Homemade solar cooker/oven and my results
by Merry Bevill
(Mesa, AZ, USA)
My first solar oven
Solar Cooking -- Catching the Spark
I became interested in solar cooking - or at least the idea of solar cooking - quite a few years ago. Time passed and I was always too busy to get past the "just thinking about it" stage. Until last year.
We were setting up our booth at craft shows every Saturday -- outside and usually in the very hot sun. And week after week, as I ate my sandwich, I always thought how nice it would be to have a hot, home cooked lunch. Last summer, as I was preparing for the season's craft shows, I decided to investigate solar cooking. WOW! Was I surprised! Not only was it not a new idea, it is a very old idea. Apparently this is a very popular cooking method around the world. But I had never heard of it.
I decided that if native women around the world were smart enough to do it -- then I was smart enough to do it too! But at this point, I wasn't ready or willing to invest in a commercial product.
So I found a very, very simple plan to make a solar oven out of just a silver reflective windshield shade. Take the shade and pull it around into a funnel shape. Fasten the two sides together with duct tape or Velcro. Set the funnel shape onto a small cardboard box for support. Place a wire rack across the box (inside the funnel) to hold a pot. Place your food into a dark pot and place the pot in an oven roasting bag. Put this in the solar funnel. This was my first solar oven.
The first meal I cooked was just a very simple lunch. It was just hot dogs cut into pieces in some canned chili. I had no other instructions and didn't know how long to let it "cook" or at least in this case, "heat up". I ended up taking it off just a little too soon and the hot dogs were not fully heated in the center. But it was warm enough! And we were hooked.
Since then, I have successfully made beef stroganoff, beef stew, baked potatoes, dinner rolls, and even baked cakes ? all in this very simple, very basic solar oven.
PS. I have now purchased a commercial oven, but I still use this simple little oven as well.
And thank you for this great description of "beginner solar cooking".
This is a great example of how easy it is to get started in solar cooking and to have great results despite the simplicity of the solar cooker.
Great write up!