Monthly Archives: October 2011

  • The Kelly Kettle: How it Works

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    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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  • Adventures in Solar Cooking Part 4

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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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  • Adventures in Solar Cooking Part 3

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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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