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The Solar Cookshop is your one stop Internet resource for everything to do with solar cooking - from products and reviews to DIY advice and tasty recipes - you'll find it all here. Our passion for solar cooking comes from our love of the outdoors and the opportunity to spend time relaxing with family and friends over a leisurely meal. Of course a barbeque provides the ideal catalyst for all of this and a charcoal grill is certainly a backup when there is no sun. But eating outside when it is cool and cloudy loses a lot of the appeal so our traditional charcoal burner doesn't get much use these days. A further driver for our interest in these products is a growing concern for the environment and the ever dwindling fossil fuel stocks. Fuel from the sun is clean, powerful and free - what more could you ask ?
We offer a range of solar cooking products and accessories on this site as well as a lot of information to guide you through choosing the right equipment for your needs and budget. We even have a section on how to make your own solar oven for yourself or your kids and sone of our favourite recipes. We hope you enjoy using the site and welcome your feedback.
Asolar oven works by capturing the rays of the sun on a highly reflective surface and directing and focussing that energy to concentrate the heat in one place. There are various types of solar oven but the basic principle is the same - collecting the energy from the sun to produce enough heat to cook food.
There are numerous benefits of using a solar cooker. Here are some of the key points:
This video introduces the SunCook soalr oven manufactured by SunOK in Portugal and is one of the products available to order through our website for US delivery. The oven is in the form of a box which holds the cooking pot containing the food to be cooked. There is a double-glazed lid on the box which retains heat within the cooking area. The inside of the box is well insulated to further help heat retention. A second lid unfolds to reveal a highly reflective mirror which directs sunlight into the interior compartment.
The cooking compartment is painted black allowing it to absorb the sun's ebergy and release heat into the cooking area. This allows the oven to be pre-heated before adding the cooking pot. The sun's energy is also captured by a side mirror which helps to avoid the need to keep repositioning the oven towards the sun during the cooking process. The included sun dial makes it easy to find the correct prientation of the oven. The sun oven is made from specially selected recyclable plastic materials.
Because of people’s increased awareness when it comes to the importance of lowering energy consumption, solar cooking is becoming more and more popular these days. This alternative method is winning the hearts of many because of its efficiency. Aside from being able to contribute in reducing energy consumption, using solar energy also lowers the monthly expenses significantly.
How much heat from the sun is needed?
To understand solar cooking much better, do not imagine it as cooking using light. Sunlight on its own is not hot, but instead, it is the light photons hitting another object’s particles, which produces heat.
Partly cloudy skies will already do fine when it comes to preparing food which needs to be cooked slowly like stews and soups. This is great for vegetables too since these can easily turn to brown with just minimal heat. For dishes which require high amount of heat like deep frying and baking, it would be necessary to have clear skies. When there are thick cloud layers and the cooking area is covered by shadow, the desired temperature may not be reached.
How is the heat concentrated?
The most important part in trapping the heat from the sun is the reflective mirror. Glass with high-polish, metal film or smooth metal works too. The interior of the solar oven is usually done in color black using non-toxic paint or soot. This makes it easier to convert light to heat. Since heat tends to escape fast, using a plastic bag allows easier trapping of heat. Some solar ovens have built-in glass cover which seals in the heat. The sides need to have thermal insulation which would not crumple or burn up even if the heat reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit or 150 degrees Centigrade. Hence, as the sunlight enters the solar oven, the light becomes converted to heat and this energy is entrapped inside.
What are the cooking temperatures?
The temperatures which can be reached by the solar cooker depend on the construction. A box oven, which is one type of solar cooker, can go as high as 300 degrees Fahrenheit or 150 degrees Centigrade. This amount of heat can already be good enough for cooking meat. A solar oven which has more laborious construction like the parabolic cooker can reach higher temperature. It could reach up to 400 degrees F or 204 degrees C. Since this is hotter and usually much bigger, it is used for baking or deep frying. More portable versions of the solar cooker result to lower amount of heat. An example of portable ones is the panel cooker which can be used for camping and simple reheating of food.
How long does cooking time take?
