Summer is a great time to practice your outdoor cooking skills. One of the funnest ways to cook in the summer is to use a sun oven. The only energy a sun oven requires is sunshine! That's makes this a great option for cooking when the power is out, because as long as there is sun, you can cook your food, even in temperatures as low as 10 degrees. The sun oven is the easiest way to harness the power of the sun to cook, bake or boil foods. When used correctly, the sun oven can reach temperatures of 360° to 400° F in as little as 20 minutes. Solar cooking with the sun oven can be achieved in everyday cooking while in your backyard, at picnics, during a camping trip, or in the event of a power failure.
Place the sun oven in direct sunlight, in a location that receives at least 4 hours of sunshine. Put the food in early and don't worry about overcooking. You can place as many pots into the sun oven as space allows, but adding more to the sun oven may require a longer cooking time. After you put your food into the cooker, aim it so that its reflector is directly where the sun will be when you want your meal to start cooking. The food will start cooking before the sun reaches the full-on position and will stay warm after the sun’s direct rays leave it. During partly cloudy weather or when filled with more food, you may want to move the cooker to follow the sun once or twice during the day to take advantage of the best heat. On a hot summer day, you may begin cooking easier-to-cook foods, particularly fish and greens, as late as 5:00 p.m. There is no need to stir your food until you take it out at mealtime. Putting a brick or two inside the oven will slow down cooking initially, but will help retain heat so that your food will stay warm after the sun no longer shines on the oven. Don’t forget to use hot pads when handling the oven. Dark pans work best in the oven. Sun ovens can also be used to dehydrate food.
At our stake class last summer, on cooking without power, the sun oven was a success! Everyone was amazed at the variety of foods we were able to cook in under two hours, and how delicious everything tasted! Using the power of the sun, we made banana bread, orange rolls, homemade bread, and roasted a chicken. The options are limitless!
The sun oven regularly retails for $399, plus tax and shipping. For more information about sun ovens or to purchase one for yourself, click HERE.