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Cooking With Sunshine

July 26th, 2007

I told Johnny that as long as we can fit my banjo, laptop, bicycle, rollerskates, sewing machine, bow, and one plant (and maybe some skis or a snowboard) in the camper, I will be happy. Well, I think I have found something else that we need to make room for. It shouldn’t take too much convincing. It is rather practical, and its probably the only thing that I want to bring that can be called such. Its a solar oven. An oven that uses the sun’s energy to make tasty baked goodness. Once we get past the thought of leaving our fresh meat out in the hot mid day sun before we eat it, I am sure we will be glad we brought it.

It has many benefits. One of which is unattended cooking. Its a lot like a crockpot, which I love, in that you can pretty much set it up and walk away as there’s no chance of burning your food. It uses energy directly from the sun. No draining electricity from our batteries or gas from our tanks. That means more boondocking time. Yup, no fuel needed at all. No gathering of firewood or spending time tending the coals. No fire = no smoke = drawing less attention to ourselves. No fuel also means that cooking will have less of a health and environmental impact as well as no risk of forest fire.

Yes, it is pretty creepy to leave a roast out to bake in the sun.
However, done correctly, it is completely safe. You can use it disinfect water. You can also can your fruits and veggies with it. It even works on a cloudy day. There just needs to be sunlight 30% of the time. However, I wouldn’t try it on a stormy or a cold day. I also wouldn’t feel comfortable without a thermometer. You shouldn’t try to can anything that wouldn’t be save using a bath. In other words, only things that are highly acidic are safe to can with it.

I had heard about solar ovens in the past but had never really looked into them. I ran across them again while looking at more primitive cooking methods. I know that we cannot rely on it all of the time. There are also things that the solar oven cannot do, such as drying and smoking, that we will need a fire for. But, weather permitting, I plan to use it as our main cooker as much as possible. For the days that using it is not feasible, we will have the backup options of a wood fire and a propane stove.

Well, off to search for more ways to make life easier, safer, and more ecologically friendly in the kitchen.

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3 Responses to “Cooking With Sunshine”

  1. tsponheim says:

    You’ll find plans for making your own simple solar cookers here: The Solar Cooking Archive

  2. Jeremy says:

    Looks bulky to me guys, interested if you ever followed thru with one? I love a crock pot myself, and some of the most awesome meals I’ve ate cooked via a dutch oven.

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