Solar power ovens are fantastic inventions that allow you to cook food using the power of the sun! These are useful when you are camping, having a cook out, or living "off the grid" using completely renewable energy sources.
Many people enjoy learning how to use a solar cooker and even making it a part of their everday life.
Solar ovens are simple to make and are even used by relief organizations in remote or developing areas. There is a hug benefit both to the environment, and to people, when you do not need to chop and gather wood and burn it in order to cook!
There are many different kinds of solar ovens. In fact, there are more than fifty designs, with hundreds of variations. These are the two main types.
The specifics of cooking with a solar oven depends on your local weather conditions, as well as the design of the oven you use. High winds or frequent cloudy days can lengthen your cooking time, and food cooks more quickly during the two hours before and after noon.
Most solar cookers follow the same basic principles, even though your location and the design of your cooker may vary.
Food for solar ovens is prepared as it would be for stovetop cooking, but usually cut into smaller pieces in order for it to cook faster. Foods that need to be cooked separately can be put in separate containers.
Once the food is in the pot and ready to be cooked, the pot is placed inside the solar oven. Sometimes the container is elevated to allow the heat to circulate underneath and cook more evenly. Then the solar oven is put in completely direct sunlight, facing the sun.
Unlike foods in traditional ovens or on stovetops, food in solar power ovens don't need to be stirred or rotated, but can be checked every hour or two. In fact, it is better to not open the oven as you will lose the warmth that has built up inside of the cooker.
Your solar oven can be turned periodically to face the sun more directly, which will maximize the effects of the solar energy.
Although you may go through a bit of a learning curve to adjust to the process of cooking with solar energy, once you have some experience, it is very satisfying to enjoy a meal that is cooked by the warmth of the sun!
More Great Solar Cooking Resources
For more in-depth information on solar cooking please visit my friend Nathan's site Solar Cooker at Cantinawest which has a wealth of information about solar cookers, solar canning, and even how to build your own solar oven!
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