Archive for the ‘Disaster preparedness’ Category
Sure, we all enjoy the warmth and joy that Summer often brings us. But, for many of us here in Pennsylvania, Autumn is the signal for the upcoming hunting season. Not everyone is headed out into the woods for game, so this is dedicated to those who like a short hike, or maybe do some camping on an “Indian Summer” day or weekend. Breaking out the solar oven to make some stew is a fun goal.
In our area, campfires will be aglow many nights in the near future, and even in many residential backyards. Lots of folks will attempt to cook food over these smokey fires without even considering the multitudes across the globe that do that daily to feed their families. “Preppers” usually have a better grasp of that whole concept. That’s why solar cooking can help everyone.
With lots of sunny Fall days ahead, this time of year is wonderful for solar cooking. Today we’re showing you our recipe for solar beef stew. More care is needed to refocus the oven and usually a little more cooking time, since the sun’s rays are longer and the angle lower. But, rest assured, your solar oven will still work very well without using wood or any fossil fuels to cook a great meal.
So, here’s our recipe for a simple and delicious solar beef stew:
Just thoroughly mix this altogether in the 3 quart stoneware pot: 1, 2-2 1/2 lb pkg of stew meat, 1 chopped medium onion, 1-1 celery stalks, 1-2 carrots, 2 cubed small potatoes, 1/4 cup of beef broth,1 tbsp Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp red pepper (or black), 1 tsp paprika, 2 tbsp olive oil (or cooking oil), 1 tsp worcestershire sauce, 1 small can of cream of mushroom soup. Let stand alone in good sunshine for about 6 hours. Refocus the oven periodically to keep temperature up and cooking time shorter.
And, don’t forget the goodies & go-alongs! Fall is a great time to make various breads, muffins and cakes in your oven.
Have you ever started solar cooking on what was supposed to be a sunny day, and then the clouds suddenly rolled in? Sometimes those clouds can dramatically drop the chamber temperature and extend your cooking time by many hours. Possibly, your hungry family members and friends that may be patiently standing by to witness great solar cuisine in the making, may decide to “walk” on you; captive audience or not!
A wonderful solar oven exists that will take care of the problem. Widely proclaimed as a Hybrid Solar Oven, the SunFocus Solar Electric oven, is really something! What else is great about this oven? It’s made in the USA!
This interesting solar oven design includes a low power consumption electric heating element hidden in its base. If clouds appear and hinder the normal solar powered oven design, a simple flick of a switch begins the electric cooking to start, and enables the thorough cooking of the meal. Who likes cold food, right? This is an ingenious design and prevents any uncooked solar meal. Watch the following video judge for yourself how well this solar powered oven works!
There is no question that having an electric backup system can be a true solar cooking advantage. Having the 3-in-1 switch to electrify the oven and help you finish cooking is quite handy. Or, maybe just have it on a short while until the clouds pass bye. What an ingenious feature!
Yes, we solar chefs love our sunshine. Unfortunately, it sometimes unexpectedly lets us down. That’s where the SunFocus Solar Electric Oven comes through. Of course, at times, even our electric power grid fails us. If that happens, whether at your camp, on the road, or on your back patio, a portable generator is a lifesaver.
Enjoy your next sunny solar cooking day!
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.
Maybe you are not the type to build your solar oven. Want to get one that eats sunshine like a carnivore eats meat, and that is inexpensive, as well as very reliable? If so, take a look at the Solavore Sport. It comes as a kit with about all you need to get started except the food. Thousands of people across the world are enjoying the benefits of using it as an outdoor solar oven. It is a very portable solar oven, so survivalists and campers/backpackers love it. It has helped countless third world inhabitants remain safe from the hazards of smoke inhalation while cooking meals over an open fire.
This large solar oven is really a wonderful solar oven design. It has a large cooking chamber and allows for much food to be prepared on the given sunny day. Temperature in the chamber can easily reach 300 degrees F, without the use of reflector! It is a very well insulated double box solar oven. The Solavore can be your solar oven AND grill. So much food can be made in it!
Meat dishes, desserts, breads, soups and loads of other great meals can come out of the Solavore.
With a Solavore Sport Solar Oven, it’s an easy way to enter and win in the Green Lifestyle.
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 😉
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.
Outdoor cooking, which largely entails solar cooking efforts, often attracts unwanted visitors in the form of pests. No, I’m not talking about the overly curious neighbor who still doesn’t believe that solar ovens really work, no matter how many times you have shown him.
Of course, what we’re referring to, are those creepy-crawly, little critters that always seem to find their way into the human outdoor cooking scenario. Yes, ants, beetles, and flying and crawling insects of all species, just seem to automatically arrive when you set out your solar oven, or open up the grill. That anthill might be off the side of the patio somewhere, but those little guys know where the party is at!
Don’t let pest ruin your next outdoor solar cooking experience. A number of environmentally safe cures are now available to help keep the solar chef free from an insect invasion, and concentrating on the day’s solar cuisine. New, green pest control products can be kept nearby, or, may be used prior to setting up the solar cooker for the day. Yes, happily, a plethora of “green” bug repellent are there to help you.
Take a look at how you can rid your solar cooking experience of pests without the risk of hurting yourself and others.
Some folks use a number of solar ovens and solar cookers in combination on a good sunny day. That way, they can cook and prepare the food for storage, or near future consumption or freezing it.
For today’s menu, we simply used the GoSun Solar Stove to bake the Italian hot sausage with peppers, onions and mushrooms.
Sometimes the food comes out of the solar ovens so well, you feel like applauding!
So, crank up your solar cooking by using more than one cooker to make great meals. If you fail to crank up solar cooking, then try a crank radio or flashlight. They can help you when the power fails.