Thursday, July 24, 2008

Experiments in Solar Cooking.

Despite my declaration that I wouldn't be trying this, I bought a Sun Solar Oven this past month. My garden was super-sucking because it's been too damn hot to do anything in it and I decided that the sun should be put to use. So, I bought the thing and, after it arrived, EVERY day was cloudy... until yesterday.


Billed as "partly cloudy", I saw few clouds in the morning so took the pot full of brown rice and frozen mixed vegetables that I'd put together about a week ago and had to keep in the frig until a sunny day and figured out how to get the process going. It took 2 hours to get the rice and veggies cooked. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I thought, "Why not try baking bread? It's why I wanted the thing, afterall." So, I whipped up a half wheat/half white loaf recipe I'd enjoyed for making buns. Let the solar oven pretty much do the second rise, so left the bread in the oven about 2.5 hours. Wasn't sure if it's done all the way through, but it LOOKED like bread. Still thinking positively, I decided to bake the night's chicken. It was pretty late in the day already (almost 4pm), but there was still sun!

EVERYTHING turned out pretty good. The bread was perfect, as was the rice & vegetable mix. The chicken was done faster than I'd expected.


I mixed the chicken in with the rice & vegetables and put it out again to heat up. That dried out the chicken a bit, but it was still good for a first-time experiment.



Diane said...

How cool is that? I remember making a (homemade) solar cook in 6th grade and we cooked hot dogs or something on it. I never knew they could bake bread. I'm going to have to dig up some DIY instructions!

Oldnovice said...

Yeah ... they can do pretty much EVERYTHING if you're willing to wait for them.

We're currently using air conditioning set to maybe mid 80s. I've read that an hour's use of an in-house oven can cause a cooling unit to work THREE hours to counteract the effect of the one hour of oven use. THAT'S why I wanted it to bake bread. Microwave cooking uses almost nothing, followed by stovetop which uses fuel and creates minimal heat, but OVEN use creates the biggest impact on indoor cooling systems.