Friday, March 22, 2013

Cooking in my Sun Oven

Last year I bought a solar oven to add to my emergency supplies. I have always been fascinated with solar energy and the MOTH and I would someday like to convert our farm house to solar. Years ago I bought a booklet on making a solar oven from aluminum foil and cardboard boxes meaning to do it as a science project with the girls. That never happened, but I still maintained my interest.

When I came across the Sun Oven while surfing the net, I knew I had to have one and started saving up to buy it. I have not been disappointed. In a lot of ways it is like a crock pot that is powered by the sun. But you can also pasteurize water, sterilize medical instruments and dehydrate food in a solar oven. The company that makes these ovens is promoting their use in third world countries for everyday use and during disasters. Because people in those places cook over smokey fires they have a lot of eye problems. The solar ovens alleviate this. They are even building giant models to use as bakeries for communities.

The one drawback to the solar oven of course, is that you can't use it in cloudy weather. But cold weather? As long as the sun is shining, no problem. They have even used it on Mt Everest. I used my solar oven a lot last summer when it was hot and sunny and it worked just great. As winter settled in, I sort of forgot about it in favor of my nice warm kitchen with it's big oven and crockpot for making all those winter soups and stews.

However, one Saturday before leaving for the farm to work, I decided to see how well it worked on a sunny, but cold day. It was ten o'clock in the morning when I set it up to pre-heat. It was in the upper 30's outside. This is the temp in my oven after ten minutes. Right at 100 degrees.

I went inside and put together a pot of chili, which took about ten minutes. It was a simple recipe using Bush's Chili Magic. When I took the pot outside to place in the oven, this was the temperature inside the oven:
300 degrees! In a span of twenty minutes, my oven had gone from cold to 300 degrees.It eventually got up to 350 degrees. On a cold winter day in the 30's. With nothing but the sun. That just amazes me.

So far the sun and I have baked cookies, casseroles, soups, beef stew, and now chili together and the only thing that I have had a little trouble with is the cookies. It only takes about five or ten minutes longer than baking in a traditional oven does, but both times I have tried, I have left them a little too long not believing it could be that fast and they have turned out hard. You can't really burn anything in the solar oven except stuff with sugar in it, so I need more practice in the baking department. I plan to work on that. I also want to bake bread in it.

If you are into new cooking gadgets this is definitely a fun one to get. It is also great to have for use during an extended power outage. Armed with a solar oven, and a good camp stove and dutch oven, your diet wouldn't have to suffer if you ever find yourself in a power down situation.

No comments:

Post a Comment