Archive for July, 2015

If you haven’t yet seen the All American Sun Oven in action, here’s our version. It’s larger capacity oven chamber, as well as its features to adjust its angle, the focus “eye” and other features, make it a joy to use. From its easy open “door” to its “levelator”, the All American Sun Oven promises much and delivers same.

For today’s demonstration, we made a simple meal of chicken drumsticks and vegetables. Here’s the recipe:

9  small chicken drumsticks

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 cup chopped carrots

1 large potato, diced (we used a redskin)

1/4 cup of chicken broth

1 tsp sea salt

dash of fresh ground black pepper

2 tablespoons of garlic

2 tbsp of olive oil

4 shakes of Italian seasoning

First coat the drumsticks in olive oil, then apply the seasonings. Put all into 3 quart dark metal pan (graniteware).

Mix up everything and place in solar oven  (preheated). With good sunshine, or even with passing clouds as we had, it will cook through in 3 – 4 hours. We refocused the All American Sun Oven 3 times for the best results. The temperature stayed around 300 degrees the majority of the time. Bon Apetit!

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Drumsticks & Veggies into Sun Oven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 3 1/2 hours of good sunshine…still with passing clouds, it turned out great!

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July 30, 2015 7:30 am

It is true that, normally, you do not want to set  up your solar cooker on a rainy day. We who solar cook regularly, that is, as regularly as the sunshine allows, try to be prepared for the next sunny solar cooking day. That merely means having some sort of plan, supplies and recipes. It also means making sure that your solar cooker is clean and ready.

Also, if the forecast says, for example, 40% chance of rain, it is likely not to be an all day rain. So, there may be a few “rays of hope” in that. If the morning is sunny, do your cooking then, or, maybe around noon. Of course there are always a lot of variables, like, do you have time to do that before work? Or, will anyone else be home to bring in the cooker should the forecast be wrong and a sudden downpour threatens your solar oven? However, from our own experience as busy people, we have found it often possible to squeeze in a simple meal from cooking with sunshine, even if it means doing it between the raindrops.

Sometimes it may depend upon the solar cooker itself. For example, if you just want to make some hotdogs, hot sausage, baked sweet potatoes, or an omelet, the GoSun Solar Stove works perfectly under these conditions. That is, due to its evacuated tube technology and high temperatures, it can have those dishes ready for you in less than an hour under partly cloudy skies. Look at the photo of wings made on a mostly cloudy day.  Be sure, however, to bring it inside at the first raindrop, as it, like other models can be damaged.

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If the cloudy day shower does not stop your solar cooking, then it should not stop you from taking a shower. Check out the available solar showers for your next hiking/camping experience.

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July 28, 2015 9:34 am

Some of us really love solar cooking, don’t we? Yes, whether you are a newcomer, or an old hat that’s been cooking with sunshine for decades, each one includes it in their own, hopefully, “green lifestyle”.  We search for new recipes like we’re hunting bear, try out new ingredients in old dishes, and, if we’re not too meek, invite friends, family and neighbors over to be the latest “guinea pigs” for our newest solar cuisine.

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We have become passionate about our solar cookers. We seek out new methods to use them. Some use them to dehydrate their food for long term storage in case of food shortages.  Some of us teach others how to use them in survival scenarios.

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For many in the Third World and other nations across the globe stricken by war and catastrophe, the solar oven is a life saver. Getting more panel style and box style cookers into the hands of the poor across the world is actually a mission of several of the commercial solar oven manufacturers. Much less dangerous, and certainly healthier, than smokey wood fires, solar ovens help provide the cooked meals and nourishment needed for so many living in impoverished countries.images[10]

So, why not make solar cooking your passion? It’s relatively inexpensive to get started and their are loads of resources, groups and blogs (like this one) that can help you get educated and launched into solar cooking. You’ll find how easily you can get “hung up” on sun cooking.

