You probably know what a vacuum flask is. Most people know it as a bottle or a jar that can maintain the temperature of the hot and cold drinks – at the same temperature they were in when they were packed for 8 hours or more. These flasks are commonly used when carrying cold water or juice for the day when going to school or work. When going for a picnic, the thermos bottle is used for storing hot tea or coffee as well, especially when there is no facility to make a fresh cup.
But is that all you can do with a vacuum flask? Of course, not. There is so much more that you can do with it. You can even store much more in a vacuum flask, provided it has some liquid content in it. Generally, the sauces have a chance of leaking out when carried in a lunch box, but with a vacuum bottle, that problem is also taken care of and you can get a piping hot meal even when you are out. You can also store soups and take along when going out.
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Caution When Using a Vacuum Flask
You can pack hot or cold fluids in a vacuum flask, but for each, some precautions are necessary:
- Always pack beverages in a clean thermos.
- Chilling the inside of the thermos bottle before adding chilled drinks is a good idea. Similarly, it should be warmed before adding hot beverages. This can be done by storing ice or hot water for a few minutes prior to the addition of drinks.
- When packing hot drinks, they will remain safe to drink only if you pack them when they are very hot (74°C and above). For cold drinks, the ideal temperature is 4°C and below.
- You must finish the drinks once the vacuum flask has been opened. Any leftovers are best thrown away.
- Any drink that has not been maintained at the original temperature can be harmful to eat.
Interesting Menu for Use with a Vacuum Flask
Below are some suggestions for tasty drinks that you can carry to a picnic or an outing with friends and your place of work.
Cold Drinks Suitable for a Vacuum Flask
- Cold Water
- Cold Milk
- Chilled Lassi
- Chilled Juice
- Iced Tea
- Plain Yoghurt
- Milk Shakes
- Yummy Smoothies
Here are a couple of innovativechilled recipes for you to try:
- Apple Pie Oatmeal Chilled Overnight– Whisk together some plain yoghurt (3/4th cup), milk (1/4th cup), 1 tsp of maple syrup, ½ tsp of vanilla extract and some cinnamon powder. Stir in a grated apple and ½ a cup of oats, cover and refrigerate. Add it to the vacuum flask after chilling it and enjoy it later.
- Blueberry and Apple Smoothie – Blend ½ cup of plain yoghurt with a ripe banana, a chopped apple, ½ a cup of blueberries and 60 ml orange juice. Blend till you get a smooth consistency.
Hot Foods Suitable for a Vacuum Flask
- Hot Tea
- Hot Coffee
- Hot Chocolate
- Hot Soups
- Hot Oatmeal porridge
Some innovative hot recipes that you can try and storein your vacuum flask are:
- Spiced Hot Chocolate– Warm 1 litre of milk over medium-low heat. Now, whisk in 60ml of sugar and cocoa powder each and ¼ tsp of cinnamon. Heat until hot but do not boil. Stir with a cinnamon stick dipped in melted dark chocolate. Carry it in your preheated thermos bottle and enjoy it outdoors.
- Carrot and Tomato Soup– Pressure cook chopped carrots (2), tomatoes (2), onions (1) and garlic (3-4 cloves) with 2 cups of water. Let them cool, then blend till smooth. In a pan, heat some butter, add ½ tsp cumin powder and salt to taste. Stir for a few seconds and add the prepared puree. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add water or cook some more to get the right consistency. Hot soup is ready to be carried for your picnic.
There are several such recipes that can be enjoyed anywhere with the help of a thermos bottle. They come in different sizes, so you can choose a personal one to carry just enough food for yourself or carry sufficient amount for a group of friends. Just open up the flask, serve and enjoy the same taste that you would have enjoyed at home several hours ago.