The Perfect Small Thermos

I use a small Themos frequently – almost every day, in fact – for soaking dried beans, cooking rice without adding a lot of heat to the boat and my favorite, making yogurt.

The problem has always been in finding one that retained heat well when there’s only a small quantity of hot stuff inside. Many that I’ve tried over the years just cooled down too fast to do what I wanted.

Several years ago, inspired by how good my Thermos-Nissan coffee bottles were, I got this small Thermos-Nissan food jar. It’s really designed for taking soups or cold foods as part of lunch, but it has worked perfectly for rice, beans and yogurt:

  • It holds two cups – just the right size for a batch of yogurt that will last me three days (see the basic recipe and technique here – I use a scant cup of Nido powdered milk, water to fill within a 1/2” of the neck, and a half tablespoon of yogurt from the last batch). Learn how to make yogurt here – it’s easy!
  • Great for hot soaking/precooking dried beans – use between 1/2 and 2/3 cup of dried beans and fill with boiling water (don’t use more beans than that as they swell considerably as they soak). After several hours, drain the water off (throw it away – it’s carrying away the indigestible carbs that make beans gassy) and fill with more boiling water. Read more about no-gas beans.
  • I love it for rice, too – “minute” brown rice cooks in 30 minutes just by pouring the boiling water over the rice and then capping it. See more of how to do it here.
It holds heat for more than 10 hours. Beans that have been soaking most of the day are hot when I open the Thermos! It’s a true vacuum insulated stainless bottle. Vacuum insulated have the best heat-retention (see more about types of insulated bottles) and stainless is perfect for boats as it’s unbreakable.

It even looks nice sitting out on the counter . . . and with no handle to get in the way, it’s easy to find a secure place to wedge it underway.

The small scraper in the photo is the perfect size for getting every last bit of food out (a regular sized scraper is slightly too large and will get chewed up on the stainless lip) and I find that a wide-mouth collapsible canning funnel is really helpful when I want to pour hot food into the Thermos (good for Thermos cooking). I bought all three on Amazon:

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  • Jim Allen
    Posted at 08 December 2015 Reply

    I bought one and LOVE it. I use it for taking my hot lunch to work!!!

  • Dave Skolnick (S/V Auspicious)
    Posted at 08 December 2015 Reply

    Off topic perhaps: you use powdered milk. I use UHT. How about a compare and contrast article?

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 08 December 2015 Reply

      Both work equally well for yogurt. Using good powdered milk saves a lot of weight and space, but there’s no difference in the final product. If you like thicker yogurt than the UHT milk makes (that is, if you want more of a “Greek yogurt” consistency), add a little powdered milk to the UHT.

  • Todd R. Townsend
    Posted at 08 December 2015 Reply

    When you make a solid recommendation that fits my galley as well as this, I go straight to Amazon and order it. Thanks.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 08 December 2015 Reply

      Glad to hear it! I meant to write about this a while back — it has been great for me!

  • El
    Posted at 16 September 2016 Reply

    When I follow your link I end up with: Thermos Sipp 16 Ounce Stainless Steel Food Jar made by Thermos. The text says: Thermax double wall vacuum insulation for maximum temperature retention: keeps contents hot for 7 hours, keeps cold for 9 hours. What’s wrong here?

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 16 September 2016 Reply

      That is the one I have. Not sure why they say it stays hot for 7 hours, as I’ve had food stay hot for 10 to 12 hours. Maybe underpromising?

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