Survival Skills

A Day of Solar Cooking

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With temps in the mid-90s today and rain clouds nowhere in sight, I thought I’d take advantage of the sunshine to cook a few of our meals in the Sun Oven. Not only does solar cooking help to keep the house cooler during the hot summer months, it also keeps the power bill a little lower. Plus, it’s great practice for living without the grid.  If you want to learn how to do this I’ve included a link at the bottom of this post where you can register for a webinar to learn more.

solar cooking

At a little after 10am, I opened up my Sun Oven and set it out in the yard. Although the sky was a little cloudy, I knew enough sunlight would break through to begin warming the oven. I went back inside and went about my morning as usual while the oven preheated.

solar cooking

By 12:00am, the thermometer was reading 275*. It wasn’t as high as it would have been on a full sun day, but it was still hot enough to heat up leftovers to enjoy for lunch.

solar cooking

It took about 30 minutes to get the chicken and potatoes heated through. If I had cut the food into smaller pieces it would have taken less time, but I wasn’t really in a hurry. The food was hot and my house was still cool- a good trade off for a little patience.

After lunch I picked a few ears of corn, some green beans and onions from the garden, and prepared them for dinner in the solar cooker. By this time the oven had reached about 300* as the clouds came and went.

solar cooking

After washing the beans (Kentucky Blue and Chinese Red Noodle Beans), I put them in a roasting pan with 2 cups of chicken broth. Next, I chopped a small onion and some leftover turkey sausage from this morning’s breakfast, and tossed them in with the green beans. A dash of salt and pepper, and a sprinkling of garlic powder, and they were ready to go into the oven.

solar cooking

Corn worm damage. Needs to be cut off before cooking.

To prepare the corn, I first shucked each ear and removed the silk. With store bought corn, I don’t normally shuck it first before cooking in a sun oven, however our home grown (organic) corn always has corn worms in the ends. Leaving the husk still attached, I washed and cleaned each ear, and cut off the damaged ends.

solar cooking

Cleaned ears of corn, ready to go in solar cooker.

Then I peeled the husk back up around the corn, ran it under some water to wet it, and placed it in the bottom of the Sun Oven.

solar cooking

With the food slowly cooking in the sun, I was free to go about the rest of my chores for the day without any more thought as to what we’d eat later in the evening.

As I went in and out of the house, harvesting from the garden and hanging clothes out on the line, I checked the Sun Oven and redirected it toward the sun about every 30 min. You must follow the sun as it travels across the sky in order to keep the oven fully heated.

About two hours later I was inside the house doing some cleaning with the kids, when suddenly I recognized a faint pattering on the roof. I looked out the window to confirm my suspicion, and sure enough- it was raining! (I should have paid closer attention to nature’s weather cues!). I ran outside into the downpour and rescued the solar cooker from further damage.

solar cooking

Instead of taking the food out of the oven before we needed it, I simply closed up the reflectors and placed it on the porch out of the rain. The residual heat inside the oven continued to slowly cook the food, much like a crockpot. What’s great about doing this is that the food will stay hot, but it won’t burn.

solar cooking

When dinnertime rolled around, the corn was steaming hot and tender beneath the toasted husks, and the green beans were cooked to perfection. Although it had been out of direct sunlight for about an hour and a half, I still needed a hot pad to remove the dish from the oven.

We enjoyed our hot, solar cooked meal along with some fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden, and a thick slice of homemade bread.

Life off grid might take patience and a slower pace, but it sure tastes wonderful!  If you want to learn how to use a solar oven we’re holding a webinar on that topic.

– Syndicated from Source

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