Sun Flair Solar Oven Review: Part Two Beans & Enchiladas

After getting the new Sun Flair Solar Oven, I was really excited and anxious to try it out.  The Sun Flair is a very light weight portable solar oven, made from UV resistant plastic.  It is soft and folds up into a little bag.  It also comes with two collapsible silicon pots, about 7″ in diameter, a tray to set the pots on, a rack to set the tray on, and a WAPI (water pasteurization indicator).  All of this fits inside the folded oven in the carry bag so it is easy to carry.  But when I actually set the Sun Flair up to cook, I admit I had some doubts.  The pots are very tiny.  They are silicon.  And they collapse.  Yes, everything I was so impressed with suddenly came into question.  It just didn’t seem like anything  would or could cook in it.  So for its first trial, I decided to go with a simple “heat and eat” meal.

In the first little pot, I cooked pinto beans.  These beans were pre-cooked, dehydrated pinto beans.  To cook, just add water and simmer until the beans are rehydrated and hot.  Simple first little  test.  But OOPS! I accidently rested my hand against the little pot for an instant and nearly “spilled the beans”.  Learned a great lesson.  Be very careful with the pot.  It collapses very easily.

In the second little pot, I made a stacked turkey enchilada.  I pulled leftover frozen turkey from my Thanksgiving bird out of the freezer.  I layered corn tortillas (fits perfectly in the pot), chopped turkey, chopped onion, shredded Mexi-blend cheese, and enchilada sauce.  One, two, three, four layers up to the top, with a final layer of sauce and cheese.   With the lids in place, the pots were ready for the oven.

Sunflair solar oven with pots

Sun Flair Solar Oven

We had set up the Sun Flair to let it pre-heat.  There is a plastic sheet that covers the front of the oven.  To set up the oven, the cover must be attached around the outside of the oven with a zipper.  We found it very difficult to get the zipper into place, but once we did, it zipped smoothly.   After an hour of preheating, the temperature was 180°.

After an hour cooking, the temperature was still only 180°.   A quick inspection found gaps at each end of the zipper, between the zipper and the wall of the oven.  The gaps were small, about the size of a dime, but still large enough that it seemed the heat was escaping from inside.  We solved the problem by folding back the wings of the oven, so that the gaps were closed.  The temperature quickly rose to 200° and eventually reached 210°.  The outside temperature was in the low 70°, bright and sun shiny with no clouds.

Since everything was already cooked, it just needed to simmer and get hot, and I wasn’t sure how long that would take. After three hours in the Sun Flair, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my dinner had cooked very well.

Turkey Enchiladas and Beans in the Sun Flair Solar oven

Beans & Turkey Enchiladas cooked  in the Sun Flair solar oven

All things considered,  I like this oven. Because there are only two of us, there was enough for dinner.  But if there were more people, these pots would be too small to cook dinner.  Still, I like the fact that the pots are always there and available. The temperature in the oven did not get very high, but it was still high enough to cook.  Plus, I’m sure the temperature will be greater in the summer.  However,  I feel the gaps at the ends of the zipper are a problem that needs to be corrected.

 

I purchased the Sun Flair solar oven and was not compensated for this review.

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4 thoughts on “Sun Flair Solar Oven Review: Part Two Beans & Enchiladas

  1. Note: The Sun Oven works even in subzero air temperatures, as long as the sun is out, the oven will capture the sun’s energy and cook as if it were a tropical day. The oven will heat up quicker on clear, low humidity days.

  2. Hi Txazlady,

    I’m Melinda, the founder of Sunflair Solar Ovens. First, I want to say how delicious your website is and a pleasure to meet a kindred spirit! Some quick tips: Noticed the shadow is on the side of the oven. Aim the cooking chamber directly toward the sun and with the shadow evenly behind the oven. Track as needed every 30-60 min. depending on the UV of the day. Or, if going to be away for a bit, make sure it’s in the food safe temperature range and then over-track to the west to achieve a temperature arch. Think sundial.

    The hottest spot in this oven is the very center of the cooking chamber where the pot is. To get a more accurate temperature reading, place thermometer next to pot. Hot air rises. When cooking in tiers such as cookies, the top tier will cook faster. Once those have been gobbled up, the second tray is ready for the next round.

    Another note: In midsummer, when the sun is highest in the sky, tilting the oven back slightly maximizes the amount of sun entering the cooking chamber. A little wedge under table legs, or take note of the slope of the land, or be creative to achieve more reflection into chamber.

    One last note for anyone reading this post who is new to solar cooking. Food on a stove top/cooking range never exceeds 212F, and according to top chefs, simmer is 180-200F. A slow cooker’s range is 180-300. I would venture to say, the dish made was likely ready in about 45 min. Also, if cooking something that is creating steam on the inside cover, sneak wipe the moisture away with a soft cloth, unzip a few inches to release steam. The oven will stay hot, just like a teakettle on a stove.

    Thank you for your review, it helps us to improve. If there are any questions from anyone, feel free to contact us reachus@sunflair.net. We want everyone to be successful.

  3. Good review.I wonder if the zipper problem was with that particular unit (see if they won’t replace it) or for all units. I finally figured out a way to explain solar cooking to folks. Check out my latest post and see how temperature is more peace of mind than a fixed temp. So, would each pot be just 16oz ? That’s enough for one or two people camping and needing a portable oven. Glad it worked for you. Come visit when you can. I’m up to my elbows getting ready for the holidays.

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