Now that summer is here, we have started using solar ovens again. This year I have a new one to test, the Global Sun Oven by Sun Oven International. This is the first time, I have ever had a commercially manufactured oven and I must say I am impressed. On an 80 degree, sunny day it reached a temperature of 300 degrees in less than 15 minutes and cooked our lunch quickly. My homemade ones would take a bit longer. I have only had this one opportunity to use it and it easily beats my homemade ones. After I use the Global Sun Oven some more I will write a full review on it.
I am a big fan of solar ovens for a number of reasons, including the following.
- The fuel is free and readily available.
- They can be inexpensive and easy to make.
- They are easy to use.
- As long as the sun is shining, they will work.
- They create no smoke or odors other than the food cooking.
- In the summer, the heat stays outside.
- Once you learn the principal, you can make an improvised oven almost anywhere. I am aware of a situation in which one was made from an old tire and a windowpane.
The downsides that I have found are
- Depending on the oven the food can take twice as long as normal to cook.
- They are bulky, not good for backpacking.
- They have to be used outside which can create security issues.
- They won’t work on overcast or rainy days.
With summer just starting, I would encourage each of you get or build a solar oven. There is a bit of a learning curve so learn how to use a solar oven now. Find out which recipes work best for you. There are many different designs for solar ovens including the box, parabolic and funnel. Take a look at the website http://solarcookers.org/index.html ran by Solar Cookers International, they provide some great resources.