Posts Tagged ‘solar cookers’
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.
Oh, so there are so many reasons people do not get started solar cooking. They get cold feet. Yes, there are always plenty of excuses. The question is, do the benefits outweigh the disadvantages? Of course, we think so!
“I don’t have time“, “It’s easier to use the gas grill“, “It’s always cloudy when I want to cook“, “Solar ovens are so expensive“, and the perennial, “solar ovens don’t work“. Yep, plenty of reasons are given by naysayers regarding solar cooking. REALLY!?
Well, we think there are lots of reasons to take up solar cooking. First, it’s great for the environment and a “big step” in helping reduce your personal carbon footprint. It’s also fun! Just chat with a few solar chefs and you will find out very quickly how solar cooking can become a passion.
As far as being expensive, you can build your own first oven with free plans and a few simple, inexpensive household items. As you progress, opt for a panel cooker that is very reasonable in price, but effective in its design and portability. If you have $100-$400, you can buy a very decent solar cooker and use it for many years (the Solavore Sport, GoSun Stove, and All American Sun Oven come to mind).
Also, many of the commercial solar oven manufacturers have programs based on their sales, whereby they donate ovens and, or, aid to the Third World countries. This is especially important in Africa and South America, where using solar ovens has the potential to save lives. Women, who largely search for firewood and put themselves at risk or rape or capture, will be able to remain in villages and safely use sunshine instead of unhealthy smokey fires to cook their meals.
And as far as solar ovens not working? Well, let’s see:
So, we know that colder weather is on its way back to our hemisphere very soon. So, don’t get cold feet over solar cooking. As long as there is good sunshine, even the snow won’t hold you back from making a solar-cooked meal.
There is also no good reason to have cold feet inside. The advances in electric radiant heating make retrofitting your abode much easier than in the past. Look at this:
If you are lucky enough to belong to a solar cooking group, then you know the fun that arises when one, a few, or many of you get together and break out your various solar cookers and solar ovens. The fun really ensues when a crowd of onlookers and non-members shows up and begins to ask the predictable questions. Does it only work if it’s sunny? How hot does it get? Can I fry a hamburger? Will it burn your food? Of course, a gathering of solar chefs themselves is always a “hoot”. It can get interesting and, at times downright competitive if two people are preparing the same solar cuisine. Then again, we have heard of chili cook-offs being held most notably in the southwest USA.
Other solar cooking assemblies take the other form of teaching others how to use and benefit from their use.
Many of the manufacturers have wonderful instructional you tube videos that will help the new solar chef every step of the way. Check out this one by Paul Munsen of Sun Oven International, as he shows you the great features of the All American Sun Oven:
So much for the solar oven floor show. Now, if you want to continue following a green lifestyle, and own your home. Consider using electric or other (hot water) radiant floor heating. Its very efficient and gives a great all around warmth to most homes. Yes, it is still August, but, before you know it, the heating system will be on and your energy bill will be on the increase. Researching radiant floor heating and adapting it to your situation, is work a look. There is money to be saved, as well as the planet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
Scenario: Earthquake in Southwest US, 5/10/15. Reporter: “A major 9.1 scale earthquake happened today and has caused mass destruction and loss of life in the region. Most sensitive is the suspension of natural gas distribution and scattered electrical outages. At this time, no complete assessment of the overall damage is known and no estimate exists for the restoration of the aforementioned service. Some looting of grocery stores is already happening.”
Where might you be if such a circumstance is manifested? Could be you’re a victim at ground zero, or, injured in a hospital. Possibly you are trapped in a building a waiting for rescue. The recent Japanese disaster has sharpened our senses for real world catastrophe. Those poor people have certainly endured a lot. Loss of life, damage to the economy and infrastructure are all too real.
So, if it happens in our “backyard”, having a solar cooker handy and some stored dry food items may help you and your family over the rough spots. An earthquake can sever gas transmission lines thereby forcing authorities to shut them off for safety’s sake. Plans for more electric generation by natural gas use are underway. This could compound the problem in the event of a major disaster like an earthquake. It is likely that both electric and gas utility distribution could be suspended for quite awhile.
So, get out your sun oven and practice making entire meals with it. Bake bread, steam vegetables, make soups and stews. You’ll find it to be a very reliable and worthy friend in such a catastrophe. Certainly, worldwide, this is already a fact for some. Let’s make it real for millions more before the next “big one” hits.
There’s some food for thought in your solar oven.