One of the few things I love about the blazing summer sun here in Tejas is that I know that rather than further burdening the AC by turning on the oven I can let the sun do the work. With the days getting longer and warmer, and my kitchen hurtling toward renovation I’ve been inspired to bust out my solar cooker (if I’m honest, were it not for the solar cooker we wouldn’t have any cooked meals in the summer).
I use the ‘Sport’ Solar Oven made by the Solar Oven Society. This is just one of several types of solar ovens commercially available, others can be found via Solar Cookers International or a number of other organizations/retailers. Now that is not to say that you have to purchase a solar oven to successfully harness the power of the sun to cook those veggies you painstakingly coaxed from the soil. I choose to buy mine to support the mission of the Solar Oven Society, but if you’d prefer you and make your own. Plans litter the web. Some of the best resources I’ve found include:
The “build a solar cooker” page on the Solar Cookers World Network,
Perhaps you’re intrigued but you’re wondering “but what do I cook?” Well, if you’re used to using a slow cooker/crock pot you’ll take to solar cooking like a duck to water, and will likely be able to modify your favorite slow cooker recipes to cooking in a solar cooker. If not then there are a number of solar cooking cookbooks available, either from the organizations previously listed or through larger online retailers.
Some of my favorites include:
As for my favorite thing to cook in my solar oven? The world’s easiest Spanish rice – I put rice (about 4 servings worth) in my pot, pop open a pint of homemade salsa, stir and pop into the cooker for the day. It goes perfectly with any number of other things I make in the cooker including, tamales (ok, I buy those but heat them in the cooker), chili, baked chicken, Quiche (another fav), etc.
A great resource for learning more about solar cooking is the Solar Cookers World Network – where you will find tips and tricks, recipes and cookbooks, and more. My next planned adventure in solar cooking is to build a solar dehydrator to help me preserve the bounty of the garden and give my electric dehydrator a break.