Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Random musings about my solar oven

This is a post about my solar oven that my son and I made last summer.  I haven't made a post about it yet, so I figured that I would do so now since it has been pretty nice in my AO and getting my juices ready for Spring and Summer.

Its pretty basic as a solar oven goes.  It is pretty heavy as I built it with dual 1/2 inch plywood walls and insulated inside to attract and maintain as much heat as possible.  I put a wheel on it and push it around like a wheelbarrow until I get it where I want it.  Here are a few pics.

Its pretty basic with just an insulated box, an old window for a top, and 4 old cabinet doors (I don't throw anything away, much to the chagrin of my wife) with aluminum foil glued to them.

I didn't know what to expect, so I didn't have my expectations very high, but even if I had, I would not have been disappointed.  It heated up quickly to between 190 and 210 F and remained there for most of the day.  We put some potatoes in there as a trial to see how it did and we were very excited about the possibilities when the potatoes came out perfectly done and quite delicious.

We started thinking up other uses for this and we ended up cooking a roast (YUM) and even purified some water with it.

One thing that you have to come to terms with if you are going to cook in a solar oven, is that you cannot be in a hurry.  Things will just not cook as fast as they will if you throw them on your grill, put them in your oven, or cook over a fire.  To cook our roast, we had to cook it all day long (7 hours +/-).  The very great upside is that you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you just cooked your meal using your own ingenuity and with energy that was just going to be basically wasted if you didn't use it.

Now before you start thinking that this is just a warm weather experience, let me state now that this solar oven will easily reach cooking temperatures (not electric oven cooking temperatures) of 180 - 200 F even on some cold days.  The secret is that you MUST have full and uninterrupted sunshine.  If it is a cloudy day or even a day with some clouds that briefly cover the Sun, the oven will not get up to the temperatures that it needs to be effective.

So go out there this Spring, get some junk and build your own solar oven.  You will be glad you did.  

1 comment:

  1. That's great, Watchful, I've been wanting to make one myself. I guess it's time to get off my duff and do it all ready!