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Solar cooking

October 3, 2012 in Blog


I’ve been a big fan of solar cooking ever since I first saw a parabolic cooker in action a few years back. I love these kinds of low tech solar solutions – heating anything is so energy intensive and using the sun directly just makes so much sense.

When I lived in Asia and had no access to an oven I made a solar oven from cardboard boxes. I used it quite a bit before the rainy season hit – my greatest success was a delicious coconut bread (made from fresh coconuts!) Now I’m keen to try again and I think Canberra’s hot dry summers would be ideal for solar cooking.

Does anyone out there have any experience of building solar cookers? I’m a novice and would love to hear some tips and advice.

The oven I made previously was loosely based on the “minimum solar box cooker” (plans here: http://solarcooking.org/plans/) But overseas I had access to resources which I don’t have here – for example I had someone cut and weld metal and cut a sheet of glass and put edges on it. I am tempted to try to make a more durable cooker but I may start with cardboard and plastic to practice and learn.

I wonder if the Environment Centre has a solar cooker?

I’d love to hear other peoples ideas or experience.

4 comments to 'Solar cooking'

  1. @Pod this sounds very interesting. What sort of temperatures does it get to? Could you cook bread or pizza?

  2. @Wombat01 Mine used to be around the 90 -105 degrees celsius mark on a good day -but I was often battling cloud cover and I expect it would get hotter in Canberra. It was well above the safe temperature but obviously cooking times were slow. I didnt cook bread in it but I’m sure I could have. Pizza wouldnt have worked so well in my oven as it wouldnt have crisped. It was effective to cook things entirely enclosed in a black container, eg two black loaf tins clamped together.
    I am certain with more time and experimentation in the dry season it could have been optimised to reach higher temperatures.
    And of course the ones you buy can get to much higher temperatures! Parabolic cookers can get really really hot and might be better for things that need to crisp?

    • @Pod sounds like it would be good for slow cooking. I have heard also of a method where you encase the food you are cooking in lots of straw to insulate and finish off the cooking process. You have to plan well ahead and experiment with the timings.

  3. @Pod How fascinating! I have never heard of such things! What a wonderful natural free way to cook. All the best with your research and experimenting!

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