Are you testing your preparations? : LUSENET : URBAN Y2K SURVIVAL : One Thread

After reading up on "survival" topics for the last year, I've run tests on some of the equipment. No sense finding out *after* 1/1/2000 that something you're depending on doesn't work.

This weekend I built a simple solar oven and used it to cook my dinners. I wanted to try this for two reasons - one, so if my design needed refinements I could do it now, when things aren't bad, and two, unlike the rest of the country the weather was actually comfortable in my area, with high temps only in the mid 80's and partial cloud cover. I put a meat thermometer in the oven so I could read the temp - it got up to about 145 degrees. I'll have to work on the oven a bit, perhaps insulate it better...

My observations - the oven worked best with foods that didn't need a whole lot of cooking time. For instance, white rice that normally requires 30 minutes of boiling needed about six hours in the solar oven. Rolled barley and quinoa (pronounced keen-wa, a high protein grain high in lysine and methionine) have relatively short cook times - 10 minutes in boiling water - so were ready in 1-2 hours. The barley did especially well and I may even have overcooked mine a bit. Millet also does well, taking about 4-5 hours in the solar oven.

I tried doing dried kidney beans also and found they needed either a hotter oven or longer cook time, or both. I'll try them again if I can build a warmer oven.

I concentrated on the rice, beans, and grains since they're the bulk of my emergency foods. I figure that I won't be using the solar oven until spring, but once the weather warms up I can use it to save on precious fuel. Plus a solar oven is easy to make and most everyone has a corner of their yard that gets sunny.

-- Melinda Gierisch (, July 13, 1998

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