Solar cooking is based on three principles: focusing, catching, and preserving the sun’s rays around your dish. This is the “3C” guideline for effective solar cooking, which we explain more below:
- Concentration: The mirrors reflect the sun’s rays back to the dish being cooked. They serve as solar reflectors. Ray buildup raises the temperature of the container. The heat is carried via the infrared spectrum of the sun’s beams, which is filtered by clouds. In the shade, you are colder, while in the sun, you are warmer.
- Collect and transmit heat: A thin, dark-colored pot will capture and transfer heat to your meal. We suggest using a matte black pot, which is available here. Dark colors absorb infrared, whereas white colors operate as a mirror, reflecting the photons and therefore absorbing no heat from the sun. A black t-shirt keeps you warmer than a white one.
- Conservation: Different methods are used to conserve heat around your solar recipes depending on the design of the solar cooker: double-walled glass tube for the SUNCHEF solar barbecue, cooking bag for the SUNGOOD solar cooker, glass window for the SUNTASTE solar cooker, or a double bowl for a SUNPARABOLIC solar dish. These many concepts keep the pot safe from the elements and the wind. This is the greenhouse effect principle. Remember to shield yourself from the wind and properly shut the insulating container. It becomes really hot, just like a vehicle parked in the sun with the windows closed!
- Why cook in a solar oven?
- Where can you cook solar?
- When to cook with your solar oven?
- What is the cooking time for solar cooking?
- What recipes can be cooked in the solar oven?
- What are the safety rules for a solar oven?
- Which cooking vessel to use with a solar cooker?
- Reasons to Choose a Solar Oven?
- Tips for Using Your Solar Oven
- Types of Solar Cookers (Solar Cooker Designs)
- How Long Does It Take to Cook in a Solar Oven?
- Will a Solar Oven Function in the Winter?
Why cook in a solar oven?
Solar cooking has many advantages and has been our passion for over 20 years. The main reasons mentioned by our users are :
- Solar cooking addresses the requirement for energy autonomy: while camping, picnicking, boating, vanning, or living in an independent dwelling, you can cook with solar energy as long as the sun is shining. As much as photovoltaic panels give a response to the demand for power, solar cookers provide an answer to the generation of heat ranging from 100 to 300°C for meal preparation.
- Solar cooking addresses the present environmental dilemma in both its usage and its entire impact. There is no fuel consumption: no gas, no electricity, no wood/coal, and hence no waste or CO2 emissions. Most of our items are long-lasting, allowing for more rational consumption in a world of finite resources.
- Because solar cooking is free, it is an affordable cooking alternative (without fuel). Furthermore, a solar cooker has an almost infinite lifetime, making it an excellent long-term investment.
- Solar cookers emit no smoke or flames. Solar cooking may be utilized almost everywhere. It may be used anywhere: in the forest, on the beach, on the balcony, etc.
- Solar cooking, without the use of fuel, shows the actual flavor of food, the taste of the sun.
Where can you cook solar?
Concentrated solar power is a highly efficient energy that will be available everywhere on the planet for billions of years!
When to cook with your solar oven?
Take use of the sun as soon as it appears, whether in summer and winter, to cook solarly. To find it well, it is essential to check that the shadows of the things that surround you are well delineated clearly on the ground. It is important to have a true sun, that is to say that the ray comes well to you (not of mist or too many clouds). Solar cooking is available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the winter. This provides a tremendous potential each year, with between 150 and 300 sunshine days each year depending on the location.
To maximize its utilization, the solar chef recommends cooking around lunchtime for the evening meal. In this instance, the Norwegian pot will keep your preparation warm for more than 8 hours. Follow this link to find the product: Pot from Norway
What is the cooking time for solar cooking?
The cooking time is determined by the model and the temperatures attained. The cooking time using vacuum tube ovens and the solar dish is similar to standard electric/gas cooking, with temperatures exceeding 200°C. Cooking using box ovens and solar cookers is softer and more nutrient-friendly, but cooking times are extended by 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the type and temperatures achieved (120 to 180°C). All of our goods may be found at this link: solar ovens and barbecues.
