Solar Ovens: Do They Really Cook Food?

March 15, 2013 | 14 comment(s)

Yes, you can cook your food using the rays of the sun!

 

With sunny days on the rise, now is a great time to consider alternative cooking methods, like solar ovens. We think the Sport Solar Oven is a great product so we’ve put it on sale. Here’s a post by our Regional Stores Supervisor, Rob.

 

 

I doubted how well the Sport Solar Oven would work and I wasn’t alone. The most frequently asked question I get is, “does it really cook food?” usually followed by “so… how does it work then?”

When I first used the Sport Solar Oven, in the summer, I went for the gusto with a full meal of dinner rolls, a roast, and potatoes. I put the oven in direct sunlight to preheat; within a short period of time the thermometer was at 300 degrees. I put the food in, and four and a half hours later I had fluffy rolls, a delicious roast, and soft potatoes. My doubts melted away faster than the butter on those rolls!

The Sport Solar Oven will work any time of the year, no matter the temperature outside—you just need sunlight. We tried it out at our Northern Utah store on March 9. It was 35 degrees outside (thanks to the wind chill) and there was snow on the ground. It was mostly sunny during our cooking time, with some clouds.

The Sport Solar Oven preheated to 275 degrees within 30 minutes, despite the cold conditions. We cooked roast with potatoes in one pot and baked rolls in the second pot. Just like my test during the summer, the food was cooked and ready to eat four to five hours later.

So, how does a solar oven work? Basically the Sport Solar Oven acts as a slow cooking crock pot that can also bake, generally reaching between 250 and 280 degrees. More specifically, the oven is lined with a dark-colored metal that absorbs the heat of the sun. A clear lid maximizes the direct light and also helps keep the heat in. Optional reflectors compensate for low sun (during winter, fall, and spring). The pots are black, which helps absorb energy as heat. (A similar reaction can occur in your car on sunny days. You may notice that dark materials, such as the steering wheel, are hotter than lighter colored surfaces.)

What if there is no sunlight? Unfortunately, if there’s no sunlight you won’t be able to use the Sport Solar Oven. If the sky is overcast or hazy, the oven won’t heat up quickly or fully.

Why don’t I just use the stove with charcoal all the time? Plan for all situations, but if you have sunlight, why not use it? It’s a natural and free source of power. You’ll have reserved your other fuel sources, like charcoal, for times when you don’t have other options. If you prefer to cook with fuels like propane or charcoal, or if you’re looking for a backup to your backup, click here for some good options.

 

Every Saturday this March, we will be testing out other recipes in our solar ovens at our stores. If you live in Utah, stop by and see the Sport Solar Oven in action. If you don’t live in Utah, we will be posting pictures and giving updates here on the blog so check back each Monday!

 

Have you had success with your solar oven? Do you have additional questions? Let us know by commenting below.

 


This post was posted in Uncategorized and was tagged with solar power, Sport Solar Oven, charcoal, propane, sun, rolls, roast, potatoes, Rob

Comments

  • Jim Jones - KC5DOV  |  March 15, 2013

    They work great. We ahve been using ours for many years to cook!

  • Sierra  |  March 15, 2013

    Thanks so much for the review. I have been looking at getting one. Can't wait to see what else you cook this month!

  • beprepared  |  March 18, 2013

    Hey Jim - what do you cook in yours? Thanks for your feedback!

  • beprepared  |  March 18, 2013

    Sierra - Thanks for reading! When you do get a Sport Solar Oven, let us know how your first meal turns out. We'd love to see pics too.

  • Jim  |  April 24, 2013

    We have cooked roasts w/ veggies and a bunch of other dishes! We have baked breads, cookies, and cakes! My grandkids and nephew love sun dogs and baked beans!

  • Jim  |  April 24, 2013

    We have coked roasts w/ veggies and a bunch of other dishes! We have baked breads, cookies, and cakes! My grandkids and nephew love sun dogs and baked beans!

  • beprepared  |  April 24, 2013

    Yum!

  • Jim  |  October 6, 2013

    We cook everything from meats, vegs, to breads and cookies! Nephew and grandkids love to cook Sun Dogs (baked beans and wieners)!

  • Debra  |  April 10, 2014

    I just received my solar oven about three weeks ago. The day it arrived it was cloudy so I used that day to prep the oven and take some chicken out of the freezer to thaw. The next day was very sunny so I was excited to take the SOS on its maiden voyage. I put the oven out to preheat and after only 15 mins, the oven read 225. I put chicken in one pot and potatoes in the other. By mid afternoon the meal was ready. By the way, it was 32 degrees that day.

  • vicki  |  April 10, 2014

    How do you control temperature?

  • Joe  |  April 10, 2014

    Tested my solar cooker by cooking a big pot of pinto beans abd bacon..The day was a little overcast so it took about seven hours but I had a great supper.

  • Rosalie  |  April 10, 2014

    I'd like to know where all the commenters live as we in Northern Michigan have little sunlight most of the year due to clouds from Lake Michigan breezes. Any Northern Michiganders out there who can give me a review of if the solar oven worked for them??

  • Dianne  |  April 10, 2014

    I love my solar oven. I have cooked meatloafs, chicken, roast today I am cooking porkchops, potatoes and a cake . Twice I have had to finish my meal in the electric oven because I put the food in the solar oven and left for the day (because you can do that and not burn anything, it is so easy to use.) but right after I left the clouds rolled in and I had no sun. But the dinner still turned out good.

  • beprepared  |  April 11, 2014

    Hi Vicki,
    There really is no way to control the temperature of the oven, especially on a hot day. But the solar oven works like a crock pot system of sorts, so it will not burn the foods, but use the juices to moisturize. There are a few things you can do to cool it down though. You can open the lid while cooking occasionally. You can also move it to an area with less sunlight. On very hot days, you can take off the reflectors. These are a couple of things you can do to have a sense of more control with your heating mechanism (aka the sun).

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