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Wild Edibles Expert
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Made two solar ovens this past week, one out of an umbrella and tin foil, the other out of an old plywood box. Both are working well, get up to about 250F, more than enough to cook with. They ain't fast, two to three hours per meal, but they work and require no fuel, not a common material in an urban bug in. In fact, in many parts of the world collecting wood to cook one meal a day is the most time consuming chore of every day. As I live in Florida these can be used all year round. If you live in Canada, you can use them seven to eight months out of the year.

Both can also sterilize water. The meals so far have been mostly out of the larder: Soaked beans and rice in broth with powdered garlic and a can of mushroom soup; A spaghetti squash, a lamb shank, rice and unsoaked lentils with the leftover lamb shank for flavoring along with a quart of water and two cans of tomato soup and spices. So far so good.

Lessons learned. The parabolic umbrella was cheap -- under $10 -- and easy to make. It works best while using an oven bag. A plant pot holder made the right focal length and another one holds it at the right angle. It needs to be moved often but heats up fast, about 40 minutes. It is very light so a windy day would be an issue. Now, an old satellite dish with reflective film would be hot enough to fry with. Trying to find one for free.

The box was heavy to start with -- half inch marine plywood -- so I put it on a cart I wasn't using. I also put a trash piece of black granite inside. That holds heat when a cloud goes over. This heats up in about 75 minutes, stays hot, and doesn't need much positioning this time of year. I think I could get a few more degrees out of it if I used thicker plate glass. Cost to put this together was higher and took more time...weather stripping, caulk, aluminum tape, styrofoam, but under $20. It has a higher capacity and can cook two pots at the same time or a large roasting pan. Root vegetables and squashes can just be put on the granite.

I'd really like to find a glass dome and give that a try on a flat holder.

When I looked at the weaknesses of my prepping fuel was an issue. While I have a lot of LP for hurricane reasons if we were talking months fuel would be an issue, especially if others are scrounging for wood as well in this urban environment. The solar ovens ease that problem... and in a real situation I just might put them on my roof... harder to steal, no shade...

Also been using a solar battery charger. Works well but you have to figure out the approximate time of being fully charged by the amount of time in the sun.
 

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How is that working for you? I so love these solor cooking things! I've been wathcing them on youtube alot.

This is SO my next new project this summer! I love the idea of cooking for free with the sun (cause I simply hate givening my hard earned money to evil corperate greedy utility companies that genealy suck anyways)

There is a video on youtube where a guy made a super nice all metal solor oven. It cost him like $100 buck to make, but it was reaching tempature up to 450 degree fairenheit out in the middle of a -20 degree Canadian winter! You would so save the money in the long form the energy/money you save from not using your gas or electric to cook with.

This guy was making stuffed turkey with dressing, sauages, stews and a whole lot more in his solor own.

I so want to be able to do the same here in Detroit. Its colder here most days of the year than it is warm. So I would like the super deluxe solor oven model.
 

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Wild Edibles Expert
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How is that working for you?
It's working well. Been making one meal every other day on it. The box one is real easy and gets up to about 250, which is more than enough to cook and pasteurize, but it takes about twice as long as a conventional oven but doesn't need much tending at all. That kind of slow oven has some advantages: Foods don't over cook or burn and vegetables can be cooked without water. I'm also going to do a week without the black granite and see how that works. Yesterday I dried figs in it quite nicely (by opening it a little to lower the temp and let the moisture escape. )
 

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Wild Edibles Expert
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
StraightRazor, where do you live? In AZ my solar oven heats up to well above 400F. AZ is an ideal place for this item but 250F seems a little low no matter where you are.
Central Florida. It's a homemade affair that I tossed together. Got a manufactured one on order. Still, it cooks well, just a tad slow but far better than nothing.
 

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StraightRazor, where do you live? In AZ my solar oven heats up to well above 400F. AZ is an ideal place for this item but 250F seems a little low no matter where you are.
Truthfully thats kind of high for the more simpler solor ovens (I'm by no means knocking you razor)

It all depends upon the material you use and make it out of and what not. 250F is more than enough to cook something and or sterilize water. I was messing aroudn the other day with a simple card board box and I got a temp reading of about 200 on a semi cloudy typical Michigan day. And I wasn't really even trying to make one so much as as i was bored to tears and just messing around with the idea.

Once I experiment with a few other ovens I want to order the plans of a really nice metal one that is insulated like your home stove and has a very large sun collector. I was amazed at how HOT the guy had the stove in a super cold -20F Candian day.

I have to refind that video and post it here.
 

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Cosmic Guardian
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Central Florida. It's a homemade affair that I tossed together. Got a manufactured one on order. Still, it cooks well, just a tad slow but far better than nothing.
I have a Global Solar Oven and for the $$ I spent, I think its one of the best things I've purchased in the past year or so... The only thing that didn't really work was my pizza experiment. :rolleyes:
 

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Wild Edibles Expert
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Truthfully thats kind of high for the more simpler solor ovens (I'm by no means knocking you razor)

It all depends upon the material you use and make it out of and what not. 250F is more than enough to cook something and or sterilize water. I was messing aroudn the other day with a simple card board box and I got a temp reading of about 200 on a semi cloudy typical Michigan day. And I wasn't really even trying to make one so much as as i was bored to tears and just messing around with the idea.

Once I experiment with a few other ovens I want to order the plans of a really nice metal one that is insulated like your home stove and has a very large sun collector. I was amazed at how HOT the guy had the stove in a super cold -20F Candian day.

I have to refind that video and post it here.
250F is fine, and it cooks well. Been doing something with it every other day. It does one pot casserole type things very well. Handles rice and beans, our staples, easily. I built both of them because fuel could be an issue if everyone is in the same boat. I mean, I live in hurricane alley so I have a lot of LP stored, and water. But as I looked at my preps if I wanted hot meals long term the sun is always there and dry available wood or gas or electricity is not.
 

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Wild Edibles Expert
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have a Global Solar Oven and for the $$ I spent, I think its one of the best things I've purchased in the past year or so... The only thing that didn't really work was my pizza experiment. :rolleyes:
Dead pizza is still edible...Yeah, I think a solar oven is a good addition. Some day I'm gonna find me a satellite dish and make a huge hot broiler....
 
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