The Annual Solar Cook-Off

Every year about this time, a group of us get together for a solar cook-off. We all bring our solar ovens to someplace like a local park, along with any other means of alternate cooking we feel like. Most of the day is then spent cooking and experimenting with various ideas. At the end of the day we have a big meal and get to evaluate how each oven performed.

solar cook off

The stoves that show up include both commercial and homemade ones. Two that have been successful for my family are the Solavore (read the review here) and the well-known Sun Oven.

Some of the inexpensive homemade solar ovens work quite well, especially the large parabolic one. You can use it like a range top and even fry on it. Here’s a sampling of some of the very creative ways you can use the sun to cook food.

solar cook off
The parabolic reflector works great, but is on the large size. You can cook anything on it you can cook on a stove top and just about as fast.
solar cook off
The All American Sun Oven cooking a roast

The all American Sun Oven is quite popular and there are always several of them present.  In the picture above you can see one cooking a roast.

solar cook off
The blackened jars contained Cornish game hens. They came out beautifully cooked. You will notice that he puts a clear plastic box over the blackened jars
solar cook off
He paints the jars black, but leaves a strip of clear glass on one side so that he can check the food without opening the lid.

The above reflector solar oven is used all the time and the friend that owns it cooks most of his meals on it.

solar cook off
Just set the blacken jar on the dashboard with a reflector behind it and point the vehicle at the sun.
Using charcoal briquets in a Coleman oven to cook corn bread. The two #10 cans have small roasts in them cooking on charcoal.

The blackened jar in the truck windshield with the reflector behind it works well.

solar cook off
Here you can see some of the food that we cooked
solar cook off
This friend used a glass tube he purchased on Amazon to make his own solar oven. The tube was about 6 inches in diameter and he cooked two roasts in it.

Solar and alternate cooking is fun and it made for a very enjoyable day with friends.

solar cook off
Here is a plate of food. Everything was very good and easy to fix

But by the end of the day we always have learned something new. This type of cooking has a learning curve, practice now before you need to. You could also pick up a copy of Cooking With Sunshine as a complete guide.

The Solar Cookers International Network is a treasure trove of just about everything you need to know about using the sun to cook food.

Here are a few links to DIY solar ovens/cookers. If you try one of these, let me know how it worked out for you.



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