Monthly Archives: October 2011

  • What is the Kelly Kettle? How does it work? We set out this week to answer those questions in our series "The Kelly Kettle: How it Works". 

    The larger, "corked" vessel is actually the kettle that you boil the water in. It is double walled, and the water goes into the angled spout, between the two walls. The center is hollow so the heat from the fire can pass through. This increases the surface area of water exposed to the heat, making it boil faster. The cork allows you to fill the kettle before you leave and transport cold water with you.

    The fire is lit in the Fire Base. You can use the supplied can of Fired Up! Emergency Fuel and Fire Starter, or gather sticks and kindling to light your fire with. Or use a combination of both. As your water is heating up, if you need to add more fuel, this can easily be done through the chimney on top of the kettle.

    Below you will find a photo walk-through of using the Kelly Kettle to boil water.
    Everything you need to boil water
    Fill the Kettle with water. The provided cork-and-chain is to help store cold water and transport it to where you are going.
    Fill the Fire Base with your fuel source. Here, we are using 1 cup of our can of Fired Up! Emergency Fuel and Fire Starter. You can also use wood, leaves, twigs, pine cones, etc.
    Before lighting your fuel source, place the Kettle on top of the Fire Base.
     VERY IMPORTANT!!!! Be sure to remove the cork BEFORE you light the fuel in the Fire Base. Forgetting to do so can result in explosions. REMOVE THE CORK!!!! The sides of the kettle have these nice hooks, designed to keep the cork off of the ground.
    Point the hole in the Fire Base into the wind to allow adequate air flow. If it especially windy, adjust so only some of the wind will be blowing into the hole.
    Orient the Kettle so that the Spout is pointing into the wind. This will keep ash from the Chimney from falling into your water.
     Light the fuel in the Fire Base, using your preferred fire-starting method.
    As you can see, the chimney goes all the way down into the Fire Base. More fuel can be added by dropping it down the chimney. Be careful to not get burned!
     Your water will boil in about 4-8 minutes, depending on the type and amount of fuel used, the weather conditions, and how full the kettle is.
     Once your water has boiled, you will need to remove the Kettle from the Fire Base very carefully. Hold the Handle at a 90 degree angle, so that it is sticking straight out, level with the ground. Do NOT hold Handle above Chimney while on Fire Base. You will burn yourself.
     Now that the Kettle is not over the Fire Base, you can hold the handle above it, like normal. use the cork and chain to tip the kettle (since the sides will be VERY HOT) and pour the water out.

    And that is how you use the Kelly Kettle. Stay tuned, because next time we will be demonstrating how you can boil water and cook food with the Kelly Kettle. AT THE SAME TIME!

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  • This week, we are testing out our new SOS Sport Solar Oven. Check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 in our Blog series, where we give you all the details about how this oven works.

    Solar Pot Roast

    Having successfully made a number of great bread-related dishes with the SOS Sport Solar Oven, we decided to try something a little more difficult: A full pot roast, with potatoes and carrots.

    For this one, we really didn't have a recipe. But it went something like this:

    One 3lb roast, un-browned (although you really could brown it on the stove before putting it in the oven if you wanted).

    10 small red potatoes

    3 cups baby carrots

    1 heaping tablespoon Clarified Butter, melted, to grease pans

    1 heaping teaspoon Clarified Butter, melted, drizzled over vegetables

    Garlic Salt, to taste

    Generous dash, Provident Pantry Italian Seasoning

    You can never have too much butter

    We used to Clarified Butter to coat the pans so our food wouldn't stick. We decided to cook the vegetables and the roast in separate pots. The roast got a gentle dusting of garlic salt and herbs, and then went into the pot. The vegetables received the same, but we also decided to drizzle them with a little more butter, because butter is delicious.

    Much like a crock pot, the idea with cooking in a solar oven is to get the food out in the sun and then leave it be. We preheated the oven to about 350 degrees, then threw the roast and vegetables in at about 10:30 AM. And then we went back inside and tried to wait patiently...

    we're not very good at waiting...