What recipes can be cooked in the solar oven?
Depending on the model of the solar cooker, we may produce a variety of dishes using a variety of cooking methods, such as grilled, steamed, or simmered. Become a solar chef and create your own delectable meals, including vegetable, meat, and fish dishes, as well as cakes and bread. Preserves may also be made by sterilizing jars.
What are the safety rules for a solar oven?
If you have sensitive eyes, you should use sunglasses while working with your solar oven. Remember that concentrated solar energy heats up, so use a protective glove or potholder while handling your meal in any solar oven or cooker. We recommend that you set solar dishes, Sunplicity, and Sunparabolic110 with your back to the sun after usage and store them in the shadow as soon as possible.
Which cooking vessel to use with a solar cooker?
- Solar cooker color: Ideally, your pot should be black to catch infrared radiation, but darker colors (red, blue, green) may also work. Metal (mirror/aluminum) or white containers should never be used with solar cookers. The sun’s rays are reflected by white, which functions as a mirror.
- Sun cooker materials: Cast iron, enameled steel, terracotta, and other materials may be used for solar cooking. However, depending on the type of your solar cooker, and particularly for slow-cooking cookers, we suggest thin materials such as enameled steel, such as our COOKUP pot, to swiftly transmit heat to your preparation. Thick materials may be used for solar grills or solar dishes with long-term cooking. They will need more electricity to heat it up, but they will benefit from thermal inertia during a foggy time.
- In order to save heat, we suggest utilizing containers with opaque or clear covers. To properly collect the sun’s rays, we suggest utilizing volumetric containers with a minimum height of 8 cm. Except for parabolic cookers like the SUNPARABOLIC, which may utilize containers like frying pans or plancha since the rays are focused mostly from below, like on a cooking plate.
Reasons to Choose a Solar Oven?
There are many different reasons people choose solar ovens, including their safety, sustainability, and reliability.
Some high-end solar ovens are not inexpensive, but DIY alternatives may be built using household goods such as aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and pizza boxes. Even pricey solar ovens eliminate the expense of cooking fuel beyond the initial purchase price, implying long-term cost savings.
Solar ovens do not need energy to operate, making them an excellent choice for hurricane preparation kits and scenarios where places may be without power for a lengthy period of time. They are also regarded safer than burning wood or other materials since they do not need a fire. That doesn’t imply there aren’t some dangers. Particularly when reaching high temperatures, parabolic ovens need constant attention, and cooking jars should not be sealed too tightly or they may explode.
Solar energy is a renewable resource; using it to prepare meals is less destructive to the environment than using nonrenewable sources such as wood and fossil fuels. Because no wood is burnt and no petrochemicals are processed for fuel, using solar to generate heat reduces air pollution. 2 Less wood used for fuel implies less deforestation. 3 The solar oven’s greatest virtue is also its major disadvantage—achieving cooking periods equivalent to conventional ovens needs extensive sun exposure, which isn’t always attainable.
Tips for Using Your Solar Oven
To choose the best solar oven, you must first decide what you want to cook. The most basic DIY versions are fantastic for S’mores but won’t sear a steak. A thermometer is recommended for all kinds of ovens if one is not included into the design. It’s also worth considering whether you want to travel with your solar oven, since some models are more lighter and easier to carry than others. It is better to create vegetarian cuisine until you are comfortable using your solar cooker. Here are some helpful hints for various kinds of solar ovens.
Box ovens provide the biggest cooking area and can often cook many pots of food at the same time. To enable the most light to enter the container, keep the transparent surface on top of the box clean at all times. Avoid opening it since it will leak heat. However, if steam obscures the top of the box, it may restrict the amount of sunlight that can enter, and it will need to be released.