And, speaking of getting “hung up”, here is another way to live your green lifestyle. There are an amazing number of low-cost and clever clothesline/dryer racks out there. They make it easy for you to maintain a green lifestyle in just one more way. While your solar oven bakes the meal, you hang up your wash and let the solar powered “dryer” do the rest! Take a look at this:

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July 26, 2015 2:14 pm

Sometimes using your solar cooker on a windy day can be a real challenge. Of course, that mostly depends on the style or model of solar oven that you are using. Certainly, some are more stable in the wind than others. Many box style solar ovens, like the SunFocus, All American Sun Oven and the Solavore Sport Oven, do very well in light to moderate wind conditions. These models feature sturdy aluminum reflectors attached to the “box”, and can usually handle the wind.

Solavore Sport with Reflectors

Solavore Sport with Reflectors

 

 

And speaking of windy conditions, many homeowners are discovering the benefits of a home wind generator. As of this writing, the 30% tax credit is still in place for alternate energy improvements. If you are sure you live in a windy region, a wind generator makes perfect sense as an addition to your home power system. In case you are doubtful about your local wind, you can find out how eligible your area might be for wind generation by visiting the government’s website: https://nationalwind.org/, or www.dsireusa.org. Many kits are surprisingly affordable, and may supplement your current electric and reduce, and in some instances, eliminate your electric bill. Look at this one by Aleko:

Many small wind generators, like the one in the video, qualify for the tax credit. If you are interested, it “pays” to do the research. Also, many wind generator kits only require common tools for assembly. Don’t let this blow by you, if you think you are a wind generation candidate.

Don’t forget to bring in that solar oven if the wind speed gets too high!

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July 24, 2015 8:14 am

On a nice sunny day, you have your solar oven out, set up and it is busy cooking lunch or dinner.

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You have a few hours on your hands and you know you can still be productive and finish some of the office work you didn’t get done because of some upset in normal routine.

On the market today, are a nice selection of compact solar chargers. They work great to supplement power, especially to your laptop computer or tablet. This way, you maximize your time and place in the sun. While the solar oven makes your meal, you can be occupied on the laptop or tablet, doing some work that you have put off, but badly needs catching up on. The compact, folding panel style solar charger kits are very helpful. Use them and avoid draining the device’s battery. We all know how easy it is for that to happen, right?

It can definitely set your mind at ease.  You can keep on working on a letter, photo gallery, or social media, while not worrying about losing content, or a dead battery. Best of all, you get to enjoy a fossil free cooked meal from your solar cooker. That’s a great way to top off your day and the extra efforts you made working while out of the office.

Get a solar charger today, to help maximize your out of office efforts while enjoying your passion for solar cooking.

 

 

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July 22, 2015 9:51 am

As has been proved and demonstrated by many, a solar oven or solar cooker, can be a life saver in a survival situation. Recent world disasters, such as the tsunamis, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters, have made the solar cooker a godsend to thousands of homeless people enduring such tribulation.

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Having a reliable survival knife, often with numerous helpful features, is another item that should be included in the survival kit. Not only will it help with food preparation for using the solar cooker, but it has a great variety of other uses.

A survival knife worth its weight, will help you set up camp, prepare game, build an emergency shelter, help in food preparation, and even start a campfire. A number of great survival knives exist and many can be had for $20 to $50. Often, features include different blade edges for different uses and a built-in, usually magnesium, fire starter. Typically a sheath is included. Let Bear Grylls, survival expert, tell you about one he has developed.

Find an ultimate survival knife to add to your emergency supplies. Learn to use it with your solar oven.

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July 18, 2015 4:00 pm

Solar ovens are meant to be used. So, plan ahead for the next sunny day that comes along. Have your recipe and ingredients ready for preparation. Get your solar oven out to “play” with it. Make sure it is clean and ready for service. Different styles and models of solar ovens require different cleaning methods. However, most manufacturers usually recommend cleaning the solar cooker with hot soap and water. No harsh chemicals are needed.

Cleaning the oven outdoors is usually easier with the help of a plastic basin, a sponge and some towels. In no time at all, your sun oven will be “at the ready” and able to serve you when the sun comes out.

