Archive for the ‘American Sun Oven’ Category
All of us want to be happy in one way or another. We like to share a way of happiness that we regularly enjoy. Solar cooking!
There’s just nothing like sun cooking. Many solar cooking enthusiasts have more than one solar oven or cooker. They enjoy every sunny day they can and end up with a delicious meal to boot!
Some solar cookers even work well on cloudy days, and others have electric backup systems so that a few clouds don’t ruin your outdoor cooking fun.
Bake chicken, or any variety of meats in any variety or combination of solar ovens. How about a veggie medley for vegans?
Food makes us happy in so many ways. It gives us the energy we need daily. So, why not use free energy from the sun to make your next meal?
You can purchase or make a solar oven or solar cooker. Just read more of these posts to keep informed about using them.
It may be your new path to a creative form of happiness. Enjoy!
What can’t you cook with your solar stove? Maybe you’ve found yourself “lost” with where to go with your solar cooking. You have tried this dish or that one, baked breads and some soup. So , what’s next?
After all, there are so many ways to use one. Also, you should consider the different solar cooker designs. Is it parabolic, evacuated tube, box cooker or panel cooker? If you have several models, then the fun really begins with your solar powered ovens. Maybe you use several and prepare a great solar feast for family and friends. Of course, that’s another relevant concern; the number of folks that need fed on that bright sunny solar cooking day.
Use your solar cookers in different ways. You can bake, boil, steam and dehydrate many kinds of food with them. Perhaps you have concerns over healthy food choices, or want to prepare vegetarian meals. You can do this with a solar oven. Most double box solar ovens work similarly to a slow cooker (crock pot). It may take hours to to prepare solar cuisine in them, but usually, it’s well worth the wait, because the foods cook in their own juices. The result is great flavor!
With a parabolic cooker, your soup or meal may take only a few minutes! You will need to be a wary solar chef and keep your eye on the meal as the sun rapidly cooks the food. The evacuated tube model cookers are wonderful. Your meal usually doesn’t take more than an hour to prepare in good sunshine. Hotdogs, vegetables, and other light foods may only need a 30 minutes or less. You can easily warm up leftovers in these very efficient models. The really great thing about your outdoor solar oven, is that it becomes your way of being “green”, without much effort.
Portability is another important factor in using your solar cookers. Some box cookers weigh many times as much as a few evacuated tube cookers and panel cookers. So, if you are hiking or camping, weight may become an issue. Maybe you are a survivalist; a “prepper”. So many of these folks are using solar cookers and solar ovens because they realize how practical they are in an emergency situation.
Oh yes, it’s easy to get confused about the direction you want to take with solar cooking. Why? Because there are just so many wonderful choices! Follow your own path to making some great solar dishes. If you really get “lost” out there, maybe you only need a better compass.
As an avid solar chef, sometimes it is really difficult to find that time for your solar- powered passion. Then, once you have found a few hours on a sunny day to create your newest delectable solar cuisine, it seems like the day just flew bye. It did! So, the answer is to “milk” out that time, that is; make the most of it. This way, everyone will have a better time.
To better utilize this cooking “event”, try taking only a few minutes during the week to plan your solar meals. It might be a weekday or the weekend when you do this. It will depend on your schedule. We are all busy people these days. Remember to jot down with the planned meal, any essential ingredients that you may need to pick up at the market. If you already like to cook, solar or otherwise, your cabinets and refrigerator are probably stocked with most needed items. Also, as mentioned in our previous posts, consider checking the weather report for the week to better plan your set up time for the solar cooking.
One other way to enhance the solar cooking day is to consider the solar ovens to be used and know how many will be at the table. If you have more than one oven or cooker, you can cook up a storm! Of course, depending on the other factors we have mentioned, which solar cooker you use for what food, can make a difference.
For those survival enthusiasts who cannot get enough “milk”, try out this stuff to get you through it.
