Posts Tagged ‘Solavore Sport’
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 😉
Oh the variety and solar oven designs out there these days! You can get a parabolic that will have your ham & cheese sandwich done in seconds, or burnt to ashes if you don’t watch it. The wonderful evacuated tube models can sometimes cause food to suffer similarly, if you don’t mind them. For some panel cookers, especially depending on your latitude, you may be waiting awhile for thorough cooking. Don’t get me wrong, all these models serve their purpose very well!
With a double box solar oven, it is very difficult, to impossible, to burn any food. The other advantage of a big solar oven, like a box style cooker, is the generally large cooking chamber. If properly focused, and with plentiful sunshine, the box cooker usually only requires a few hours to prepare a typical meal. Depending upon the model, you can usually get a couple pots of food cooking simultaneously. This allows for bigger portions and servings for family and guests. This is an advantage not always used, especially if you may be hiking on a trail alone, on the beach with friends, or simply your back patio.
The other great advantage of a solar box oven, is that often the pots or baking pans can be stacked in the cooking chamber. For example, you may have a 3 quart pot of stew in there, but can also set a 9 inch baking pan, or cookie sheet into the chamber. It’s great! You can have your main course as well as dessert!
With some big solar ovens, like the Solavore Sport, three items, sometimes four, can be cooking: two, 3-quart pots plus the aforementioned cookie tray, baking pan, bread pan, etc. It’s easier than you may think to accomplish this.
Here’s how it can look in the Solavore Sport Oven:
In this oven, it’s easy to stack up the trays, plates, pots and pans. While remaining a light-weight and very portable solar oven, this model has a large chamber to cook loads of food simultaneously. Here’s how it all turned out:
So, if you have a large, double box solar oven, give stacking a fair try. Sometimes it takes more than one chance to be successful. But the rewards of cooking several meals at the same time are really enjoyable.
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.
Like all passions, sometimes you get so caught up in what you are doing, that you can lose your cool when things go awry. Many times this occurs when you forget something essential. Solar cooking isn’t much different that way. If you have been solar cooking for awhile, you have probably adapted to much that will be mentioned here, but it doesn’t mean you might get a little upset at yourself.
Like the song says, “Don’t worry, be happy now”
Say, you left on a short road trip with your oven(s) and forgot an oven thermometer. That will get you stirred up! We rely on those little devices a lot. But, in most cases, you can overcome that if you have been solar cooking for some time. You have a fairly good idea about how long the food has to be in the cooker. Of course, you can always go by the physical manifestations; is the water/soup/chili, etc., boiling like it is supposed to? It’s almost a no brainer if you are baking bread or a cake, just sample it, right?
Don’t let some of the other things bother you either. For example, like forgetting a certain spice for the recipe; it will just turn out a little different, or, maybe add it after it is done cooking. Maybe you couldn’t find your dark-colored metal pot, well, shiny ones still work, just not as well. Leave it in the sun a bit longer. You don’t have to get ticked off about this stuff. Your next solar cooking experience will make up for it.
And, regarding Ticks, which are becoming more of an outdoor hazard just about anywhere, we have a solution. Try this tick repellent. Those little buggers are getting to be a real nuisance! Stay green!
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:
The Solavore Sport Solar Oven is a box-style solar oven. It is quite lightweight at 10lbs, but can accommodate 2, 3 quart cooking pans. If you happen to take your solar cooking on the hiking trail, it is good to know that the oven, food to cook, and pans can be easily strapped onto a backpack. You have the responsibility then to “find your place in the sun”. It is commercially available at a reasonable price, and comes with some great recipes.
As with many box solar ovens, temperatures can easily reach 300 degrees Fahrenheit. With our experience, the Solavore is probably closer to 250 degrees in our region on a sunny day. The Solavore also features the use (optional) of sturdy aluminum reflector panels. We find that, in our area, the reflectors do help keep the overall cooking temperature higher. However, it has been successfully used to bake bread, cakes and dehydrate cherries, grapes and tomatoes, without the use of the reflector. However, when preparing meat, when the cooking time may take 3 – 4 hours, the reflectors help keep that temperature higher and steadier. This is especially true when overhead clouds may come and go. See the video example below.
Yes..the Solavore eats sunshine like a herbivore eats grass. It is efficient and uses no fossil fuels to cook a hearty meal. The chef inhales no gas fumes or labors over a smokey fire. Solar cooking is clean, eco-friendly and fun!
Oh, it may take an hour or so longer than your conventional gas or electric oven, but the rewards are greater. For one thing, you don’t heat up your kitchen on a warm day. The food cooks in its own juices, retains vitamins & tastes great.
Of course, since the Solavore is fueled by sunshine, it also works fine on winter’s sunny days. In fact, its built in feature of being able to set it up on its short side, enables it to catch the sun’s low angle rays even in mid-winter.
Okay, so it works great. So, while it cooks you meal, at least in warmer temperatures, why not “swing” into your survival hammock. Try it out and be sure it functions properly if the need arises. Take a siesta while the solavore cooks your meal and enjoy your parachute hammock.
It’s so easy to set up and use the Solavore Sport Solar Oven. Its large cooking chamber also allows for 2, 3-quart pots, or 1 and something else, like a cookie tray. The Sport’s lightweight but rugged design makes it portable for most uses. Really, it’s so easy to use the Solavore, that a child can do it.
Yesterday, a day blessed with welcome warmer temperatures and sunshine, we used the sport to make some beef stew and peanut butter cookies.
The stew took about 3 hours at 230 degrees, (average) and the cookies about 35 minutes.
We will be giving you some more demonstrations on using the Solavore Sport Solar Oven. Stay tuned!