Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Harvest Festival #2: Solar Ovens
While preparations for the evening meal progressed inside the Grange, the back lot bustled with displays of food system self-sufficiency. Here, three solar ovens show how easy it is to gather enough heat from the sun to cook splendid family meals without using an ounce of wood, gas, or electricity. (Okay, if you don't count the manufacture of the materials to build the ovens.)
The oven on the lower left was made onsite, using cardboard cut and arranged for the purpose, and covered with ordinary aluminum foil. The interior of the box is black to absorb heat, and capped with a clear square of plastic or glass to contain the built-up infrared light reflected from the panels. For folks wanting a ready made oven, one is displayed on the right, ready to fold out and use, with shinier panels. But for the real investment, the large capacity oven stands in the back, with reflection panels like mirrors! According to some information posted about, the interiors of these cookers can eventually reach 375 to 400F in adequate sun exposure, even in the homemade model - perfectly sufficient for most oven recipes. The only catch is adjusting your meal planning for the amount of time this slow method of cooking requires.