There are certain variables which come into play when it comes to the amount of time that is needed in cooking food using solar energy. Among the considerations include the construction of solar oven, type and amount of food to cook and the intensity of sunlight the cooker gets. Even the wind and air temperature are considerable factors too.
For portable and smaller solar cookers, it usually takes just about 15 minutes to have butter completely molten. For more complex cooking which needs higher amount of heat like baking cookies, these could take up to two hours. When there is water involved just like in cooking rice, the amount which can serve four people can take around four hours. If the sun is more intense, cooking time can be reduced to half. Solar cookers which can trap heat more effectively make the process much faster too.
What types of food can be prepared?
Never underestimate the power of a solar cooker. It can cook everything that the stove can like fry, bake, blanch vegetables, make stews and a whole lot of others. The process may take a longer period of time but the wait is well worth it.
Solar cooking is becoming a popular choice for many because of its numerous benefits. With the increasing awareness of people when it comes to this environmentally-friendly cooking method, energy consumption and production of pollutants can be reduced. Some may easily get discouraged to try out this method because it can make cooking take a bit longer. However, with all the wonderful benefits it could bring, the cooking time would become such a miniscule concern.
Solar cooking makes use of the potential energy which can be derived from the sun. As the photons in the sunlight become more active, this is then transformed into heat. With the use of a solar cooker, the heat is trapped, making it usable for cooking.
This entire process does not involve use of any non-renewable resource, like fuel. Hence, it is a good way to contribute in the conservation of fast depleting resources that Mother Nature has to offer. Aside from that, it does not emit pollutants too, just like what happens when wood or coal is burned. Solar cooking is safe for the ozone layer.
When using coal, wood or fuel for cooking, the fire that is produced also give off pollutants, just like carbon fumes. These pollutants mix with the atmosphere which people breathe in. This could be dangerous, especially for enclosed households because the microparticles are inhaled constantly. In the long run, there is a possibility that the inhaled pollutants could result to respiratory ailments and other health problems.
With solar cooking, there is no need to worry about carbon fumes and other hazardous microparticles which could come from the fire. Even if the cooking area is enclosed, the atmosphere remains safe for health.
Portable and Safe
Yes, there are solar cookers which are constructed to be big enough to handle cooking food in massive volume. However, there are also smaller ones which come in light and compact design. These are the ones which can be easily brought along during camping and family trips.
To top it all off, the solar oven is far safer to use. There is no need to worry that it might result to a big fire, just like when using logs and wood for cooking.
It is a good idea to have a solar oven at home which can be easily brought out during unexpected situations. Yes, families usually have their gas-fuelled grills, electric stoves or ovens, but what happens when these suddenly would not function? For example, if there is a shortage in fuel, does it mean that the entire family would just go hungry? For such situations, the solar cooker can be a great solution. Afterall, so long as there is sunlight, this oven would surely be able to handle the cooking of various types of food.
Solution to World Food Problem
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of parts in the world wherein people experience starvation. Aside from the food shortage, their main problem is that they have no means of preparing their food well. They do not have sufficient supply of fuel nor electricity. The use of solar oven is a remedy for this global problem. It does not take much to be able to create the cooker. Aside from that, once the cooker is constructed, there is no need to spend more just to be able to prepare food. All thanks to the sunlight and the solar oven, more people are able to cook their food well. They do not have to endure digestive problems too. They can pasteurize, boil and process their food properly so that the contaminants would not cause health issues.
The Importance Of Shade
When outdoors enjoying the sunshine it is important to be aware of the dangers of UV radiation and the importance of adequate shade. Although the sun's energy is vital for the operation of a solar cooker it can have a damaging effect on the skin. We recommend that you keep yourself covered with a suitable sun protection agent that will absorb the harmful UV radiation. You may also wish to consider the provision of additional outdoor shade. One of the latest product innovations in this field is the shade sail. Shade Sails or Sun Sails as they are sometimes known have been used for shade since Roman times and are both an effective and stylish shade solution. In the US market fcprac.com are leading suppliers of shade sails manufactured by Sail Shade World in Australia..
