What are solar ovens and how they work
Have you ever heard about solar ovens? Do you know how to operate one? Many people know about solar ovens but only a few have actually tried using them. Simply defined, solar ovens are equipment that take up energy from sunlight and change it to heat energy.
So, how do these mysterious ovens work?
A solar oven employs a special way to collect and retain as much sunlight as possible and changes this into heat energy. While this may be possible with the use of several devices, solar ovens are specially designed to retain the heat for longer hours.
Finding an excellent cooker
Like many home products, there are a lot of solar ovens in the market and you should be able to distinguish the best products from the average ones. That said, a good solar oven should;
- Concentrate enough light– The best solar ovens employ the use of highly reflective materials to collect and focus light on a specific point. These materials are tilted at special angles to produce a heat of over 350°C, which is enough to handle a weekend barbecue.
- Change light to heat energy with little to no energy loss– A good solar oven should change the light energy to heat energy without losing much of it in the process. That said, you should also mind the cooking utensils that you use as they influence your solar cooking experience. We recommend that you use dark pots or pans since they can absorb and retain heat energy much better than lighter surfaces.
- Keep as much heat energy as possible- Reflecting light from the sun to your oven is one thing but keeping this heat energy is another thing. One way that these ovens use to achieve this is by using glass lids, which retains the heat in the pans.
How to cook in solar oven
People use their solar ovens in a number of ways. You can use it as an aid to your barbecue or other outdoor cooker. This would be great for warming cooked food, storing cooked or uncooked food, or heating other meals in your barbecue.
For others, adopting such an oven is a way to enhance their green lifestyle and reduce the impact of fossil fuels on the environment. Cooking using the sun can be great, especially if you live in a sunny town since you can even roast and bake a full chicken. If you wish to join this bandwagon then you should get a reliable solar oven.
Regardless of why you want to get a solar cooker, it is imperative that you choose the right equipment. If you are a regular cooker with big ambitions then you should get an advanced solar cooker. This should have a large cooking area, higher heat temperatures, and a good cooking storage. Other important tools for the ambitious chef includes a cookbook, a cooking pot, a thermometer, and a device to reveal the precise location to place the oven.
Like most kitchen equipment, you need to be mindful of the price of the oven that you want. That said, most solar ovens in the market are more affordable than th regular oven, which explains why they have been quite popular over the last few years. If you are on a shoestring budget then it is important to find an affordable solar oven that does not compromise on performance. All Season Solar Cooker Camper is one oven to consider, especially if you are looking for a low-range product. It is affordable but still comes in a large size. However, if you want to splurge then you can find a solar oven with additional features such as thermometers or dehydrating racks.
Features to consider while buying the best solar oven
Not all solar ovens are suitable for you since different consumers like different things. A family of six will definitely need a larger solar oven than a smaller family. In the same way, a camping oven needs to be portable or foldable but a barbecue solar oven can be quite bulky.
Despite your preferences, you need to have sufficient capacity to accommodate all your needs. If you have a large family or want to store your food in the solar oven then you should find an oven that has a larger cooking capacity. Models like GOSUN Fusion Solar Oven and All Season Solar Cooker Camper proved to have large cooking areas and could fit several pots at once. Solar ovens with smaller capacities like Haines 2.0 SunUp Solar Cooker will often be compact and work great for travelers.
It is impossible to talk about the portability of an oven without mentioning its size and capacity. If you are an avid camper or traveler then you obviously need a compact and lightweight product that you can carry with you. Other ovens like Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven and GOSUN Survival Gear Solar Oven are foldable and can easily be stored and transported.
Aside from the weight and compactness of your oven, you also need to purchase an oven that you can easily install and take apart.
After extensive research, you will realize that each oven has a set heating temperature and that they vary from one solar oven to another.
That said, most solar ovens will come with sufficient heating temperatures ranging from 200 to 550° F. A significant number of solar ovens come with a max temperature of 550° F, which is hot enough to grill or sear meat in your next barbecue.
Heating temperatures may depend on several issues such as the amount of sun light that it gets and retains. A solar cooker may exhibit low heating temperatures if not installed well or if the weather is a bit gloomy. However, most newer models in the market are all-season ovens, which means that they would still work great even during winter. KECOP and GOSUN Solar Ovens were some of the products we tried out that had a with high max cooking temperatures of up to 550° F.
Easy to use
As with most cooking products, you do not want to struggle with using a kitchen equipment. The last thing you want it to burn meat or bread not because you were away but because you didn’t know how to operate the machine. From our review, we could tell that some ovens were easier to install and even use than others because of their different features. Others are easy to operate because you can keep tabs with your food while baking. In the same way, we also found that other ovens are easy to use since they have a large cooking area and can accommodate different pots.
We get it. No one wants to wait hours before they can finally taste their oven baked lasagna. But just because you are impatient or very hungry does not mean that baking or grilling with more heat will make you achieve shorter cooking periods.
When you need to cook, it is worth noting that using high temperatures isn’t necessarily the best way to reduce cooking speed. Not all foods will cook well under high heat as some foods need to be cooked under low heat for a long time.
Surprisingly, the cooking speeds of a solar oven can be affected by the cooking pots that you use. If you seal your cooking pot then you are much likely to cook your food using a shorter time. In summary, you should note that the cooking speed will ultimately rely on the recipe that you are trying or the food that you wish to cook.
People buy solar ovens for different reasons but one thing will always remain constant; you should strive to get a durable one. Whether you wish to use it in the wild when camping or in your yard, a durable product will serve you for years. It will not only allow you to prepare several meals over the years but it will also withstand any harsh environmental conditions when hiking or camping. Sun Oven All American is among the most durable ovens that we tried out.
Of course, you want to buy an oven that comes with a trove of accessories. And a significant number of these ovens in the market will not disappoint when it comes to accessories. These include dehydrating racks, bags for carrying the products, cookbooks, thermometers and come will even come with cooking pots. While you may want as many accessories as possible, it is important to look out for accessories that you will use. It is crucial that the solar oven includes everything you will need in your solar cooking journey.
You should strive to get several other features when you choose to buy that oven. For example, the oven that you buy should come have suitable warranty terms as a show of confidence in the quality of their product. You should also put much consideration into the design of your oven since it will impact the overall décor of your house or lawn.