Review of the Wonderbag
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After many discussions on the sailing forums, I decided to order one. It is a non-electric retention cooker. What that means is, you first heat the food to boiling. You then place the pan, lid and all in the bag, cover it with the top cushion and pull the draw strings tightly shut. The recipes will tell you how long to leave the food in the bag.
Before Using, When The Bag Arrives
When the bag arrives it is vacuum packed and the foam must be allowed to expand. You take it out of the plastic and shake it to loosen the foam pieces. Then you simply pull the drawstrings closed and wait for the foam to expand, about an hour. Now, your bag is ready to use.
Okay, Ready to Try It Out!!!
Trying it in my kitchen first seemed like a good idea. If I ruined the food at home we could go out to eat. If I tried it out on the boat, there would be no lunch. Also, my plan was to keep a close eye on the temperature. This would be easier at home. I used this thermometer so I didn’t have to keep opening it up to take the temperature.
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Advantages of Non-Electric
I could see the benefit of not using all our stored solar power to run a crockpot. A crockpot running for 8-10 hours is a real drain on the solar batteries. Cooking while the boat is heeling is a real pain. This way I could get it to boiling, put it in the bag and sit it safely in the sink. In the sink it couldn’t tip over or spill.
My First Time Using the Bag
I decided to make the Beef Stew. I put all the ingredients in a heavy ceramic dutch oven pan, then brought it to a boil. The cookbook that came with the Wonderbag said to let it sit for a minimum of 4 hours. I checked the temperature throughout the cooking process. At no time did it drop below 135 degrees, which is considered a safe temperature for food.
After five hours we served the Beef Stew with cooked rice. It was really good. Everything in the pan had continued to cook while in the bag. I was actually surprised. I was expecting either raw food or food poisoning. We had neither of them. Next time I will use a few more seasonings than it called for. That will not change the cooking of it but will make it more to our liking.
Now I See the Benefits
For sailboats this means cooking without gas or electric. It also means one cooking utensil to wash. You will mix and cook it all in one pan. I also love the idea that I can put it safely in the kitchen sink, knowing that when I come below, food will not be all over the walls. When we are out on the boat I want to be on deck enjoying myself not below cooking. Cooking this way only takes a few minutes to bring it to a boil. I do not have to be below stirring.
This really is a great way to cook onboard. The Wonderbag folds, taking up no more room than a towel.
These reviews are not paid for in any way. Our opinions are not for sale. If we don’t like something we will tell you why. We purchase the products, which means we are not in anyway compensated for our review.