Different people have varying cooking practices and needs. Hence, it is a good thing that solar cookers also come in different types and sizes. That way, it would not be such a hard thing to find the one which will work perfectly.
Are you considering getting one too? Then you might want to familiarize yourself with the different types first so you can pick the best one.
Technically, there are numerous types of solar cooker across the globe. It is primarily because the amount of sun that hits a particular place can vary a lot too. Hence, people who venture into DIY projects to create their own sun cooker generally make modifications to the basic design. The materials may be diverse and the construction could be greatly dissimilar, but today there are three basic types of solar cooker which have been widely used in different parts of the world. See which one of these will match your preferences.
Panel oven is the simplest form of solar cooker, but also the least efficient. It requires the use of a pot or pan which should have a darkened color. There should also be a glass bowl or an oven cooking bag which serves as the layer between the cooking vessel and the solar panels to help retain heat. Then, the panels can be constructed using mirrors, corrugated carton wrapped in aluminum foil or any high-gloss, high-polish material.
Panel cooker is much easier to construct since the only thing which needs to be created are the panels. Once it is done, it is all a matter of putting the cooking vessel right at the center. The solar panels reflect the sunlight and convert it to heat which penetrates the cooking vessel. The glass bowl or cooking oven which fences the cooking vessel should prevent heat from escaping so that cooking is more efficient.
This is the most common type of sun oven these days because of the simplistic design. It works pretty much like how an ordinary oven would. It is an insulated, enclosed box structure which traps in the heat. The sunlight can penetrate through the transparent covering which becomes converted to heat.
There are various materials which can be used in creating a box oven. This could be made of wood, plastic or cardboard box. The important thing is that there should be two boxes of different sizes. That way, the smaller one can be placed inside the bigger one and the gap which is in between the two can be filed with hay, paper or fiberglass as insulation. Plastic sheets or glass can be placed on top to allow sunlight to get in and at the same time, the transformed heat would remain trapped inside.
The parabolic cooker is a little more complex but this is more efficient in cooking too. Since it is capable of producing more heat, it is best to use it with extreme care or supervision of someone who truly understands its functions.
The main reason why it is called, parabolic cooker, is because it entails the use of a dome-shaped panel. This should also have a reflective or high-polished surface so it can convert sunlight to heat. Then the cooking vessel is suspended such that it is directly within the portion where the highest amount of heat can be achieved.
There are commercial establishments which use this type of solar cooker to be able to process their food products. Yes, the construction may be a bit more elaborate and the size of the cooking vessel can limit the amount of food that can be cooked, but it is still preferred for commercial use because of the impressive amount of heat it can deliver.
Do you know that there are also a lot of recipes which you can create using solar cooker? A lot of people easily assume that solar cooking is not capable of delivering the same results as a conventional fuel-operated stove, but that is not true!
Numerous types of dishes can be prepared using the right type of solar cooker. If you also want to enjoy the benefits of this earth-friendly and energy-saving cooking technique, then dig deep into the facts that would help you cook successfully using solar energy.
Solar Vs. Conventional Cooking
We are all too familiar with the conventional gas stove, right? It uses fuel in order to create fire. In some cases, the stove can also be powered by electricity. What about solar cooking? What makes it so different from the traditional stove?
Unlike stoves which need fuel, solar cooker does not need any of the non-renewable resources like fuel or coal. It does not even need wood too. It utilizes the potential energy which sunlight contains. To make things even better, solar cooker also generates high amount of heat but does not emit any pollutants.
Compared to traditional method of cooking, the end product of solar cooking may slightly look different. When frying, grilling or baking using the solar cooker, the darker side appears on the surface instead of the bottom. Aside from that, it may also take a slightly longer period of time before the food is cooked because the escalation of temperature is more gradual. Technically, solar cooking is safer too since it does not have the tendency to cause fire or burn quickly.
Solar Oven Vs. Parabolic Solar Cooker
Solar oven works pretty much like the normal oven. On the other hand, parabolic cooker results to food preparation that is similar to grilling. Why?
