Published on November 1st, 2011 | by Beth Buczynski0
Sustainability 101: How To Cook With A Solar Oven
Last week, we shared an excerpt of Eric Smith’s new book, DIY Solar Projects: How to Put the Sun to Work in Your Home, about how to build a sturdy solar oven.
Now, here are some of Smith’s top tips about how to prepare delicious meals in your new solar cooker!
Anything that can be cooked in a slow cooker, including meat, can be cooked in a solar cooker (as long as the sun is out!). You can also make bread and other baked goods, rice, fish, potatoes, and dozens of other dishes. You’ll need to experiment a little with a cooking thermometer, because cooking times will vary depending on the time of year and where you live; most foods will need 2 to 4 hours.
Other points to keep in mind when cooking in a solar oven:
- Be sure to adjust the back leg so there are no shadows in the cooker, and move the cooker every hour or so to face the sun directly.
- Since the cooking temperature is fairly low and the food is in a closed pot, it won’t overcook or dry out if you leave it in too long.
- You can use a candy thermometer or oven thermometer to find out how hot the oven is. This will help you determine cooking time.
- Avoid opening the lid unless absolutely necessary—it’s estimated that every time you open the lid you add 15 minutes to the cooking time.
- Wipe down the interior of the oven after every usage. Keeping the glass lid clean allows as much sunlight in as possible.
- You cannot cook in the oven without a dark pot with a lid. The dark metal of the pot is warmed by the sunlight and transfers its heat to the food.
- Do not allow children to use the solar oven unless they are under direct adult supervision.
About the book: DIY Solar Projects: How to Put the Sun to Work in Your Home details a dozen easy-to-do, everyday solar projects for homeowners of every level of handy — from mounting photovoltaic panels on your roof and installing solar lighting in a shed to creating a solar still that purifies water.
Have you ever tried cooking food with the power of the sun? Tell us about it in a comment!
Related: Solar Energy Diagrams