    When we put the roast in, without browning it, we caused the temperature to drop by almost 200 degrees. It took a solid hour for it to climb back up to just 250 degrees, where it stayed for the rest of the day.

    We let it all cook for about 6 hours. We did this in part because we wanted to make sure that the roast was completely done. But we also wanted to push the whole "you can't burn things in the solar oven" to its limit. Vegetables don't take nearly as much time to cook as the roast does, and we wanted to see what would happen to them if left in "too long". So around 5:00pm, we went outside to see what happened.

    This happened

    We noticed a buildup of moisture on the inside of the lid. This isn't a huge problem, but it can block sunlight, making it more difficult for the oven to heat up. Luckily we were finished cooking. It is recommended that you simply let the moisture dry on  its own, either by putting the lid back on the oven without any food in it, or leaning the lid against the wall to drip dry. Anyways, back to the food.

    The smell was incredible. The roast was fork tender and delicious. The vegetables were very soft, buttery and delicious. Perhaps they cooked a hair too long (I do prefer them to be a little firmer, personally) but they were not overcooked or burned.

    What we learned today:

    -While not impossible, it certainly is very difficult to burn things in the SOS Sport Solar Oven.

    -Moisture can collect on the lid on cooler days, and needs to be watched for as it can affect cooking.

    -In general, butter really can only make things better.

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  • This week, we are testing out our new SOS Sport Solar Oven. Check out Part 1 and >Part 2 in our Blog series, where we give you all the details about how this oven works.

    Its Pizza time!

    Coming off of our successful experiment in Dinner Rolls, we decided to up the stakes and make a food storage pizza.

    Now, when I say food storage, most peoples think of something like this:

    Pictured: Gruel

    But earlier this year we posted our delicious recipe for a pizza, made with nothing but food storage items. This recipe was so popular we decided to see how it would fare in the SOS Sport Solar Oven.

    We prepared the dough and other ingredients as described in this post. And as you can see, it looked pretty great.

    Like we discussed last time, its important to preheat the oven as hot as you can get it. Its pretty amazing how much heat you lose every time you open the lid.

    I won't go into a lot of details in the preparation. But I will share with you the results!

    Delicious. Not perfect, but pretty dang good. Since the oven cooks at lower temperatures, the pizza dough will rise more before it cooks. We made the mistake of putting the whole thing, toppings and all, into the oven all at once. So the dough rose a bit too much for a traditional pizza. But it was very tasty.

    We also discovered that while you can't really burn things in the SOS Sport Solar Oven, you CAN overcook things. The toppings (specifically the cheese) were in the oven for the same amount of time as the dough, so it became a bit too crispy.

    Overall though, a pretty successful day of solar cooking, using all food storage, and no electricity.

    Things we learned today:

    When you open the oven the first time, you need to add 30 minutes to your cook time. Every time you open the lid after that, add 10-15 minutes.

    When making pizza, pre-bake the dough for about 40 minutes, and then add your toppings for the last 20-30 minutes. This will help you get a more traditional pizza crust.

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    This week, we are testing out our new SOS Sport Solar Oven. Check out Part 1 in our Blog series, where we give you all the details about how this oven works.

    First Attempt: Dinner Rolls

    We keep hearing a lot of contradictory reports about bread and solar ovens: some people say it makes bread perfectly, and other people say that it will make bread, but it wont brown the tops. Opinions vary, and we decided to not take anyone's word for it. So I grabbed a bag of frozen rolls from the freezer (I know, its cheating. Especially when we have a delicious Honey White and Wheat bread mix right next door in the warehouse).

    We preheated the SOS Sport Solar oven by... setting it out in the sun, of all things. After about 30 minutes, we noticed that it wasn't heating up much. We realized this was because we were trying to heat it up without the panels. The panels detach, and are only supposed to be used in the winter or cold days. Since it wasn't very cold outside we didn't think we needed them. So our oven went from this:

    to this:

    With the panels on, we had the oven preheated to about 300 degrees in about 30 minutes. Not bad for just sitting outside on the lawn.

