So, How Does the Double Box Solar Oven Work?
Very well, we think! Really, the double box solar oven is a simple, but efficient design. It is a box within a box with the two boxes separated by insulation (the non-toxic variety). There are many great plans out there to construct solar ovens, from using plywood, cardboard boxes and even pizza boxes.
However, here, we are discussing the normal commercial model.The outside box, essentially the case, which is usually equipped with a carrying handle, a feature loved by campers and hikers. It is typically made from a durable, black plastic. The inside box is usually comprised of aluminum with a anodized black, non toxic paint surface. It becomes the cooking chamber for the oven; where you put your potful of food. A double paned glass or plastic lid covers all and often has a seal to prevent air leakage. Also, clips or catches allow the tight closure of the lid for proper cooking. Most commercial models also include polished aluminum reflectors to enhance solar power and speed up cooking temperatures and time. By including, say, your soup ingredients into a dark colored thin-walled metal pot (granite-ware, stoneware type pots) the input of strong sunshine multiplies the green house effect and cooking temperatures can often be reached in less than twenty minutes.
Realistically, 220 to 300 degree temperatures are more common. This is sufficient to bake bread, make soup or stew, bake vegetables, pasteurize water, etc. in just a few hours.You get the picture, right? If conditions are excellent, and you have preheated your solar oven, temperatures of 400 degrees F are possible! But, it’s best to think of your solar oven as a solar powered crock pot. Lower temperatures allow thorough cooking of the food in its own juices. For many dishes, adding water is not necessary. Another benefit of solar cooking is the retention of vitamins and minerals of the meal. Try to cook your double box solar oven meal between 10am and 3pm if you are in the northern hemisphere.