Saturday, March 23, 2013

Baking in the Sun Oven

For the past two days I've made dinner in the Sun Oven.  Last night it was reheating a roast and adding potatoes, carrots, and onions to make a stew.  Since it was done early, I cut up three apples and put a sliver of butter and some cinnamon sugar on them.  I was planning on having soft apple slices for dessert.  Instead they turned to mush and we had applesauce with full peels.  Since I didn't want to reheat the stew I put that into the Fireless Cooker. (  It stayed good and hot until dinner.  I'm flexible with cooking.  Just because it didn't turn out as planned didn't mean it wasn't good. 

Today I made a dish with rice, vegetables, and fish.  The instructions on the Sun Oven said when you cook rice to use a little less water because it won't all steam away like regular rice cooking.  So I didn't.  I should have.  The fish ended up like fish jerky. Boy put soy sauce on it all and girl smothered it all with Tabasco.  I don't think they noticed!

The baking part of the oven is just something I'll have to experiment with.  And, doing so now rather than in an emergency situation is the perfect time to experiment.  Combining the Sun Oven with the Fireless Cooker is also something I will do more experimenting with.  Normally with the Fireless Cooker you boil the food on the stove to get it thoroughly heated all the way through.  Then you put it into the ice chest.  Can I do the same with the Sun Oven?  Can I keep it in the oven for maybe an hour and then put it into the ice chest?  Only experimenting will give me those answers. 

I do have some complaints about the Sun Oven.   It is way too small.  A 9x9 casserole dish fits perfectly.  It's fine for three of us but not if we were feeding 6 or 7 or 10!  I could probably put something bigger in but it may get dumped over trying to get it in.  Girl tried to put the casserole dish in this morning.  She pulled the Sun Oven over. 

I haven't gotten it over 325 although they claim it will get to 400.  Maybe if it is hot outside to start with.  It was 65 here today.  Yesterday, with it being brand new, I turned it every 30 minutes - got to keep it facing the sun for optimal heat.  Today I turned it every hour or so and it didn't get more than 275.  I suppose that's good or the rice and fish would have turned to leather! 

Since I have Solatube skylights in my house I wonder if I could put the sun oven directly under the tube opening?  Covering up the opening is a plastic light diffuser so the light looks more like a bright light bulb than a beam of light from the sun.  What if I took the cover off the tube?  Would the beam of light be able to reflect enough to cook something?  I wouldn't have to keep turning the oven to face the sun if it comes through the tube.  Of course I'd have to have the oven 8 feet in the air, right up to the ceiling!  I think I will rig up a ladder one day (maybe next weekend) and check this out. 

If that would work then the Sun Oven will be able to go under cover.  Right now, it's very visible due to it's reflectors beaming from the sun while it is set on a card table out in the yard.  If I could hide it in the house it would be worth installing a Solatube in the garage or somewhere and extending the tube to a lower level.  Like right above table height?  That would be exciting, to use the Sun Oven in the house. 

We are heading to Southern California tomorrow so I probably won't be posting until we get back home.  The grandkids have the week off of school so I'm taking a few days off as well.  I will post more on the Sun Oven next weekend.


  1. We've been thinking in this direction also. I am curious what it would take to get the temperatures to 350 and above.

    We have Solatube and I think there might be too much deflection of the sunlight down the tube to generate the heat needed. I'm going to inspect a bit further though.

  2. Would love to try a solar oven, but live in Chicagoland area. How hot does it have to be outside to use it? What about in front of an overly sunny window inside?