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Oh sure, we understand, many people will set their solar oven on a stand. That way, they do not have to stoop down to refocus, or stir the pot, etc. For those of us who like to take our solar cooker camping and hiking however, it is sometimes a bit much to bring along the whole patio and a stand.

GoSun Stove doing steak in the grass.

GoSun Stove doing steak in the grass.

Best of all, should you really not want to let the grass grow under your solar cooker, just make sure you mow the lawn! To be “green” about it, try taking out your new reel mower to cut the grass. You’ll get a good workout, get the chore done, all while your favorite solar oven is preparing some tasty food.

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July 16, 2015 9:35 am

If you have been watching, or subscribed to this blog for any time at all, you have witnessed the power of sunshine cooking food in a variety of solar ovens and solar cookers.

It is important to remember that, while solar energy is sun-cooking your newest culinary experiment, other ventures in solar power can be applied to your lifestyle and, in particular, your dwelling. Solar thermal is one of the greatest ways to utilize solar power.

On or near your house, the solar hot water equipment can be set up to let the sun heat your home water supply. Different designs and models exist and are available at a surprisingly low cost. One of the more popular and efficient designs are units composed of evacuated tubes, the same technology used by a popular model solar cooker, the GoSun Solar Stove. The vacuum tubes trap a majority of the sun’s heat and transfer it to water lines and onto the storage tank. Many designs include piping the system into the existing home hot water heater.

Be sure to check on this yourself, but the US Government also can help you afford these items, just as if you were installing solar pv panels. A 30% tax credit was still available at this writing. Take a look at how simple and effective these systems are and how you may benefit economically and have most of your home hot water heated by the sun.

What a great combination! Using the sun’s free energy to cook you food AND heat your home’s hot water.

 

 

 

 

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July 12, 2015 9:11 am

It is a bright sunny day and you have your recipe, ingredients and solar oven all ready to make a great meal. The wonderful thing about solar cooking, is that it resembles using a slow cooker/crock pot. It is, in many ways, a “set it and forget it” experience.

So, that allows the solar chef to pursue a few other tasks and interests while the solar cooker prepares the meal. Many may seek to do some inside jobs. Others, like many solar chefs that observe a green lifestyle, may catch up on yard work. That might mean feeding and tumbling their backyard composter.  Also, with as much rain as some parts of the country has had lately, it might present the rain barrel owner to empty/maintain it. Like using a solar oven, using a rain barrel is just another way to do your part for water conservation, or, not trying to be trite, help save the planet!

Give it some thought. It is so easy, with the green products available to us these days, like the solar oven and the rain barrel, to really do something environmentally friendly, with so little effort. Here is the GoSun Solar Stove making blueberry muffins while the presenter visits and reads. Just as easily, she could have been watering the flowers from the stored-up water from the rain barrel, right?

 

 

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July 10, 2015 9:41 am

Use the solar oven of your own choice to make your next meal of dehydrated food. The SunFocus,  All American Sun Oven,  SunFlair and the Solar Flare, can all easily boil water on a sunny day. Being so simple a task, makes preparing your dehydrated food packet all that much easier. In the following video, Mountain House Food’s Beef Stroganoff is the example used with boiling water done by a conventional stove. With the dehydrated food packet, you do not have to worry about recipes or ingredients.

However, Preppers, hikers and certainly campers have all used this, or similar products in their outings. So, why not take your solar cooker on the next outdoor adventure, even if it is only to your backyard or patio, and try making a meal using dehydrated food. After you have some boiling water from the solar oven, it becomes elementary; just pour the water into the pack, seal it for a few minutes and then dish out the number of servings to your colleagues, friends or family. Hey, it is just one more way to enjoy solar cooking. With an increase in power outages from storms and other natural disaster, you owe it to yourself as a solar chef to at least try this dehydrated food experiment.

See how easily the Solar Flare, a simple parabolic sun cooker, can boil water in no time. It is a cinch to set up.

 

 

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July 8, 2015 7:33 am