Friday, September 9, 2011

Questions about heating vessels

A few questions came out of yesterday's post on evaporation!

What are the jars in this picture? These are 500 ml wide mouth mason jars (okay, technically they're Bernardin 500 ml wide mouth jars, but you get the idea). I find they are a great choice because I can cram quite a few of them into my awesome double boiler and they are designed to take the heat. I will warn you, though, they can break if you let them touch the bottom of your pot for too long, so get yourself a $2 wire rack they can sit on the bottom on what jars would consider luxury and they'll last longer.

This is a great time of year to get boxes of jars on sale. I suggest them for both heating and holding your products as well as storage. Get some of those plastic lids and you have a nice storage system for your lotions and potions. (Just be careful using glass around the bathtub!)

As an aside, have you seen the new Pyrex jug shape? They're trying to emulate the OXO slanty ones that make it possible to see the measurements through the container. I like them for cooking, but they are awful for product making as I can only get one of them into the pot! So more Mason jars for me! 

What is the appliance in this picture? This is a Rival electric fondue pot. I fill it up with water, put the switch to 400˚F until it's boiling, then reduce it and heat my ingredients in it. It's awesome because I'm not tied to the stove and I can control the temperatures. As you can see, it's not small - no, no, no! - as it can contain an 8 cup (2 litre) Pyrex jug easily.

This is a great time of year to be able to purchase one of these as they seem to more plentiful around Christmas. I have three of them - two for making products and one for actual fondue (do-it-yourself tempura party at my place!). I think they're about $45 and I think my family bought my last one at London Drugs, but I've seen them at Home Outfitters, Linens & Things (I think they're gone now?), Bed, Bath & Beyond, and larger retailers like that. I have scoured the thrift stores for something like this, but I have never ever found one.

They're non-stick, so you could actually heat a shampoo bar in the pot instead of using the double boiler or water method, but there's all that cleaning up to do of the pot before you can move on to the next project instead of just cleaning one container while another project is heating and holding!

Is it just me or does every Simpsons' fan call it Bloodbath & Beyond? I can't help myself! 

Why do you have three things heating in the pot? I'm not really sure. I'm guessing one was for a different project because I don't think I've ever had three phases for the heating phase! There's the oil phase, the water phase, and the ??? phase here. I think I set it up to take this picture. Just like I wouldn't heat and hold with the spoons in the container. At the very least, the spoons get really really hot!

Join me tomorrow for more question-y fun!


Hairolic said...

Hi Susan,

This question isn't in regards to the above topic, but is Borax illegal to use in the UK/EU cosmetics. I personally wouldn't use it because of what I have read about it. I see a few companies using it and I am finding conflicting information some places says its ok to use in cosmetics and some and others not.

Im quite concerned people may be selling illegal products.


Kathy said...

Susan - I found one on an auction site for cheap - but question - can the circular part that has notches in it for the forks - can that be removed? Your picture doesn't show the notched ring. Thanks.

Leman said...

Hi Susan,

What about a hand mixer? What sort of hand mixer and what WATT would you recommend? How about milk frothers for mixing small portions? I sometimes use a milk frother but it stops mixing as soon as the lotion/body butter turns a soup consistency! I don't know may be the one I use is not powerful enough.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Hairolic. I have no idea - I'm in Canada. Perhaps I can write this up as a post tomorrow and ask our UK readers to offer some information?

Hi Kathy. The ring just kind of balances on top of the pot, so yes, I can take mine off. I don't want to guarantee you can take it off the one on the auction site, but all three of mine have been easily removable (in fact, it kinda falls of when we're having fondue!).

Hi Leman. That's tomorrow's post! And I've changed the subject of this post to reflect that! (I had hoped to write on both topics, but would have been very late for work!)

Jenny said...

Hi Susan,
Where can one buy a wire rack? It sounds more stable than the metal ring idea but I can't seem to find either one at my dollar store or Walmart. Do you think this rack on Amazon would work?
Thanks so much!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

That metal rack looks awesome! That's exactly what I mean! If you can get one that isn't too expensive, you are set for quite some time. (I will mention that I often don't bother with a rack, especially when I'm using plastic containers, but I've had Pyrex and mason jars break on me!)

Miss E. said...

Silly question, and on an older post no less, but I've been slaving over a makeshift double boiler on a gas stove with my heating and holding. I'm looking at a three compartment, removable pot, crock pot dealy right now. Do you just put a fondue or crock pot on the high setting until it gets up to temp and then leave it 20 minutes? I don't know why I find that more confusing than my flames and double boilers!

Angela McGuire said...

An electric skillet would work too right? That sits on the counter and had a knob for adjusting the temp., I know you can fry chicken int them, so it must go up to 400 degrees. Thoughts?

Olu Niyi-Awosusi said...


Possibly a silly question but what size containers would you recommend for beginners? :)



Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Olu! That's a great question! What are you wanting to make?

Olu Niyi-Awosusi said...

Lotions to start, then shower gel, shampoo and conditioner eventually!