Why solar cooking?
Solar cooking is the simplest, safest, most convenient way to cook food without consuming fuels.
- Moderate cooking temperatures in simple solar cookers help preserve nutrients.
- Smoky cooking fires irritate lungs and eyes and can cause diseases. Solar cookers are smoke-free.
- Cooking fires are dangerous, especially for children, and can readily get out of control — causing damage to buildings, gardens, etc. Solar cookers are fire-free.
- With good sunlight, solar cookers can be used to cook food or pasteurize water during emergencies when other fuels and power sources may not be available.
There are some really great solar ovens out there that you can purchase, like these below.
Our Hat Box Cooker post is just another variation on the solar oven.
DIY Solar Oven
Almost anything you can cook in a conventional oven, you can cook in a solar oven.
- Aluminum Foil
- Large And Small Cardboard Boxes
- Non-toxic Glues
- Non-toxic Invisible Tape
- Plastic Wrap
- Black Construction Paper
- Find two boxes. One should fit inside the other with a 2 to 3 inch space on each side.
- Line the bottom of the large box with crumpled newspaper.
- Place the smaller box inside the large box.
- Fill the space between the sides of the two boxes with crumpled newspaper.
- Line the sides of the inside of the smaller box with aluminum foil. You can use a non-toxic tape or fold the edges of foil over the top of the box to hold it in place.
- Line the bottom of the inside of the smaller box with black construction paper or paint it black to absorb heat.
- Lay a piece of cardboard on top of the large box and trace the shape of the box onto the cardboard.
- Add 2 inches around the trace line and cut out to make a reflector.
- Cover the cardboard piece with aluminum foil. Smooth out any wrinkles and secure the aluminum foil to the cardboard with non-toxic glue or tape.
- Staple the reflector to the outside back of the large box.
- Situate the oven with the box opening up and the reflector facing the sun for maximum heat.
- Place food to be cooked in the solar oven.
- Stretch clear plastic wrap across the top of the large box. Secure the plastic with tape around the entire box.
Familiarize yourself with the solar patterns in your area where you will be using your solar oven.
Gather the necessary solar cooking gear, including dark-colored, pans & lids, an oven thermometer and oven mitts.
Follow a solar cooker recipe. You can find free recipes at some websites, such as the Solar Oven Society, or you can purchase a Solar Oven Cook Book.
Put it out early and forget about it. Even if you will be gone all day, you can put your food in your solar cooker and leave it to cook on its own. It expedites the cooking time to rotate the solar cooker every two hours or so to follow the path of the sun through the sky. However, you can position the solar cooker to face south before you leave and it usually will get enough sunlight to cook your food. Baked goods may need constant rotation.
Wear oven mitts when checking the food. A decent amount of steam is generated as food cooks even though you add little if any water to solar cooker recipes. Plus, the pans themselves get extremely hot. Temperatures in a solar oven can rise as high as 300 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Adapt your own slow cooker recipes to your solar cooker once you get the hang of cooking in a solar oven.