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by Bob
(Portland, OR)

I recently attempted to make a solar cooker. With a little help from the internet and hardware store, I gathered foil and boxes. It didn't take long to build and soon I had a 'solar stove'. The first cooking trial went like an "F" on a report card. This was most likely because of the clouds in the sky. I tried again on a sunnier day with a hamburger, and after an hour I found a slightly grilled burger waiting for me. I bit into it right there, and spit it out. The inside was pinkish. I think I will stick with an oven for now, but if we ever get real sun, I am breaking out the Solar Cooker.


Greetings Bob,

Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

Yes, your burger definitely was not cooked if it was still pink inside.

The clouds you mention will affect a solar cooker and its effectiveness quite a bit, especially when using a homemade solar cooker if not properly constructed, insulated and sealed.

A simple panel cooker using an oven bag can cook meat, but it will struggle if the sky is overcast and even with high thin clouds.

Some commercially manufactured cookers, mostly box style cookers, can perform quite well even on hazy and intermittently cloudy days, but they are usually designed to be most efficient and are also well insulated. They also have an ability to "catch" more of the suns rays and direct them into the cooking chamber, due to the reflector panel surface area and reflectance rate.

I would not give up on your homemade solar cooker, and in fact you might share a photo so that we may offer some suggestions on how to improve it if you think this might help.

Again, thank you for sharing with us.


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