Thursday, January 3, 2013

Simple Solar Ovens

     In any solar cooking operation you will want pots and pans prepped for solar cooking.  First things first, find your solar pots and lids and spray the outside of them flat black.   

    When I cleaned out my cabinet last fall looking for more storage space, I came across a set of T-fal cookware I had not used since the five piece set came with ONE interchangeable handle.  ONE!  It broke, but the pots and pans were still useful and I assumed I would eventually find a handle at a yard sale.  Not so! I use these non-stick pots with their matching lids, strictly for solar cooking.  

     Once you have the pots you will use, you have the dimensions you will need for your solar oven.  For example, I can not tell you how big your small sauce pot with the lid on it is, so I cannot tell you the size of oven you need.  This is up to what you have or are willing to acquire.  
This is a Pyrex bowl and lid inverted
the lid is clipped for non-slip.
The dark pan inside is from the camp cookware and works because it is dark.
     The simplest solar oven is a cooking bag and a pot.  The turkey size roasting bag will work, but only once or twice. 

     A Pyrex or glass salad bowl lasts till you break the bowl! 

    Make up your recipe in a sauce pot, the darker the pot, the better.  Place the sauce pot on a wood, or ceramic side of a tile, not the glazed tile surface, or on a stack of newspapers, anything that will keep the pot from touching the earth and thereby leaching heat into the soil.  Turn your large glass salad bowl over the pot.  You may have to move the 'oven' to keep it in the sun, but beyond this, all you need are recipes and time.  In the above photo you can see the dual purpose Pyrex brand glass bowl and lid used as a solar oven.
     The next step up in solar ovens is the inner tube oven.  Placed on a piece of plywood,  the inner tube absorbs the sun's rays and insulates the pot.  The magnifier is a plain piece of glass.

     If after using these ovens, you feel it takes too long or there should be a way to avoid moving and re-positioning the oven AND speed the process, there is.  

     Next step up in solar ovens, add an amplifier!  This is as easy to produce as kindergarten art.  Take a box and line it with aluminum foil.  Remove the top of the box.  Cut the seams of the box on two corners.  Lay the cut away side down.  Line the three remaining upright sides on the inside with aluminum foil.  Line the inside bottom and the open flat flap with foil, also.  place your oven on the inside of the foil lined box and turn to the sun as it rises or sets to catch more of the sun as it moves.  simple! 

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