    We greased one of the included pans with our Clarified Butter, and then put the rolls in. It is recommended that you cook everything in black or dark colored pots, as they help absorb the heat better. Even when baking bread, you need to have the lid on the pot so it will trap the heat and moisture.

    We then set them in the oven, re-closing the lid as fast as we could to preserve as much heat as possible. We then made sure the oven was pointed toward the sun, and went back to work.

    We checked the temperature every 30 minutes or so. We discovered that when you put cold food into the oven (such as bread dough that was in the freezer the night before) you can lose as much as 150 degrees in the oven, which will then take longer to regain. After about 45 minutes the oven was back up to about 250, and we let it be for a total of 2 hours and 11 minutes. Feeling slightly nervous, we pulled the bread out and...

    Delicious, golden brown bread. The tops were browned, the bottoms were fluffy. All-in-all, not a bad first attempt at cooking in the SOS Sport Solar Oven.

    What we learned today:

    1. It IS possible to bake bread that browns on top and is delicious in the solar oven.

    2. Preheat the oven as hot as you can (within safety limits), because you will loose a lot of heat when you put your food in.

    3. Use the reflectors in autumn and winter.

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    You may have noticed in this month's catalog a new product: The SOS Sport Solar Oven. We are all really excited about this product over here and can't wait to try it out. So stay tuned this week as we post about all of the tasty things we will make in the new SOS Sport Solar Oven.

    The SOS Sport Solar Oven uses the power of sunlight to heat up and cook food.

    • Use the power of the sun to cook in an emergency
    • Large capacity - holds 2 - 3.4 qt. Pots
    • Long-lasting and efficient
    • Highly weather resistant
    • Complete kit: oven, 2 pots, thermometer, manual, recipe booklet, WAPI (water pasteurization indicator) and solar reflector
    • Lightweight - 10 pounds

    The oven is so easy to use: just put the food in a dark colored pot

    (it comes with two), point it towards the sun, and then walk away. While slight readjustments through out the day will speed up cooking time, they are not necessary. And since the SOS Sport cooks at lower temperatures, you don't have to worry about food burning. Its like cooking in your crock pot on low.

    Another thing I like about this oven is that it only has 3 pieces. The oven, the lid, and the reflector panels. The included pots are a bonus, but not a necessity, as any dark colored cookware with a lid will work. The detachable panels are really only necessary in the winter, to help direct more sunlight into the oven.

    There really isn't anything this oven can't cook. From roasts, fish, chicken and pork, to bread and other baked goods, this oven does it all. The oven uses and traps the natural moisture in the food you are cooking, meaning you don't have to add extra water. This allows food to retain its natural vitamins, minerals and flavor. Since none of the moisture is lost, and it cooks at low temperatures, it is really difficult to burn food in this oven. Usually you run out of sunlight before food gets to the point where it would burn.

    Because it only weighs 10 lbs and is wind and weather resistant, the SOS Sport is the perfect addition to camping trips, beach parties, fishing trips, back yard barbecues and everyday cooking. You no longer have to pack heavy and messy charcoal or flammable fluids. And cooking outside means the house doesn't get hot! You usually end up using more energy to cool down your house than you do to cook your food. Now take the heat outside where it belongs.

    This week, we will be trying a variety of recipes and ideas in the SOS Sport. So stay tuned, and in the meantime, make some suggestions here of things you would like to see us try and cook.


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    In an emergency situation, your stress level can be extremely high. Finding ways to relax, and things that can comfort you and your loved ones, becomes an essential. And while it might sound crazy, making "comfort foods" from your food storage is actually really easy!


    One of our group items this month, the dehydrated Tomato Powder, is an incredible buy. It works virtually anywhere you would need tomato sauce or paste. We recently used it to make a delicious, Savory Food Storage Spaghetti. Check out our video:

    What recipe are you most excited to try the Tomato Powder in? Share your favorites!

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