Have you ever used the phrase, “It’s as hot as an oven out here”? With a solar oven, it really can be.
A solar oven is what it sounds like; a device which uses the energy of direct sunlight to heat and cook food. As a green lifestyle alternative, solar cookers are an incredible investment because they use no fuel and cost nothing to operate.
Worldwide awareness has come about with solar ovens to help reduce fuel cost and carbon gas emissions. This also has the added benefit of slowing down the deforestation and desertification caused by gathering firewood for cooking. It is also a more practical and safer alternative than cooking with s traditional, fueled cooker.
Here are a couple of types that can be made or ordered.
Box Cooker Style
The box cooker is more or less a crock pot from nature. It has a transparent glass or plastic top and reflectors to concentrate sunlight into the box. The sunlight will heat the inside of the box to about 150 °C (300 °F). When you consider food containing a lot of moisture cannot get much hotter than 100 °C (212 °F) you are in the clear. This also means you can simply let your food continue to cook for a long while without worries that it is going to burn- thus a crock pot.
Panel Solar Cooker Style
Panel solar cookers use reflective panels to direct sunlight to a cooking pot that is enclosed in a clear plastic bag or box. You can make one of these at home by gluing a reflective material, such as aluminum foil, onto corrugated cardboard. Recycled cardboard and aluminum foil can be used to make these cookers so it is truly a green alternative.
Just remember when making one of these to keep the dimensions of the box proportionate to the black cookpot you will be using; too close and you will not gather enough solar light, too far and you will not concentrate it enough.
Building your own designed solar oven is fun and safe, There’s no chance of blowing anything up or electrical shock. They can be made from recyclables so they are highly economical.
One safety tip to keep in mind is that they will get hot. Make sure whatever materials you do use will be proofed to at least 150 °C (300 °F) for when the oven gets up to temperature.
Have fun building your oven, stay safe and bon apatite.
Sites for plans on a wide array of home solar cooking ovens, check out: SolarCooking.Org