We all know wonder ovens keep things hot for extended periods of time, however it’s useful to know they also keep things cool, even frozen in the very same way!
As an example of this, last summer our family took a road trip at which at one point – going from point “A” to point “B”– we knew we were going to be arriving to a family reunion the very same night our family had been assigned to make dinner for the group. We wouldn’t have time to visit a store, so before leaving we picked up frozen hamburger patties and packed them in the wonder oven to travel with us. Once we’d arrived and were ready to make dinner, a full 12 hours later, we pulled the hamburger patties from the wonder oven to use and they were still rock hard frozen. Of course we gathered a group from the family together (those kind enough to indulge me in my thrill of all things wonder oven) and oohed and ahhed at the “wow” of these pillows!!
Keep Frozen Foods Frozen
For this reason, having a wonder oven is extremely useful for many reasons. If you’re freezer went out for whatever reason, you could save some of your food from perishing by simply bundling it up in your wonder oven pillows. The more pillows you have on hand, the more food you could save!
In keeping things frozen, another use for them is to keep either a set of pillows with it’s container (if you have room) or just a single pillow –with a way to secure it around your food– in the back end of your vehicle to keep ice cream and frozen foods frozen on your way home from the grocery store. Here in TX, everyone knows ice cream is the last item you buy when grocery shopping, just to be able to get it home before it melts! With a wonder oven pillow on hand, you don’t have to worry — you can even go run a few errands afterward — the ice cream will stay frozen.
Keep Cold Foods Cold
Another application, one that I use a lot, is in using my wonder oven pillows (here in the Texas heat) to keep things cool. Simply by wrapping up the food in one of the pillows, keeping the food surrounded by the insulating beads within the pillow, foods such as lunch meats and cheese can be kept cool for hours (all day if needed) for picnics, etc. It’s so easy and it doesn’t even require a container!
Usually, if we’re going out and we know we’ll have easy access to the car, I’ll just keep the pillows inside the plastic tote and fill it up with what we’ll need that way. Sometimes however, you’re not planning to be anywhere near your car when you know you’ll need the food you’ve packed (and the tote is too huge to carry) so in that case I’ve used just a single pillow to lessen the bulk, and it works the very same. This idea alone is one reason I think using less beads (as opposed to some wonder ovens/ wonder boxes that stand on their own rather than needing a container) is preferable — it’s so convenient to take along like this!
We just used them again to keep our sandwich goods cool last weekend while at my kids’ swim meet. I didn’t want to buy lunch while we were out all day, so I just wrapped the cheese and meat for sandwiches up in one of the smaller pillows, securing it with large safety pins. It kept everything exactly as cool as they were when I pulled them out of the fridge and we made sandwiches when we wanted to about 4 hours later. You could also add a few strips of velcro if you wanted, rather than using pins.
How it Works
As far as the pillows are concerned, it only requires (from what I’ve tested) about two inches of “barrier” to insulate anything effectively whether it be hot or cold. (Btw, just for your information hot boiling water has been tested to stay hot and boiling in a wonder oven between 15-18 hours.) Now of course if you open the pillows at any point and “peek” you’re going to lose heat/cold, so that’s a key to keep in mind.
Also, many times I’ll have people ask me details about the plastic totes they should buy, how thick the plastic should be, etc. This example of using it entirely without a container demonstrates that it isn’t about the container at all. The only thing the container does is “contain” and create the barrier, pressing the beads together. Any way you use it, so long as you keep your food securely “tucked in” to the pillows without disturbing the insulating barrier, the temperature it went in with will be the same later when you pull it out!
Try it out! You’ll love using your Wonder Oven to keep foods cool this summer!
Wonder Oven Patterns
I’m still very happy to send patterns out to anyone who wants one. I got behind over the last three weeks, so to all those who’ve requested one most recently, they’re (finally) going out in the mail today to you. From this point forward, I’ll be moving to a once a month mailing schedule. Over the last three weeks I’ve had 22 requests (SO great!!) but with life and all happening I don’t have time to go to the post office so often. I’ll mail this recent batch out today and then the next month’s worth of requests will be mailed out July 1st.
Just send me an email, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like a free pattern to make one yourself!
You can visit this post to hear a radio show all about Wonder Ovens and cooking with them, including the details about the beads needed to make them and where I originally found them to buy! As a post note, an online source has since been discovered for the beads, found here.
Lastly, another option, if you’re not wanting to sew them, is to buy a set already made. You can expect to pay somewhere in the ballpark of $60-$80 with shipping, where as if you make it yourself it’ll work out to $20-ish (per two pillow set). A friend of mine sells them HERE and another blogger I know sells them HERE.