Use dark, shallow pans to help absorb the most sunlight. These solar ovens are ideal for baking, cooking beans, or preparing dishes that need more time to cook. Set a dark brick or stone inside the box and place it in the sun to warm.
Panel ovens are perfect for those on the road since they are often lightweight and portable. They cannot, however, achieve the temperatures that box and parabolic ovens can. Work with a dark pan or black-painted glass jars while utilizing these ovens. To focus the heat, these containers are often put in a sealed oven bag or other transparent, oven-safe enclosure.
Because solar ovens concentrate heat to a single point, they may rapidly attain a high temperature; however, sustaining that temperature requires rotation as the sun moves. This technique, which is often used in rural Chinese areas to boil water for purification, requires dark-colored, firmly sealed pots. 4 Because they achieve greater temperatures more faster than box or panel ovens, parabolic ovens need a deeper inspection.
Types of Solar Cookers (Solar Cooker Designs)
Box Solar Cookers
These cookers are fashioned in the shape of a box, as the name implies. They have a transparent cover and an inside lined with reflective material.
A box cooker often has greater room than other types of solar cooking ovens. In fact, you may be able to fit more than one pot within it at the same time.
Avoid opening the lid while cooking with these sorts of cookers. You should only open it when you need to let off steam. The accumulated heat in the cooker will be lost if the lid is opened. This may increase the cooking time.
Under ideal circumstances, box cookers may achieve temperatures of up to 300 °F. Keep the translucent cover clear at all times to ensure they become as hot as possible. Using dark-colored pans (particularly ceramic pans) enhances cooking efficiency. You may also put a dark stone in the box to increase heat gathering.
Box solar cookers are often used for items with extensive cooking durations, such as beans. They are also suitable for baking.
Parabolic Solar Cookers
A parabola-shaped parabolic solar cooker. A parabolic cooker’s inside is coated with reflecting materials, and the form increases heat concentration to a single point. As a result, they may rapidly attain high temperatures. However, if the position of the sun changes, you may need to adjust their location.
This design provides the greatest temperatures of the three options. It can go up to 700°F. As a result, it is recommended that you exercise caution while using a solar parabolic cooker.
Panel Solar Cookers
Panel cookers are the lightest and least costly of the three types, although the temperatures they achieve are lower than those of the other two. They seldom reach hotter than 284°F.
Panel cookers share certain characteristics with the other two types. They have a huge reflector area, similar to the parabolic kind. They, like the box type, have an enclosure to keep cookware well-insulated. This enclosure might be a sealed transparent oven bag or any other transparent oven-safe enclosure.
How Long Does It Take to Cook in a Solar Oven?
Several variables influence how long it takes to cook in a solar oven. The design of the solar cooker, the materials of the cooking ware, the weather, the kind of food, and the ambient temperature are all considerations.
The cooking time of solar ovens varies as a result of the elements listed above. Your oven may only be appropriate for slow cooking in certain circumstances. However, you may use the following timeframes as a guideline for cooking with your solar cooker:
- Melted cheese, butter, omelets, and baked eggs usually cook in under one hour.
- Grains, vegetables, and pastries (such as cakes, cookies, bread, and brownies) should take 2 to 3 hours to prepare.
- Soup with entire veggies should take 3 to 4 hours to prepare.
- Dried beans, pumpkins, and huge meals usually take 4 to 7 hours to cook.
Will a Solar Oven Function in the Winter?
A solar oven will function in the winter if it receives enough sunshine. Nonetheless, it will not reach the same high temperatures as in the spring or summer. This is due to the extremely low ambient temperature and the lower intensity of sunshine in winter than in warmer seasons.
Sun ovens, unlike traditional slow cookers and ovens that use gas or electricity, use solar energy. They direct sun rays to the pot inside. The radiation is absorbed by the pot, which causes it to heat up and eventually cook the food within.
What are the disadvantages of solar ovens? The longer the cooking time What’s the advantage? Solar thermal energy, on the other hand, is free, renewable, and does not harm the environment.