Solar oven is typically an enclosed box which allows sunlight to enter through the glass panel top. Solar oven utilizes the trapped heat so that the food would be warm all over, from top to bottom and even to the sides. The atmosphere with high heat cooks the food from outside to the inside and often results to evenness.
On the other hand, parabolic solar cooker utilizes a concave panel which concentrates the sunlight and transforms heat. The cooking vessel is also strategically suspended over the panels. It has to be situated within the area wherein the highest amount of heat can directly hit the cooking vessel. For most users of parabolic solar cooker, they set up a rectangular base right above the solar panel. Hence, when the food is cooked, it appears like it has been grilled.
Recipes for Solar Cooking
Since solar cooker works pretty much like the typical oven or grill, there is a wide variety of recipes which can be prepared using it.
For box solar cookers, these can be used for preparing dishes which require steady heat for longer period of time. For quick cooking like blanching or preparing half-cooked vegetables, this is a good option too. It is also ideal for stews, soups and even for cooking rice. This type of solar cooker can also be used for baking.
Parabolic solar cooker works quite differently from the box type. This produces higher amount of heat and the increase of temperature is much faster. This would be good for grilling thicker slabs of meat or deep frying.
Solar cooker is not only good for frying eggs. With the right technique and sufficient amount of sunlight, there are almost endless possibilities on the dishes which can be created using it. Discover how hot your solar cooker can get using a thermometer so you can experiment on different recipes too.
Camping - Want a back-up in case your gas-powered stove runs out of fuel? The solar oven is the perfect solution -- much simpler and safer than trying to cook over an open fire. 
Making a solar oven is a fun science project and allows you to make several kinds of treats using heat harnessed from the sun. 
Commercial solar ovens are available, but a homemade solar oven is an easy project that makes use of common household items. 
Cooking with a homemade solar oven is a creative and environmentally friendly way to cook food and is based on the principles of solar gain and insulation. 
A hybrid solar oven is a solar box cooker equipped with a conventional electrical heating element for cloudy days or nighttime cooking. 
A solar oven is a passive solar heating device that uses neither fuel or electricity. 
A solar cooker, or solar oven, is a device which uses the energy of sunlight to heat food or drink to cook it or sterilize it.  This oven is extremely easy to use, just put it out in the backyard, take it along to your event or sport, solar cook your food and forget about it for 2 to 5 hours and come back and the food is done! It will not overcook food because the temperature stays more moderate, like cooking in a solar crock pot all day! Generally, a 1 1/2 quart pot of rice will cook in 1 1/2 to 2 hours and a chicken will usually bake in 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  This low cost, high performance Hot Pot solar oven can come up to cooking temperatures with in an hour, perfect for baked goods, meat, beans, rice, slow cooking stews or any food that can fit in the Extra Large Capacity 10 x 6" (3 quart) pot. 
A hybrid solar oven is a solar box cooker equipped with a conventional electrical heating element for cloudy days or nighttime cooking.  High efficiency solar oven that is capable of reaching oven cooking temperatures approaching 400 degrees Fahrenheit or more using just direct summertime sunlight.  Do not use a solar oven for foods that must reach a high temperature or cook rapidly. Developed primarily for use in first world countries where both solar energy and electricity usage is abundant a hybrid solar ovens can be a convenient and reliabile cooking appliance.  The VILLAGER SOLAR OVEN is designed to feed a village! It is designed for large scale feeding situations that require cooking great volumes of food quickly.  Place food to be cooked in the solar oven. (See "How to Use a Solar Oven," under Related eHows.) See more info below video: Here is a video showing the Hotpot Solar Cooker in action boiling a pot of beans Press the Arrow in the middle of the picture below to Play Video: The HotPot solar oven comes with the large heavy duty black enameled steel pot and glass cooker that is pictured above.  