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Topic: Tonight I cooked dinner using the sun! (Super easy and cheap solar oven)  (Read 24146 times)
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ladybuggems
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« on: June 25, 2008 10:20:08 PM »

I'm 8 months pregnant and it's been hot (at least for me) here in soCal, so I was looking for a way to cook a meal without heating my house up...I came upon this awesome site on building your own solar ovens: http://www.solarcooking.org/plans/  Solar ovens also have the awesome benefit of requiring no energy input other than the sun and no pollutants, etc....very earth-friendly!

I was inspired to try out the simple plan for making a funnel-style solar cooker with a windshield sun shade that people use to keep their cars cool.  I didn't want to spend a lot of time or money on the thing...I bought a jumbo size (think for a big truck windshield) sunshade at Walmart for $3.50, and some Reynolds Oven Bags for $2.  I already had a black anodized aluminum pot with a glass lid, a cake rack and some clothespins lying around, so this was a very cheap experiment.

After some fiddling with the shade and several different clothespin constructed designs, I finally got the shape I thought I'd need, and tried it out today with just 2 inches of water in the pot:

The shade was a bit floppy, so I used my kiddo's chair to prop the thing up.

After an hour on a 73F day, the water was steaming, bubbles were forming on the bottom and sides of the pot and the pot itself was too hot to touch.  Convinced I could get the pot hot, I tried making an indian style curry for dinner in the thing...raw chicken and all even though I wasn't sure it would be hot enough to cook something.

Dinner ala Solar Oven:

I used the oven bag this time, hoping that would keep the heat in.
After 2.5 hours in the sun, here's how it looked:



Chicken and veggies cooked perfectly! My own solar crock pot!

Anyway, I'm pretty thrilled at how cheap and easy it was...so I thought I'd share.  The best part of this design is that I can take it apart and fold up the shade for storage....it'd be great for camping or  for a picnic too.
This site has some great info on solar cooking, including recipes, etc if you'd like more info:
http://www.solarcooking.org/





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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2008 10:24:08 PM »

wow I wanna do that  just cause its cool!  thanks for sharing
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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2008 10:33:12 PM »

I got back a few weeks from volunteering in India and I so wish I had read this sooner.  Although I'm in moderately warm NY right now, I would like to give this a try.

Thanks for the link!
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Avian Flight
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2008 10:45:10 PM »

wow that is pretty cool. so simple and amazing!
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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2008 10:45:56 PM »

oh wow...that's really impressive!   Shocked

on really hot days i'm always tempted to try to bake cookies in my car (it gets so hot in there!) because 1.) it'd be a funny story to tell and 2.) my car would smell amazing.   Tongue
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2008 10:48:01 PM »

Awesome! This is the best thing i've seen in a long time.
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meriweather
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2008 10:55:41 PM »

Great Idea!! I was wondering where in SoCal you found 73 degree's then I realized this was posted a while ago. Bet it works even better this week. I live in the SF Valley, and it has really been hot. Can't wait to try it. Thanks
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ScotSkipper402
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2008 11:01:46 PM »

Wow! Must try this! Hope YOU feel cooler soon!
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ladybuggems
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« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2008 11:24:35 PM »

Great Idea!! I was wondering where in SoCal you found 73 degree's then I realized this was posted a while ago. Bet it works even better this week. I live in the SF Valley, and it has really been hot. Can't wait to try it. Thanks

Actually this was today in San Diego...I know, especially compared to you up there, I really can't complain about the heat at under 80F..but I am near the coast, and between the humidity and the fun that is pregnancy hormones, I still like to   Cheesy

I got back a few weeks from volunteering in India and I so wish I had read this sooner.  Although I'm in moderately warm NY right now, I would like to give this a try.

Thanks for the link!

From what I've read, hot or even warm weather really isn't required to cook with a solar oven if your set-up is efficient enough....many people cook this way year round in the bottom half of the US (although maybe not in NY).  Good Luck!

Wow! Must try this! Hope YOU feel cooler soon!

Thanks ScotSkipper402!  Grin
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« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2008 03:45:45 AM »

Wow! Good for you! I tried this a few times last year, and I love it. I made some killer rice and bean dishes and some brownies out in the driveway. Now if only I could have been tie-dyeing at the same time...   Smiley   
The story behind this cooker (and many other versions) is a good read, too.
Stay cool!!
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