith
    June 23, 2015

    Your Grandma Mama was one smart cookie (and so is her grandaughter). I have an electric stove and to cook macaroni or rice I cover the pot as soon as it starts to boil & turn off the heat. It takes about 8 minutes for macaroni & about 15 for rice. The trick is to not lift the lid too soon or you lose the steam. So no peeking.

    • Na Na
      June 25, 2015

      Great idea. I’m going to give that a try too. Thanks.

  2. susan rizzi
    July 3, 2013

    This blog made me think about a pot that I have in my pantry and haven’t used in years. It was my grandmothers and my mother can remember her mother cooking dinner with it every night for a family of 9. It is speckled aluminum or steel and the bottom pot holds water, The second and third pots have a sort of venting pipe in them that allows steam from the pot below to enter. My mother (who is 95) said that my grandmother would put potatoes in one pot, vegetables in another and meat in the last one. She doesn’t remember the exact order. I have often wanted to research this pot on line but keep forgetting about it. I mainly kept it for sentimental reasons but after reading your post, now think I really do need to search it out online and see if I can figure out how to use it and find some “recipes”.

    • Na Na
      July 4, 2013

      Oh how exciting! I sure wish I could have one of those. I would love to see a picture. It sounds like it might be a metal version of a Chinese steamer? Does it look like that? If this is true then you can find recipes in some cookbooks for steaming. Back in the rationing days steaming food was considered better because you didn’t loose nutrients in water and the food shrank less. Every bit of the nutrients and bulk needed to be put inside stomachs in order to prevent starvation. Even cooking water was saved and used again (stock) or chilled and drank like a beverage. Susan please let me know what you find out about your pot.

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on June 28, 2013 by in ENERGY SAVINGS TIPS.

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