No stirring is necessary to prevent scorching when cooking in a Solar Oven due to the fact that there are no hot spots.  Solar ovens are small closed systems that cook food by the reflected heat of the sun. When the sun is out the oven acts as a solar oven, but when the sun disappears for longer than a few minutes and when the temperature cools down several degrees, then it acts as an electric oven cycling itself on and off between electric and solar when the sun reappears.  The solar oven tracker follows the path of the sun and rotates your solar oven throughout the day.  Heaven Sent Food is a guide to solar cooking that includes tips on buying a solar oven, cooking techniques, and 115 recipes that are designed to bring delicious, affordable, and nutritious food to your table.  With a few adjustments, you can use your own recipes to cook almost anything in a solar oven that you would in. Anything you can cook in a conventional electric or gas oven can be cooked in a Solar Oven.  Solar ovens are safe as there is no burning charcoal or exposed open flames used as a heat source.  Solar Ovens can be used in winter as well as summer! The most important factor is the brightness of the day.  It is designed to be used with the Sun Oven, but some of our customers have used it with our other Solar Ovens.  A solar oven, when built according to the simple directions, is a low-tech but effective method for cooking food. Michael Hönes of Germany have established solar cooking in Lesotho, enabling small groups of women to build up community bakeries using solar ovens.  Need a sunny-day science experiment? Making a solar oven from a delivery pizza box is a fun way to spend an afternoon. On a sunny day don't plug it in to the electricity at all and use just as regular solar oven.  The slow, even rise in temperatures in a Solar Oven gives the complex carbohydrates time to break down into simple sugars allowing subtle natural flavors to emerge.  When solar ovens are placed outside, they do not contribute unwanted heat inside houses.  Besides heating liquids, since the stagnating temperature of solar vacuum glass tubes is a high 220 °C (428°F), these solar kettles can also deliver dry heat and function as ovens and autoclaves.  High-tech versions, for example electric ovens powered by solar cells, are possible, and have some advantages such as being able to work in diffuse light. 
Food is prepared as it would be for an oven or stove top. Because food cooks faster when it is in smaller pieces, food placed inside a solar cooker is usually cut into smaller pieces than it might otherwise be.  Although various ideas for high-tech solar cookers have been proposed, such as the electric oven powered by solar cells mentioned in the introduction, very few of them have progressed past the experimental stage to the point where they are used in practice.  Although paraboloidal solar cookers can cook as well as a conventional oven, they are difficult to construct.  Food tastes much better than food cooked in a conventional oven! Solar cooking allows many of the natural flavors of food, which get baked out in conventional ovens, to remain. 
Solar ovens focus and capture the sun's energy to heat up cooking pots, cooking surfaces, and food.  Solar ovens draw their heat and cooking power from the sun, an all natural power source.  Solar Oven - a compact portable device that will cook anything using only the power of the sun New Solar Oven Cooks Food Even When You Don't Have Wood, Gas, or Electricity! A solar oven uses the heat of the sun to cook foods at temperatures between 225 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit.  This page describes our experience with solar ovens at Casa Juliana (in south Texas) in the 1990's, which lead to the development of a solar oven that had a high heat potential (nearly 600 degrees F), was easy to focus and allowed the cooking container to remain level regardless of oven angle. Solar ovens get hotter faster if the surface area catching the rays of the sun is larger and if the cooking pot or pan is insulated by trapped air during the cooking process.  Put the food inside the pot, place the pot on the preheated solar oven. and voilà! Your food will start cooking. You can cook anything in a solar oven that you would in a traditional oven, but as with a crock pot, cooking will take about twice as long.  Solar ovens are insulated, covered boxes that collect the heat from the sun to bake food.  Making a solar oven is a fun science project and allows you to make several kinds of treats using heat harnessed from the sun. 
