Meet the Ovens

I am currently using three solar ovens.  Click on the thumbnails to get a close-up view of each one.

I built my first solar oven in the summer of 2006.  I followed the minimum box cooker plans at www.solarcooking.org.  It has seen a lot of use and is getting a bit tattered.  I’ll have to remodel it one of these days.

My second oven is a slightly smaller one made from an LCD monitor box.  The walls are made of several layers of cardboard and it has a Plexiglas top.  The result is a very sturdy oven that should last a long time.  This oven is well insulated and retains heat much better than my other two ovens.  It still has the original plastic handle which makes it somewhat portable as well.

My most recent project is a panel style oven built using the plans for the Kundaper variation of the CooKit. It is really just a piece of cardboard with layer of aluminum foil, cut and folded to direct the sunlight to the cooking vessel.  An oven bag encloses the cooking vessel to create a “greenhouse” effect.

Gentlemen, start your solar ovens!

Sometime last summer I came up with the idea that I’d like to live for a few weeks on only solar cooked food.  I’m not sure of the motivation for this other than simply to prove that it can be done.  For those that don’t already know, I live in Pennsylvania, which isn’t exactly the sunshine capital of the world.  However, I now have three solar ovens, so when a sunny day comes along, I can cook a lot of food quickly.  Here are the rules I’ve established for myself:

  • I won’t eat any cooked food except that cooked in a solar oven.  Precooked ham and vegetables are off limits.
  • I’m not going to be religious about condiments.  I’ll allow myself to use ketchup, butter, and similar items that may have met up with a traditional oven in their past.  Just in case making Dr. Pepper uses an oven; yes, I’m allowed to drink that as well.
  • Raw fruits and vegetables are OK (after all, I don’t want my survival to depend on the weather).
  • Use of the microwave, even for thawing and warming of food, is off-limits.
  • I plan to do this for two weeks or until I decide otherwise. 🙂

Today was an excellent day for solar cooking but we were planning to visit friends for supper.  Therefore, I decided to begin solar cooking today, and start my solar-food-only binge tomorrow.

Here’s what I cooked today in preparation for the days ahead:

  • An entire chicken
  • “Hard-boiled” a dozen eggs for making egg-salad (I don’t use water, so really no boiling involved).
  • A batch of biscuits from those cans of dough you buy in the supermarket
  • Some “crust-less” apple pie

New to solar cooking?  For a wealth of information on the subject, go to www.solarcooking.org.