For some, cheese is the world. Others can take it or leave it. Others want to move others cheese around…so they say. We find using cheese in solar cooking to be very useful. The dish you may be preparing in your solar cooker, has some cheese in it. And, just as in a conventional oven, allows it to melt its wonderful flavor into the other ingredients.
Whatever the main dish is, so many do better by adding cheese. You know, it’s as simple as cheese dogs vs. hotdogs. If it is quesadilla, chili con carne, baked lasagna or tuna casserole, the cheese sometimes just makes the dish. All these cheese masterpieces can be as easily prepared in a solar oven, as in a conventional oven. Cheese is really great for the vegetarian meals as well; think broccoli and cheese soup. This time of year, the real benefit of using your outdoor solar oven is just that. It’s outside cooking the meal and there’s no need to fire up the conventional oven and turn your kitchen and maybe house up several more uncomfortable degrees! And, need we mention it, you are doing your part of living a greener lifestyle, since the solar oven is a solar powered oven; no fossil fuels are being consumed.
What egg dish isn’t improved with a little cheddar or your favorite cheese?
What about you survivalists? Add some cheese to the dehydrated food mix and make the meal a bit more palatable. The solar cooker won’t mind at all.
Here’s a few other great cheesy dishes you can prepare in your solar oven: Chili Mac & Cheese, Layered Enchiladas, Hot Bean Dip, Bean Nachos, Baked Florentine, Mexican Rice, Cheesy Rice & Veggies….and the list goes on. For more specific information and recipes look these books up. For you survivalists that might think this is tough, please find this cheese as satisfactory.
We have mentioned this in prior posts, but since a member of our solar cooking group recently brought it to our attention, it’s a good topic to revisit.
THE WEATHER. Certainly you’ve heard the one about the weatherman having the best job in the world since he never has to worry about getting the forecast right. Well, those of us who have done all the prep work to get our solar meal ready often find ourselves at odds with him, right? Sure, a “partly cloudy” day can mean 20% cloud cover, or 60%, so your cooking time for a box cooker can vary a great deal under those “predictions”. Sometimes storm clouds appear much faster than anyone anticipates.
So, what’s the solar chef to do? Well, do your best. Make it a habit to watch your local nightly weather report. Want something even better? If you have a smart phone, try downloading a free app. Yes, like most things, some are better than others. PCMag.com recently did a great review of weather apps, and is a worthwhile read. No phone ? If you have access to a computer and the Internet, of course you can check out the apps and numerous sites in that way. We use a few and can recommend them: “weather underground”,” the weather channel”, and “weatherbug”. Each site has its various attributes, advantages and disadvantages. Some, and we’re not just including the 3 sites mentioned, are large and more technical sites. This affects download times and your device, and ultimately, your time.
In any case, whatever site you decide to use, we suggest getting one with a clear local radar picture. Why, you ask? Well, depending on how much time you have to contribute to your solar cooking, on a particular day, having some idea of how close a rain, snow or windstorm might be to your cooking site, is a good thing to know. Essentially, a weather radar picture will affect your planning /cooking schedule.
If you are hiking and camping, or are the survivalist type, you may already be prepared for oncoming bad weather. A good emergency kit or backpack should always contain a decent weather radio. This tool, will help keep you out of danger, and may allow for your uninterrupted solar cooking on the trail. Of course, the weather radio will still be a handy item wherever you do your solar cooking; the beach, backyard, or patio.
Some folks sometimes forget that, although the elements of rain, snow, wind & hail can affect your cooking, the seasons do not usually matter. Only a sunny day is needed for solar cooking. Check out this video from January.
Just remember to include the weather in your thoughts, before you set up your solar oven for the day. Weather it’s just passing clouds, a few raindrops or a tornado, it can affect your solar cooking fun 😉
For those of us who just love rolling out our solar cooker on a sunny day, it’s a feeling tough to beat. If you have more than one solar oven, whether it’s a parabolic, box cooker, electric hybrid, or the newest evacuated tube model, you are set to have a fun day.
