01 December 2012

Warm Things without the Microwave

I love Warm Things.

In our house, that’s a proper noun which describes a particular object, not a general class of items. A Warm Thing is one of those fabric bags filled with barley or rice or some such substance, which you normally heat in the microwave along with a glass of water (it needs moist heat, or else the barley pops like popcorn and smells weird).

We’re keeping the thermostat pretty low these days: we have the woodstove(s) to keep things warm and wood is free but natural gas is not, so we start the fire in the morning and let it help keep the house warm during the day. Still, at bedtime or periodically through the day I feel chilly anyhow, and I want to do something about that.  I am making conscious efforts to keep my body warm this winter: my friend suggested that perhaps part of the reason I have so little energy in the winter is that I may be dealing with low level joint pain, and it’s a good theory. Particularly since my acupuncturist also says I need to be warmer (more spicy foods, more warm tea).

In addition to the kettle that stays on the stove all day now, we also have a big pot of water. The house gets really dry in the winter and the extra humidity is welcome. I realized, though, that I could use the pot to warm up a Warm Thing. It’s easy: just put a cooling rack over the top of the pot, lay the Warm Thing on the rack, and plunk a large bowl over the whole shebang. Inside the bowl it’s nice and steamy and the Warm Thing heats up nice and quick with good moist heat.

So there you go; another way to stay warm this winter, without using any electricity or natural gas to do so!


  1. Our Warm Things (one of which is almost half as long as I am) are filled with flax seed. Popless, I think. Long lasting. But we do keep them away from direct contact with the stove surface or bottom of the Dutch oven. We found a matching pair of huge iron trivets at a thrift store and they get a lot of use.

  2. Anonymous8:31 pm

    These are essential, especially in winter and all year! It works much better if the one you use is a gift from the Boy at Apple Jack Creek! Rates right up there with an IPOD that says, to Gram, love, "the boy"!
    Thank you Boy!

  3. And what's the best way to warm them without a microwave AND without a wood stove? I haven't had luck yet with the oven.

  4. Glad you still use yours, mom!
    Ev, same trick, just put the pot on the stovetop: boil water with a rack / warm thing / bowl over the stove burner. The woodstove is just handy cause we always have water on there, but it isn't necessary. :)

  5. Thanks, I'll try that. I'm resisting the urge to buy another microwave, especially since ours seem to have such a short life.


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