Saturday, June 12, 2010

Gonna Be a Bright, Sunshiny Day

I put off buying a solar oven for two years. Yes, I know, you can build them. I tried that. But either my concept or my skills were deficient. The cardboard box cookers that boy scouts make for camp do work, but if you accidentally leave them outside over night and a heavy mist falls on them, they are toast (no pun intended). I wanted a really sturdy solar oven that would stand up to occasional negligence, and that was gonna cost upwards of $200. No way I was going to save enough money on cooking to make up for that kind of cash outlay. So I waited until the opportune moment.

That moment was my most recent birthday. I refuse to celebrate my birthdays anymore (because really, what's good about getting older once you are past your prime?) But I will use them as an excuse to purchase myself something I reeeeeally want but can't justify in any other way. So this year I bought myself a Global Sun Oven. The price was over $250, but I comfort myself in knowing that this company uses some of its profits to send solar ovens to refugee camps. Google it if you want to know more.

So far I have made zucchini bread (twice), minestrone soup, a small loaf of wheat bread, and cannellini beans. Yes, I am loving my new toy. On a really sunny day it can do 300 degrees for as many hours as the sun is bright, but with patchy clouds it does about 250. Due to our "June Gloom" morning cloud cover, I can't start cooking until about 11:00 a.m., as thick cloud cover reduces temperatures to 100-150 degrees, but even then I can still get a main dish cooked by dinner time. Near as I can tell, if something can be cooked in a crock pot, it can be cooked in a solar oven. The main disadvantage to the solar oven is that I have to keep repositioning it throughout the day to follow the sun, so I can't just "plug it in and forget it" the way I can with an electric slow-cooker. And I am having trouble remembering  that 200 degrees is quite hot enough to burn my fingers. I've done it twice now, maybe that will be enough to learn my lesson.


  1. Oooooh. I just can't bring myself to spend that much money, but believe me I am very, very jealous over here.

  2. It looks fun. I'm anxious to try out some of your good cooking.

  3. My parents have a solar oven too. They are getting a kick out of seeing what works & what does not. They have said that windy days make it a bit tricky to use.