What is a Solar Cooker?
A solar oven or solar cooker is a device that uses sunlight as its energy source to cook food.
Solar cookers are popular because:
- Health & Safety — In under-developed countries, women & children are able to stay closer to home, not walking increasing further distances in unsafe conditions, to bring home supplies of cooking fuel. Women and children are less likely to suffer from burns from open fires, and illnesses caused by smoke inhalation. Since water can be pastureized in a solar oven, there is less disease from drinking contaminated water.
- Energy efficient and pollution-free — Solar cookers use no fuel, just the free energy from the sun. Solar cooking can help reduce the cost of energy bills. Solar cooking eliminates the need to turn on the kitchen appliances, keeping the kitchen cooler and the air conditioning bills down.
- Emergency preparedness — With solar cooking, a meal can be prepared even when the power is out.
- Versatile – Solar ovens can bake, boil, steam, or roast. Almost anything can be made in a solar oven that can be made on the stove top, oven, or crockpot. And a parabolic cooker can even fry food!
- Fun — Solar cookers can be used in the backyard, camping, on boats, on a mountaintop, picnics, anywhere there is sunshine.
3 Main Types of Solar Cookers
Panel cookers consist of several shiny reflector panels that gather the sun rays. The food is cooked in a pot that is placed into an oven cooking bag or glass bowl. The bag/bowl acts like a greenhouse and traps the heat inside. The “CooKit” Foldable Panel and the “Hot Pot” are two examples of panel cookers. CooKit’s can be easily make out of cardboard from plans found on-line.
Box cookers trap the heat inside to make an oven. In general, the cooker is made of two boxes, separated by insulation. The inside of the box can be painted black to trap the heat. The top is covered with glass, plexiglass, or clear acrylic. Reflector panels reflect the sun rays down into the box. Temperatures reach between 250° – 400°. The Global Sun Oven (GSO) and the SOS Sport are two popular cookers.
Parabolic cookers are often made from old satellite dishes. The sun rays are reflected up from the curved surface of the dish to the focal point, where the pot sits. Parabolic cookers reach extreme temperatures that can fry food and pop corn.
Thanks for joining my solar cooking adventure. I live in the beautiful state of Arizona where there is sunshine almost everyday of the year and is great for solar cooking. Harnessing the free energy from the sun is an exciting and fun way to feed my family.