Solar cookers use the power of the sun for energy. They work by bouncing the sun’s rays off a reflective surface and into a pot. Black cast iron works great because it absorbs and holds the sun’s heat better than lighter colored cooking pots. Because of the energy involved in cooking, many people around the world are becoming more interested in the old idea of solar cooking.
Clear, sunny days are crucial!
The cooker will need to be moved to follow the sun in order to maintain a constant cooking temperature. Baking bread may require the oven to be repositioned every 20 minutes or so. Outside air temperatures are not that important as even a 40 degree day will work fine. It’s the concentrated sun’s power inside the oven that makes the heat.
Solar cooking is clean!
It does not create or cause air pollution. Solar ovens do not degrade air quality.
Cut back on your energy bills – be eco-friendly!
If your electric or propane gas bill takes a huge chunk out of your paycheck every month maybe it’s time to consider a cheaper way to cook and bake or even to dry fruits and vegetables or pasturize drinking water. Solar cookers do not heat the house in summer or use expensive fuels. Solar cooking is free and easy.
What cooks well in an eco-friendly solar cooker?
Think of foods that do well in a slow cooker. Foods that simmer like rice or beans, braised and slow roasted meals, soups, stews and even baked items like breads. How about a crock-pot style baked apple crisp? Just pop it in the oven early in the day and be patient. When dinner time rolls around a hot meal is ready.
In times of power failures or disasters, complete with drinking water problems, the solar cooker might be put into use to pasteurize water for safe drinking or use it every sunny day as a water heater.
Buy or build your own back-yard eco-friendly solar cooker, oven or food dryer!
Detailed building instructions are easy to find on the internet. Two cardboard boxes are needed, one smaller than the other. For reflecting materials try aluminum foil, polished stainless steel panels or a reflective mylar to capture the sun’s power. A tempered-glass lid can be easily fashioned with a lightweight wood frame to keep the cooking food safe from insects or curious animals. Place a flat-black cookie sheet in the box bottom and use a black barbecue-type grill for the pot rest (black absorbs heat). A quick “boy-scout style” solar-powered cooker can even be fashioned from a pizza box.
Have some fun and experiment with the cheap and easy way of cooking with the sun!