Cohen launched the website Power from the Sun to educate people worldwide on the benefits of solar cooking and help raise money to send solar ovens to needy families in Haiti. No flames are ever necessary!The Tulsi-Hybrid® can operate in 3 different ways: 1) Simply point the Tulsi-HybridÃ‚ ® towards the sun and adjust the back reflector panel to shine the suns sunlight into the ovens dark cooking chamber.2) You can plug the Tulsi-Hybrids power cord into any standard 110V outlet, inverter, or back up generator.3) You can use both the solar and electric.  Ultimate in solar oven technology up to 400F. (Convenient, reliable, economical). 90% reflective scratch resistant reflector panel for longer wear and higher cooking temps. (Higher reflectivity than a standard glass mirror).  This innovative hybrid oven has an additional advantage other models can't touch: it runs off either direct sunlight or any 110V power source, so on cloudier days you can continue cooking when other solar ovens quit working.  Cooking with a solar oven just might be an answer to your prayers if you ever wanted to cook while camping.  Using solar ovens to cook or reheat food and boil water can help reduce the costs of your monthly utility bills and potentially reduce your impact on the environment.  Small solar ovens can cook one- to two- serving meals and will require food to be cooked in smaller, shallower containers such as a black bread or meatloaf pan.  Gaiam Hybrid Solar Cooker Sun Oven Portable Cooker by Sun BD Corporation This unique hybrid solar oven by Sun BD Corporation cooks no matter what the weather. In modern solar ovens, temperatures can reach over 400 degrees, and some are large enough to cook for thousands of people a day.  People who enjoy slow cooking with a crock pot may also enjoy cooking with a solar oven.  High performance solar oven with "energy miser" back up AC 110v electric elements (Allowing ANYTIME cooking).  Eggs can be cooked in a solar oven, but the cooking time is longer and the techniques slightly different.  To rate a solar oven, you will need to assess your personal cooking needs, and be able to examine a solar oven to determine if it is high quality.  Cooking with a homemade solar oven is a creative and environmentally friendly way to cook food and is based on the principles of solar gain and insulation.  The reflectors are designed for areas far from the tropics when the solar oven competes with cold air temperatures and a lower angle of the sun. Most solar ovens require three basic components: a dark, shallow thin metal pot; a heat trap; and reflectors to concentrate sunlight onto the pot.  Five South Dakota State University football players volunteered to help Haiti Solar Oven Partners load a container with 1000 unassembled solar box cookers destined for Haiti.  One meal a week from a solar oven will help reduce both energy use and your monthly bills.  With a few adjustments, you can use your own recipes to cook almost anything in a solar oven that you would in a conventional oven.  With a solar oven you can cook just about anything so long as the sun is shining. Great for RVer's, Boaters, Campers, Tailgater's and Backyard Chefs. _____ The solar oven with ATTITUDE !!! Nationally recognized, the Tulsi-Hybrid solar cooking oven is the greener way to cook outdoors.  Students set a world record and bring awareness to the benefits of solar cooking - Students, parents, faculty, staff and friends gathered at Miami Country Day School located in Miami, Florida, USA on Friday, April 20, 2012 and set the Guinness Book of World Records™ for "The Most Cookies Baked in One Hour Using Solar Ovens".  I feel good after using the Sport Solar Oven for three reasons: first, the food is always delicious; second, I haven't used a single watt of electricity or therm of gas; third, I am self reliant - I do not rely on any company, pipe, mine or tree for preparing my food It's nearly impossible to burn a meal using your solar oven due to the how evenly the food is cooked
It is designed to be used with the "Sun Oven", but some of our customers have used it successfully with our other Solar Ovens.  Solar ovens use sunlight to cook food, are easy to use, and are economically efficient.  Solar ovens are a cheap and environmentally friendly means of harnessing the heat potential of sunlight to cook food.  Parabolic solar ovens have several advantages over more boxlike designs, mostly in that they are more capable of capturing and focusing the sun's heat.  I was going to have the teams use the solar ovens but I did not have the budget for that so we are having the students design their own ovens.  We decided to design a solar oven with features that would encourage continued use Commercial solar ovens are available, but a homemade solar oven is an easy project that makes use of common household items.  South Dakota, USA nonprofit has delivered thousands of solar cookers to Haiti - Haiti Solar Oven Partners passed a milestone this spring by delivering another 1000 solar cookers as part of the relief effort resulting from the 2010 earthquake.  Cardboard box solar ovens can reach temperatures of more than 250 degrees Fahrenheit in ideal situations.  Whether you're looking for an alternative to the traditional oven or need to pasteurize water for drinking, you can make a small solar oven from a shoe box.  In the bleakest situations, solar thermal power can begin to meet two important needs: a solar oven can pasteurize water and cook food. 
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