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.
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.
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.