My First Time
(St. Louis, MO)
One should not first cook in one's solar oven, without properly cleaning it first, I found. I prepared my Sun Oven for cooking by steaming 3 cups of straight white vinegar for 2 or 3 hours. After being blinded by the reflectors, I nearly burned myself when I opened up the cooker. It gets hot in there! And I didn’t have even close to a perfectly sunny day. I cannot say what temperature the oven reached because of the steam running down the door, but I think it got over 300 degrees.
After the steaming, I continued to follow the first-use directions by scrubbing the inside with the vinegar. Then I let it air dry all night with the door open.
The next day, I was prepared to make my first meal. Early in the morning, we had some light storms in the area, but they quickly dissipated and the sun rolled in with intermittent white fluffy clouds moving by. We were out running errands in the morning, so when I got home, I stuck the Sun Oven outside to preheat while I made initial preparations for my first meal ever in my solar cooker: Chili! As soon as that was ready to go in the solar cooker, I brought it outside…only to see an overcast sky had moved into the area! Very little sun (if any) made its way through. My cooker was barely over 150 degrees when I stuck the pot in it. I don’t mind saying I’m a bit peeved! This is a terrible beginning! It is really looking like it could rain, and then I’ll have to bring it inside. It really wigs me out when a plan does NOT come together!
Later that day…
I had to bring in the solar cooker; the sky was threatening rain! The temperature gauge barely registered 120 degrees. I finished the meal up on the stove. It didn’t take too long because the meat had already been browned, but overall, the whole experience was not how I had planned my first foray into solar cooking! But I haven't given up...stay tuned for further installments!