Friday, June 1, 2007
Frugal Friday--Cooking With the Sun/CoH Too!
No, I'm not crazy. Not much, anyway. You really can cook with the sun. Solar power is free! When you cook with the sun, you don't heat up the kitchen. This is also a great project for the family. You'll only need simple supplies, such as cardboard boxes, aluminum foil, glue, and oven cooking bags. This article at Wikipedia for the Minimal Solar Box Cooker has the plans and instructions, as well as links for further help in using the solar oven. Backwoods Home also has a great article on making a solar cooker and cooking with the sun. Knowledge Hound has a page of links to check out, including a link for a making S'mores in the solar oven. (Are you hooked yet?) You'll quickly see that there are variations on the design.
According to Solar Haven, "You can bake bread and cook stews and casseroles, using only the energy of the sun. The sun's rays are concentrated with one or more reflectors and collected in a black, well insulated box. Its hard to believe, but it works--with temperatures in the oven of 300-350 degrees on a hot sunny day, 175-250 degrees with partial sun and clouds. Since food is cooked slowly at relatively low temperature in a solar oven (as in a crock pot), food retains more of its flavor and vitamins and is quite simply delicious. Cooking in a solar oven retains more of the moisture in the food than in a traditional oven. Place the ingredients in the oven in the morning, enjoy your day, and return to a hot meal ready to serve. For days when the sun doesn't shine, you can always go back to your regular stove and use some of the electricity or gas you have saved."
Not only can you save cooking and house cooling costs by using the solar oven, you and your family can learn about how the solar oven works, explore cooking different foods in the oven, and discuss how people in poor countries can use the sun to cook their food without electricity, gas, or wood.
"In areas where people have always cooked with wood, there is now serious deforestation and associated problems. Women must spend days searching and carrying firewood simply to cook meals. There is however no lack of sunshine and with SCI's help, these women and men learn to build solar cookers and this simple technology has a profound effect on their lives and the environment."Source
If you wish to purchase an oven or support the purchase of ovens for people around the world who lack resources to cook for themselves, you'll find much resource information at the Solar Oven Society.
For further studies and uses (such as canning, food dehydrating, water pasteurization, and medical uses) go to The Solar Cooking Archive. Also, check out their Wiki for more info.
More Frugal Friday.
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