It really is not difficult to master the skill or art of solar cooking. Many of the same skills that you use for traditional cooking methods will serve just fine when applied to solar cooking. The two biggest factors that will have much bearing on your cooking effectiveness will probably be time constraints (including weather) as well as efficiency in preparing and putting your ingredients together.
Are you a solar cook?...Share some of your own tips, tricks, techniques, and ideas on how you have gotten more out of your solar cookers and recipes. Share your tips
Time constraints will be determined by time of year, time of day and also hours available for most effective cooking .
The most ideal time of the day for cooking in a solar cooker is between the hours of 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM, this being possible in the summer time when the sun is directly overhead for a longer period of the day. In the middle of Winter your "ideal" time will be reduced to between roughly 11:30 to 2:30 PM.
(In the middle of the summer I have started my cooking as early as 8:30 AM and have gone as late as 6:30 PM and was able to cook several dishes in one day in only one cooker. I do now have more than one solar cooker in my collection, which enables me to cook even larger quantities.)
From mid fall on through to mid spring, ideal cooking time is reduced as the sun continues to fall further into the southern horizon here in the United States. Ideal times would be more along the lines of 11:00 AM, and later, to about 3:00 PM, or earlier. This does not mean that you need to put the cooker away for the winter; it just means a little bit more ingenuity is required to take advantage of the cooking time available.
Granted, some people will have more challenges cooking because of home and work schedules, and that is fine, and you shouldn't replace the kitchen stove due to your new found source of harnessing the sun's energy. Look at the available opportunities you do have for solar cooking as unique periods of learning, experiment and enjoyment. The time will come when you will find further opportunities to use your solar cooker more and more often.
You can expect clouds to be a solar cooking challenge anywhere you might live, and even here in the desert we have our cloudy days. But, you can "squeeze in" some quick solar cooking with some of your fastest cookers, such as I did here with the Solar Burner and a quick batch of popcorn.
Then, there are those who have challenges with the weather itself. Within some areas of the United States there are those who enjoy a whole lot more sunny days than other areas, and some areas of the world are better than others, but this does not mean that a person in England or Seattle cannot enjoy the benefits and joys of solar cooking. In fact, within these same places and others similar in weather; there are quite a few people who have been solar cooking for many years and doing very well with it. They just might not be able to do it as often as someone living in Phoenix Arizona or the Sudan in Africa.Now, more on the matter of efficiency while using a solar cooker
Even when cooking by conventional means, much time and effort is saved when you cut down on time consuming steps and unnecessary running around when preparing your meals.
You can fit a regular size muffin tray into the Sun Oven by placing it in depth wise as opposed to the narrower width wise.
And you can "bake" bacon rather than fry it, by laying it out in strips in your solar oven. It takes a bit longer but it cooks perfectly fine.
When used properly; a solar cooker can safely cook all kinds of food.
Extra care should be taken when cooking meats and legumes to assure that temperatures do not fall within the danger zone for creating harmful microbes such as bacteria or viruses. These harmful microbes can be killed when the food is heated to 65° C or 150° F, this is called pasteurization. When the food is heated to 82° C or 180° F or above it will begin to cook. After food is cooked it should be eaten as soon as possible after doing so, do not allow food to sit at room temperature for more than two to three hours
I just found your website on solar cooking. It is a great site.
Thanks for all the information.
I am working hard to learn more about this, and have many ovens I am testing (informally).
I would like to hear more about your classes. I live in Colorado, but I would like to hear more about how you teach this to others. Solar cooking is a great gateway to learning about clean energy.
I really enjoy your site. It is very educational. You do include all the issues of sustainability as well, and I appreciate this in addition to the other reasons people choose to use solar cookers.
I wish I could take your course!
Mary Carhartt, Colorado
Share with us and others your Tips, Suggestions, Ideas and methods for getting the most out of your solar cookers.
Share the best way to prepare and cook different foods such as...pastas, rice, meats, pastries etc.
Any Challenges with Wintertime Solar Cooking?
How do you brown foods?
How do you avoid over or under cooking rice?
How do you cook corn on the cob? etc.
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