A Solar Oven: Cooking with the Sun

Cooking with a solar oven is probably the greenest method of preparing your food.

A solar oven is a device that harnesses sunlight to create heat energy. It doesn’t use any fuel, and it doesn’t cost a thing to operate it. It can help slow down the deforestation and desertification caused by harvesting natural resources which are used in conventional fuel production. In theory, no more trees would be cut for use in making charcoal, if everyone switched to using solar ovens. And while the use of a solar oven is not necessarily feasible under all circumstances, a better understanding of their use can open up many doors and new possibilities.

There are many solar oven designs, but each of them uses the same basic principles. They concentrate sunlight, using mirrors or other types of reflective metal, into their designated cooking areas. The more concentrated the light, the more potent the concentration will be.

Some solar ovens convert the light they gather into heat. You might notice that ovens and pans generally have something black inside. This is based on the fact that the color black absorbs more light than any other color, and turns it into heat. The more efficient the pan or oven, the faster the cooking time will be.

Some solar ovens work by trapping heat inside them. They isolate the air within the pan, separating it out from the outside air. This can be done with the use of a clear solid, such as a glass cover or even a plastic bag. The barrier can thus allow light to enter, but once the light is turned into heat, it traps the heat inside the cooker. This type of solar oven makes it possible to reach stable cooking temperatures, even during windy days outdoors.

The most efficient solar ovens utilize the three principles mentioned above, in order to effectively achieve the proper temperatures for cooking with good results and in the shortest time possible. This is especially true when the cooker will be used in a place that which has undesirable conditions.

Solar ovens are one of the most easily-accessible devices which use alternative energy. A solar oven can even be built out of everyday materials. There are also cheap versions available on the market. What’s best about them is that you can use them to prepare just about anything which can be made with a standard stove or oven. You can bake bread, steam vegetables, and even roast meat in them.

Further, solar ovens are usually placed outside the home; therefore they don’t take up any space in your kitchen.

There are also some disadvantages to using solar ovens. They generally can’t be used on cloudy and rainy days. They are most efficient during the hottest time of the day, in the afternoon, when most people have already finished eating. But in this case, the oven can at least be used to keep food warm until evening.

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2 Responses to “A Solar Oven: Cooking with the Sun”

  1. Steam Turbines November 16, 2009 at 9:35 am #

    You’re a source of a lot of good information Anna. Another great post.

    • Anna November 20, 2009 at 11:25 am #

      Thank you Steve, hope it was useful 🙂

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