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Thwarted Again

by BC
(St. Louis, MO)

My solar oven weather trials haven’t really improved! I tried a new rub on a whole chicken fryer, put it on a bed of carrots in my black pot, and placed it in the solar cooker. It was intermittently cloudy, and the oven was barely at 200 degrees when I put it in the cooker. Within one hour, big, angry, dark clouds rolled in, so I had to take everything inside. I transferred the chicken and carrots into my slow cooker. The temperature gauge barely registered 100 degrees when I took it out of the Sun Oven.

As an aside—and this has nothing to do with solar cookers--but I am so stymied by this weather!!! I’m wondering if the “chemtrail” conspiracy theory people have a point: Why all the clouds?! We have not had one perfectly clear, hot day in months!!! I really think that’s weird for summer weather in my area. Even today, the forecast was supposed to be totally clear, and it was so first thing this morning…in the 60’s, not a cloud in the sky! Looked to be a perfect day for solar cooking! But then those intermittent white, puffy clouds rolled in by mid-day! What is up with that?! I feel it’s not normal.

I am still not deterred because I know I can cook foods in my solar cooker even at lower temperatures—it just takes longer. I’ve found a good recipe for gluten-free chocolate zucchini bread, which I tested in my house oven yesterday when it was cloudy. It is delicious, and I look forward to trying it out in my solar cooker soon!

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Jul 10, 2014
Solar Cooking and weather challenges
by: Nathan

That is one of, if not the biggest, challenge with solar cooking and that is the weather.

We all have to deal with it to one degree or another.
In fact, right now in our area, we are dealing with the mid-summer monsoon season that brings lots of humidity and cloudiness to the desert southwest and which causes us fits with our solar cooking schedules.
Here we have to cook early to beat the early and late afternoon monsoon clouds that inevitably form throughout the desert areas here.
Our solar cooking can be sporadic during this month to month and a half monsoon period.
In fact, today it was cloudy all day and so I could not cook anything at all, but I know that in the next day or two it will probably be sunny again for the majority of the day and I will then get to cook. It's hit-and-miss, so we "roll with the punches" as they say.

Enjoy the sunny days and then use your other methods of cooking on those that are not.

Jul 10, 2014
by: BC

...I hadn't thought I was making anything too challenging. Plunking a chicken in a pot isn't too difficult! In my mind, solar cooking is like my slow cooker...only the weather isn't as reliable as the electricity coming out of the outlet!!!

Jul 10, 2014
Keep trying
by: Jim La Joie

Sounds like you are trying some fairly challenging dishes. If you are new to solar cooking you may want to try simpler items. One cup of rice and two of water is o great way to start. Or a couple of baked potatoes. These will all cook well in short periods of sunlight.
Once you know the capabilities of your cooker and have finished a few simple meals, you can move on to more challenging items that require higher heat and longer durations.
BTW, had similar high haze and this one long cloud that would not move yesterday. I made a cake that turned out great but it took a while. The recipe on the box said 50 minutes. My cake took about 3 hours.
On good solar cooking days my cooker rivals the indoor oven or stove top. On marginal days - not so much.
Keep trying. You will succeed.

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