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Solar cooking.

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Solar panels

Using the free heat of the sun to cook our food is easy, fun,

effective and energy efficient. It not only replaces the fuel you would

have paid for, but during the warm months, it saves on cooling costs by

not heating up the house. Solar cooking has several other benefits, such

as lower cooking temperatures will not bum foods, so stirring is not

required. The slower, gentler cooking provided by many solar cookers

preserves more nutrients, as well as flavor and aroma. Food can simply

be placed in a solar cooker and left to cook, unattended, for several

hours. I’ve heard that some folks will place their food in the

solar oven, point it to the noon sun, and leave for the day, coming home

in the evening to a hot, cooked meal. However, if you are available to

adjust the cooker to track the sun, it will get hotter for a longer

period, cooking food in a shorter time. I made a small table that

rotates, so when I am passing the cooker, I can easily adjust it for

maximum solar input.

There are two basic types of solar cookers, the box cooker, which

will perform as an oven or slow cooker, and the cook top, which

functions more as a stove top burner, heating the food just from the

bottom of the pot. There are many variations on these types, ranging

from basic boxes made from recycled materials to high tech, expensive

models.

The box cooker is the most common, and easiest to construct. The

links below have plans for many designs. I have built several; the

advantage of the commercial models is ease of use, longevity of the

materials, and convenience.

I am now using a commercially made box cooker nearly every sunny

day. We bake breads, cookies, and cakes in it, I make beef jerky, rice,

beans, soups, stews, and casseroles with it.

Solar cooking has many advantages, and is a low cost way for anyone

to use solar energy. The links below contain much information on the

subject, plans, where to buy commercial cookers, recipes, instructions,

and lots more. Have fun!

* www.solarcooking.org

* www.cookwiththesun.com

* www.solare-bruecke.org

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