We bought a solar oven that we found on Craigslist a few days ago. So far we’ve made our breakfast oatmeal, my husband has boiled water for his coffee, we made yesterday’s lunch (brown rice, with eggs and frozen veggies mixed in at the end), and today I baked biscuits and reheated some lasagna in it. Works great! I love that we haven’t turned on the stove in the house at all today. It’s really hot here right now, and we’re running the AC, so it’s nice to not put any extra heat into the house. And of course it’s nice to not run the stove from an energy perspective too. All that sun energy outside – might as well use it. We live in a pretty sunny climate. It gets cold here in the winter, but the sun shines most of the year, so we should be able to use it pretty much year-round. I think I’m going to try baking this chocolate cake recipe that I found at Choosing Voluntary Simplicity.
I like anything that fits into a sustainable, eco friendly lifestyle, and is also easy on the budget. Cooking with solar energy definitely fits the bill, although the frugal part of it will take a while to realize because you have to account for the initial price of the stove. Helps that we found ours on Craigslist – we never buy anything new if a “new to us” version can be found, and this was no exception.
How cool is that! :) I actually just heard of these for the first time today over on Path to Freedom. Very cool!
I have NEVER heard of such a thing! Can you tell us more and maybe provide a link?!?
Mrs. Accountability says
A few years ago we printed out instructions we found on the Internet but never got around to trying this idea. I think I will mention it to Mr. A again, it’s certainly hot enough here in the desert and it would sure be nice to cut down on heating the house by cooking during the hottest part of the day.
My husband looked into making a solar oven himself, but we ended up buying this one:
when we found it on Craigslist. It’s sturdy (wind was blowing hard today, and it stayed in place in our yard), very well insulated, and it gets much hotter than the homemade ones he was considering (better insulation and better reflectors). This one gets to 350 – 400 degrees very quickly and stays there. It’s easy to tilt to follow the sun, and has a swing-like shelf for the food inside, so it always stays level even if you have to tilt the oven to catch the rays. We’re thrilled with it so far :)
You know, I love reading your blog and really should comment more often :)
Does the solar oven take longer to cook with than a traditional oven? I think I read that the solar grills can take much longer.
It took about ten minutes longer to bake the biscuits than they take in the regular oven. Heating leftovers took about the same amount of time as usual. It depends on whether you go out every 30 minutes and reposition the oven to follow the sun. If you do, it will maintain 400 degrees without a problem, and cook almost as fast as a regular oven. But if you just leave it in one position, it doesn’t stay as hot and then stuff takes longer. And thanks for loving my blog :)
I\’m adding solar ovens to my one-day list, once I get a permanent house. Very cool idea.
The Sun Oven is a durable and long lasting cooking device. We have cook books with recipes specifically designed for use with the oven.
I used to work for a company that sold them and in 4 years we never had a complaint. Now my company carries them.
There is no element in them to break or a fuse to bust. Unless the sun burns out or you put the Sun Oven in a trash compactor this little oven will provide years of great cooking service.
I forgot to mention that you may also order cooking pots, loaf pans for breads, and even cookie sheets for sunny tasting cookies. Bon apetite!
Nancy K says
You don’t have to purchase fancy cooking pans. Look for black thin enamel pans or spray paint thin metal pans and cookie sheets. In solar cooking, thinner metal is better.
I agree – we have a small collection of thin, black enamel pots that we use. A couple of them came with our solar oven, and the rest came from thrift stores. Spray paint would work too, although I would be a little wary of the fumes that could possibly be released at the high temps in the oven. Also, one would probably want to only paint the outsides of the pots, as food shouldn’t be cooking in contact with spray paint.
Just about every time I go to a thrift store I see thin black enamel cookware, and they tend to be very inexpensive.
Well, inexpensive is another word for cheap. The pans that come with the oven are designed for a rough ride. How many thrift store items become aged family heirlooms?
PS. yeeeuck! I would never eat anything cooked in a pan that was spray painted. That has a doctor bill written all over it.
This reminds of the day I went to buy a vocal microphone. I asked the sales guy which mic was the better one; the one that cost $100.00 or the one that cost $350.00. He said “just based on the price which one do you think is the better mic?” He was right. Quality has its price.
Richard, Lots and lots of thrift store items become family heirlooms. I don’t buy things anywhere else, but I also never buy anything that isn’t good quality – thrift doesn’t equal poor quality.
Two of our sun oven pans came with the oven, and had never been taken out of the box – they’re the black enamel pans that the company sells to go with their ovens. The others that we’ve purchased at thrift stores are the exact same material.
The microphone analogy you made is a good point, but it’s good to know that pretty much any high quality item can be purchased used for a whole lot less money. I got a pair of Gap jeans today at Goodwill for six dollars. Retail price is $54, and they have barely been worn at all.
FrugalBabe – I’ve been cooking with a soalr oven for the past three years – couldn’t do without it LOL
My first one was a homemade one, then a very basic (and not very efficient one) and now my latest one.
Due to the dearth of good solar oven recipes out there I have just written a solar cookbook which I am offering for sale on my blog (check out the Solar Oven Recipes page at the top of the blog). I also have a free Introduction to Solar Cooking pdf available for download.
Always love find other blogs talking about and using solar ovens :-)