One of the latest acquisitions for our long-term cooking needs is a Solar Oven. Should the need arise to cook without electricity or propane, if you want to cook without smoke or strong smells – solar oven cooking is a fantastic choice.
We chose this particular solar oven – Global Sun Oven Solar Cooker.
It retails at the time of this writing for $201.95 plus shipping. At the time we were shopping, it was the one we thought was the best deal for the money. We wanted one that was big enough to cook a couple loaves of bread, or a casserole or something like that, but still have it portable.
The oven was shipped to us very quickly – we received it within a week of ordering. It was well-packaged and had no shipping damage. We also ordered one Water Pasteurization Indicator.
This oven folds up to about the size of a suitcase. It has a nice leveling tray inside that can be used or removed. It has a leveling leg in the back and is very lightweight for ease of movement – weighing about 21 pounds. The reflector panels fold up neatly and snap onto the oven box when not in use and there is a carrying handle, which makes it easily portable.
My oldest daughter tried it out yesterday – she mixed up a package brownie mix and put it in a dark pan – a 9″ round cake pan. The directions say that dark pans work best for absorbing the heat for cooking.
We placed the oven in the backyard and lined it up so that thepanels were directly facing the sun. We put the brownies in on the leveling tray, shut and latched the glass front door and it was quickly about 210 degrees in the oven. We checked after about 20 minutes and the oven temperature was 280 degrees.
The brownie mix called for cooking in a traditional oven for about 26 minutes. We had to move our Sun Oven twice to keep up with the sun – we were cooking around 2:30 in the afternoon. The air temperature was about 94 degrees. Our oven did hit 300 degrees and the brownies cooked in about 50 minutes.
There was no burning on the edges, the brownies were crisp on the outside and very chewy on the inside – no different than what I would expect and look for if cooking them in my traditional oven.
Overall we were very pleased with the outcome. Positives include: No heating up my traditional oven or house for cooking on a hot day; no smoke or smells that would give away my location, ease of use, portability, no using fuel that might be needed for other things – just a great purchase in my opinion.
There are many styles of solar ovens out there – you can do a search and decide for yourself which one might be best for you. There are also plans available for making your own solar oven.
And there are tons of recipes on the web that people have adapted for solar cooking – although pretty much anything you’d cook in your regular oven can be cooked in a solar oven – you just have to adapt your cooking times slightly and the solar oven doesn’t seem to cook out the moisture of things as much as a regular oven does, so you might have to slightly adjust your liquid measurements for things like stew, casseroles, rice, etc.
You can even cook in the solar oven in the middle of the winter on a snow bank – all you need is sunshine!