Harness the "free" energy from the sun and use a solar oven to cook your food. These ovens are easy on the environment, cost effective, and highly portable. Cooking with solar heat preserves the nutrients in food and reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses. In many of the less developed countries in the world, solar cooking has long been a primary cooking method. In areas where electricity is not readily available or affordable, it is often the only alternative to cooking over wood fires.
Whether you are looking to buy an oven or make your own, they are great for camping, traveling, and picnics. Solar cookers are an excellent alternative to conventional cooking methods.
Top Five Solar Ovens to Purchase
The Global SunOven
The Global SunOven is a box-style solar cooker that reaches temperatures of 360 F to 400 F using only energy from the sun. This unit can bake, boil or steam food without the need for fuel. This sun oven can also be used as a slow cooker and left to cook food all day long.The built-in thermometer allows you to check on temperature throughout the cooking process. It is about the size of a small suitcase, weighs only 21 pounds and has a carrying handle, making it totally portable and easy to store. The sun oven comes with a 30 day complete money-back guarantee.
Sun Focus Solar - Electric Cooking Oven
The Sun Focus Solar-Electric Cooking Oven offers two cooking options, solar and 110V electric for those days when the sun refuses to shine. The interior of this oven is large and will easily hold a good size turkey, chicken or casserole dish, making it perfect for family cooking. Internal oven temperatures reach 400 F and heat is easily retained for long periods of time due to a EPDM moisture seal.
SOS Sport Solar Oven Combo
The SOS Sport Solar Oven Combo is perfect for a fishing, hiking or camping trip or emergency cooking. This oven can reach and maintain an internal temperature of 210 F to 260 F. A manual, two cooking pots, and a recipe book make solar cooking on this oven easy. This oven is lightweight and easy to pack, weighing only 10 pounds.
Hybrid Solar Cooker Sun Oven Portable Cooker by Sun BD Corporation
The Hybrid Solar Cooker Sun Oven is designed to work with the sun or with the included 120V outlet. An included sensor switches the unit between solar and electric as needed if you are cooking on a cloudy day. This oven works well in RVs and in other situations when power is not available. This unit comes complete with cooking pans, thermometer, and an oven mitt.
Scott Resources SR-GS4702 Solar Oven
The Scott Resources SR-GS4702 Solar Oven is perfect for those wishing to gain solar cooking experience or for teaching children about the value of solar energy. This oven comes with a teacher's guide and suggestions for classroom experiments. Oven temperatures reach 350 F.
Children's Solar Oven Project
There is no better way to teach children about sun power than to have them construct a simple, yet powerful solar oven. This project makes an excellent science project.
If you need help downloading the printable, check out these helpful tips.
- Cardboard pizza box
- Aluminum foil
- Clear tape
- Heavy-duty freezer bag
- Black construction paper
- Wooden spoon
- Draw a square on the lid of the pizza box that is 1 inch smaller than the box on all sides.
- Cut three sides of the square to make a flap.
- Fold the flap so that it stands up when the lid is closed.
- Cover the inside of the flap with aluminum foil, using tape to secure it to the cardboard.
- Cut the freezer bag open along the seams.
- Open the box lid and tape the freezer bag to the inside of the flap hole. This will create an airtight window for sunlight to enter the box.
- Put black construction paper on the inside of the bottom of the box.
- Roll up several sheets of newspaper and tape them around the inside of the box bottom. Be sure that the lid can still close.
Directions for Use
- Use the oven between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is highest.
- Adjust the flap until as much sunlight as possible is reflecting off of the foil to the window area.
- Use a ruler to keep the flap open at a right angle.
- Try buttering a slice of bread and placing cheese on top. Cook the bread in the oven on a clear glass or plastic plate.
- Be careful when taking the plate out of the oven; it will be hot.
Family Solar Oven Project
Making a solar oven suitable for cooking a family meal is an easy project that will not break your back or your bank.
- 2 medium wooden boxes that will fit inside each other easily with 2 inches of space around the sides of the box (If you cannot find boxes, use scrap wood to make your own.)
- Reflective sheeting
- Scraps of fabric or clothing
- Tape measure
- Razor knife
- Sheet of Plexiglas
- Paint or stain wooden boxes with a high-quality stain or outdoor paint.
- Glue reflective sheeting to all four walls of both boxes.
- Place bunched up scraps of clothing or fabric on the bottom of the large box.
- Center the small box on top of the scrap fabric.
- Fill the spaces between the two boxes with more scrap fabric.
- Cut a piece of aluminum sheeting 1 to 2 inches wide and nail it from the inside lip of the small box to the far top side of the large box to form a rim covering the insulating material.
- Place a sheet of Plexiglas over top of the cooker.
- Use dark cookware for best results.
Directions for Use
- Place the solar oven outside during the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is the highest.
- Use a thermometer to test the internal temperature before attempting to cook anything.
- Follow the directions for a solar oven recipe once you determine the maximum temperature of the oven.
- Use caution when removing cookware from oven.
Harnessing the Sun
Harnessing the sun is fun and practical. You can prepare a wide variety of meals using a solar cooker, including main dishes, side items, appetizers, and much more. The device can be used for everything from purifying water to cooking the same type of meals you can create using a traditional stove or oven. An extensive selection of recipes designed for solar cooking can be found at SolarCooking.Wikia.com and Sun Oven International.