SOLAR COOKERS WHO'S TRIED ONE ? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

To all the readers out there:a question concerning "Solar Cookers" ,yes I have gone to the many sites and read their info. I am building one now out of plywood and insulation from a garage door(it's 1-1/2" thick). I also found a dbl glass window for free just the right size (36"x 24").I know to foil the insulation with aluminum foil and make it almost airtight. And the box is angeled the right amount. But my question is "Who has used one" ? Can I do canning inside it,(so I don't have to use the oven)? And what cook book did you find to be the best ?? You all have been GREAT in responses to questions for others,but I need some help. Oh,something else------------. Can you use stove polish on "DUTCH OVENS" like you would for wood stoves in making it new looking ? That's all for now , any takers????

-- Furie (, February 04, 1999


My SIL used a solar cooker a little bit. I don't know for sure, but i don't think it would be feasible to can in one. They only get up to 3-350 degrees at most, and it takes quite a bit of time. What they are best for is anything you would use a crock pot, dutch oven, slow cooker, etc. for. Great for stews, beans and rice, and will even cook things like bread, meats, pies/cakes, etc (though it takes a bit longer to do).

-- Damian Solorzano (, February 04, 1999.

I have a parabolic solar cooker or reflector that I constructed that will boil water, but I don't think you can do any canning with it. I tranfer my dutch oven to a insulated box made out of starafoam [about three inches thick] to "capture" the heat for my cooking of rice, beans,etc. This box will hold the heat up to 10 hours.

-- thinkIcan (, February 04, 1999.

I made mine out of cardboard boxes and scrounged insulation (total cost less than $5). I have used it to cook barley and also a nice orange chicken with onions dish. I don't think you would be able to can, but you can cook a nice meal in four hours or so.

I sprayed my Dutch oven with flat black spray paint but it didn't adhere to the enamel very well.

-- Franklin Journier (, February 04, 1999.

I purchased the Solar Chef a year ago, and have used it often since then. Although the advertisements indicate a top temp of nearly 500 derees, I haven't been able to achieve that. However, cooking temps in the 350 to 400 range are routine. It works great for most anything you would cook in an oven, including bread, casseroles, stews, etc. You just have to be careful not to get burned by the hot steam when you remove the glass dome! (though I only got a "too many users" message) - Bob

-- Bob (, February 04, 1999.

I just received my Solar Chef and am anxious to start using it. Tested it with some H2O and it only took a short time to bring it up to piping hot.


-- Ray (, February 04, 1999.

Solar Cookers work, but of course have a problem with weather. Temp can be increased to whatever you want with a few well placed mirrors. Just don't overdo it - a couple dozen flat mirrors all reflecting to the same spot will absolutely have the potential for starting a fire.

Now for something sort of funny - you can freeze ice in very dry weather without refrigeration equipment. Construct an insulated pit or box that is super insulated - several feet of straw or something. Put a large pot full of water in the middle of the straw. Expose the water to the night sky each night, and cover the pot (super insulating the whole and covering the insulation material with reflective material of course) during the day. Uncover at night. After a few nights the water will freeze. This only works in very dry weather or in a desert. The Roman Legions used to use this stunt to freeze ice when they were stationed in desert climates. It works because the night sky is a very low temperature heat sink, and if the weather is dry enough (drought conditions) both evaporation from the surface of the water and the fast temperature drop at night keep the pot from absorbing heat from the air, while the insulation keeps it from picking up heat during the day, or through the ground.

-- Paul Davis (, February 04, 1999.

My husband is in the process (yes, it has been awhile)of building me a solar box oven.It is a large box style made out of plywood (untreated) with an inner box made out of thinner plywood. We used shredded paper for the insulation.It also has a hinged top which will fit a piece of tempered glass (you need tempered because others might crack).A neighbor of ours has a big barn and all kinds of woodworking tools,my husband and him built it.It turned out really beautiful. I painted the outside black with non toxic tempra paint(i want to do some stencils on it but my honey thinks not, oh well!!)I painted the inside bottom black also.I have lined the inside walls with foil. So now i am waiting on my glass,(we own three businesses so things tend to take awhile around here). So..about canning...I have a book titled solar cooking by Harriet Kofalk (barnes & noble online) that has two pages about canning. You can only can fruits or tomatoes, no veggies or meat due to the acidity of the foods. It has quite a few recipes in it. The other book I have is cooking with the sun by Beth and Dan Halacy it also has quite a few recipes in it. I am hoping to get my glass in a week and try my cooker out!!!!

Good Luck!!!

-- turtle (, February 04, 1999.

Can someone supply info website for the solar stove, or diagram of one thanks.

-- Just another Bill (Bill', February 04, 1999.

-- Gayla Dunbar (, February 04, 1999.

In Papua New Guinea, Aussie Permaculture teachers showed New Guinea survivors how to make solar ovens out of cardboard boxes which they lined with aluminium foil. For glass lids, they used rolls of plastic food wrap. Once they explained to the New Guinea natives that glass from old abandoned cars (automobiles) would also work fine, the locals started scrounging car windshields. One native woman told the workers that this idea alone had saved her four hours of gathering firewood each day. The Permaculture Institute (PCI) of Tyalgum, New South Wales, Australia sent several instructors to New Guinea after the recent tsunami which wiped out coastal villages.

-- David Harvey (, February 08, 1999.

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