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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a hard time believing that we all have sufficient wood (or any other fuel) stored to supply our cooking needs day in and day out, post SHTF.

How many here have solar ovens?

I have been looking at these as a viable means of cooking. You may not get a hot breakfast, but you will get a hot supper. We have an abundance of sunlight in the South, and rain that usually doesn't last for days on end.

Thoughts on these?
 

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I just ordered a 3 qt covered granite-ware pan, and a book on solar cooking. I"m in the South like you and am determined to learn to do this. Short term I plan to make one out of a cardboard box. At the store yesterday I found some cooking bag plus seasoning mixes for 99 cents, so got two. Long term, hope to make a wooden box -- remembered a piece of plexi I have stashed with the picture frames. Thinking of trying something with lentils for the first venture.
After Katrina I gave away a bunch of stuff out of my freezer; I had sterno to boil water, but no good way to cook any large amounts of food, so the solar cooking seems like a great alternative.
 

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I picked up several large,framed glass mirrors ( far better than the synthetic dashboard reflectors IMO ) and a couple packs of large oven bags, so I've more or less,accumulated the elements of one. I haven't put it in use yet, but from what I understand about them, our set-up is good to go.:thumb:
 

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Tough Chick
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I got 2 cheap backpacking solar ovens on ebay because I wanted to see what the set-up was and the directions with them. I used one on the last Oklahoma group camp-out that we had in the Spring and found that it got really really hot... not what I expected at all.

There is an art and a science to using a solar oven in that unless you get a self-adjusting (very expensive) one, you will need to adjust the reflector about every 10-15 minutes. You can only use these at full efficacy from around 10AM to around 3PM. I have tried earlier and later and with the small backpacking stove, it just doesn't work well for me.

Protip: If you are cooking anything that calls for liquid, use 3/4ths to 1/2 of the liquid called for because cooking it in a ziploc bag, none of the liquid will cook off and you will end up with noodle soup instead of noodles.

I feel that this would work best with freeze-dried foods that just need hot water added to the packet. You can definitely get water hot with it and in not as much time as one would think. Basically besides the stove itself (which is just a piece of cardboard with a black cooking surface and a mylar reflecting surface), all you need is a flat place to put it in the sun. A log turned on its end will work just fine for this.

I do recommend that if you are going to get one, that you take it out a few times and give it a try with different foods and different times of day. It is better to learn lessons now when it doesn't matter if you ruin food than later when it may be the last thing you had to eat and you've made noodle paste.
 

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I actually just started building one today. Found a nice piece of glass from an old table and a cardboard box. I used duct tape to sturdy up the box and tape the flaps in place. I painted the outside of the box with stove pipe paint and set it in the driveway to dry.

For giggles I put a beer can half-full of water and a meat thermometer in it, and in less than two hours it was up to 145 degrees. I haven't even lined the inside with foil yet!

Maybe tomorrow I can finish it up and try to bake a loaf of bread.
 

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I have a SunOven. I bake a lot of bread and wanted a way to use all my storage wheat post SHTF. Works well.

An added feature of this oven is the even heat. Seems to be imposable to burn anything. It cooks stews and potroasts like a crock pot; put a meals in the oven in the morning, by dinner it's hot and ready to eat.

elgin
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all for your comments.

I am thinking that this is the way to cook if SHTF. No need to worry about electricity or fire. Just find a good angle on the sun and keep it adjusted. I'll pick up some enamel cooking pots and some oven bags, and try it out camping.
 

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A few years back, I built a slightly modified version of this oven. http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/radabaugh30.html

It works great in the summer, but isn't very effective in the winter. It gets plenty hot enough to bake in, or simmer fuel wasting foods like beans. It takes a while to reach temperature though.

It didn't survive my last move, so I'll need to build another. But it would be a great way to cook in the summer and save fuel. Our summers last a long time and we have strong sunlight here most of the time. I can see solar ovens as highly useful in areas with strong sunlight.
 

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Tough Chick
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tonyatz, can you explain a little bit of the construction process of your cooler-sun-oven? Materials and how you used them? Also, can you explain the dish and boiling water? what do you boil it in and how does that work exactly? I am trying to picture where you would place the water and drawing a blank. Thanks.
 

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The cooler was made with silver plummers tape and carboard and piece of glass. The dish is used with stakes that I hold a pot up with, mainly you need to get the dish about 15 inches from the dish, once you put it in the sun hold you hand close were the point of reflection is and it will burn your hand, and dont look directly at the dish either it will cause short term blindness, just play with it and you will learn, look onyoutube for the dish you will find all kinds of videos on this.. Peace
 

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Has anyone used cast iron to cook in? I have a 2-qt covered cast iron pot, but was under the impression cast iron didn't get hot enough or something, so ordered the granite ware.
cast iron works well,after cleaning your dutch oven, store it in the solar oven and cooking time will go way down due to preheating of the pot.
 
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