If you’ve done things right, you already had most of your supplies and ingredients handy; the mixing bowls, spices, and all the vegetables, meats, etc. Next, comes putting it all together and placing it into the appropriate solar oven/cooker. Yes…it’s now time to let it ROCK!
Thinking of getting your own solar cooker? Don’t want to make the leap before further research? Try getting a book with simple plans to build your own here. Try it…you’ll like it, especially when it’s a hot and humid day and cooking outside with your solar cooker allows you to keep your house cooler. And, you’ll be doing your part for developing a “greener” lifestyle.
It is a great sunny day, so let’s cook up a batch of food to last a few days. In the All American Solar Oven, we’ve prepared another South of the Border favorite, Mexican Rice. Since the Sun Oven’s chamber is large enough, and it reaches 300 degree temperatures in a short time, rice of any kind is always a good option.
Mexican Rice recipe: Adapted from “Adventures in Solar Cooking”, by Jackass Jill (Spanish Rice)
Mix all in a bowl: 1/2 cup water, 1 Tbsp chili flakes, 1 bell pepper diced, 1/2 onion diced, 1 cup of long grain white rice, 2 small celery stalks diced, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp salt (optional), 1 large Tbsp chili powder, 1 small can of diced tomatoes with green chiles , 1 can tomato sauce (16 oz) 1 tsp oregano, 1 Tbsp minced garlic, 1 lb of extra lean ground beef. Once thoroughly mixed, put into the 3-quart dutch oven and place into solar oven.
In good sunshine, this will be ready in 4 hours. The day we prepared it, we had some passing clouds and it took about 5 1/2 hours. To make this really tasty, we sprinkled some “fiesta cheese” on top of the rice about 1/2 hour before removing it from the oven. However, you can use the cheese of your choice, or just eliminate it altogether. We do recommend getting the best extra lean ground beef for the dish to make it less greasy.
This meal came out great for us. We were able to share some with friends and family and are already being asked to make another batch. If you are skeptical of solar cooking, or don’t want to spend money for a commercially available solar cooker, without more information, try picking up a book about it. There are several inexpensive and good ones available here.
wThose of us who enjoy deer hunting, have probably already prepped our arsenal for the season. Your rifles are clean, you have made sure the gun sites are properly adjusted, your outdoor clothing and gear stand at the ready, and the ammo is stocked. If you are a bow or muzzle loader hunter, you might already be out in the woods. But, if you are like many hunters, your freezer is still packed with last year’s meat. How many venison steaks and packages of sausage and hamburg are hiding in there?
Get out your solar oven on the next available sunny day and cook up some of your surplus and share it with friends and family. With your solar cooker, you can readily reduce that surplus and get into the mode for the season.
This steak recipe is very simple. This marinade works well and removes some of the “wild” flavor. That’s not good for some of us that like it, but it will share easier with some of the snooty friends and family. First, slice them up into smaller pieces. Season the pieces with 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, or 2 chopped cloves, vigorously coat them with fresh ground black pepper, and a teaspoon of cumin. Pour a cup of apple juice into the 3 quart dark colored metal pot that is used with the solar cooker, then place the pieces into the pot. Cover it and put it in the fridge to marinate overnight.
On the new sunny day, get out the solar oven and preheat it. There’s not much more to do as you imagine. We added a cup of mushrooms, 1 sliced bell pepper and a chopped small onion into the pot, before putting it in the oven. Next, as you are already probably familiar with, just aim the oven at the sun and wait a few hours. The batch below took around 3 1/2 hours to prepare. The children were fed and no leftovers were to be had. A batch of mac & cheese was the side dish.
And they were absolutely delicious!
As most hunter’s try to be safe while enjoying their sport, it is a good idea to be prepared. Bring a good survival kit with you. Similar to the video below, a survival kit is truly a life saver.