Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cooking (?) With Sunshine.

Well, I done went and did it. I've been reading about these solar cookers for a while. They sound so simple - so affordable. So I finally gathered the materials and made one:

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The shade was $6 and the pack of 2 oven bags was $2something. I had the velcro in my craft stuff, and the rack is from the kitchen. Little blue pot is from our camping stuff.

Anyroo, find the 'notched end'. This is the notch. You'll be attaching the sticky backed velcro bits along this side of the shade.
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Attach three velcro pieces to the left side of the notch...
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...then fold up the right side, and attach the corresponding pieces along the right side of the notch, so that they will 'match up' with the pieces on the other side.
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That's basically IT!! Now you just have to set it up. Put something heavy (like rocks) into an old bucket, tub or container.
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Attach the velcro pieces to their friends, and form a funnel shape with your screen. Slip it into the bucket, and put the rack inside. The funnel shape holds it in place.
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You put the food in the pot, and the pot in an 'oven bag'. That helps even out the heat, if I understand this correctly. Once that's all done, point it at the sun.
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Whoops...my pot/rack is sinking. So I'm going to try a larger rack.
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That is better.
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However...I did buy the really big size of windshield shade. So I think I need a larger bucket underneath, maybe a smallish trash can, and then the rack will work better too. I'll look around the next few days and find a setup that works.

Results so far have shown me that I'm still learning. The first day I tried it I was determined, but the weather was not cooperating. It was windy and partly cloudy. Still, I raised the temp of a pan of water by 50 degrees.

The second day I tried it was not windy and the sun was more steady. I was soaking some beans in the house, so I stuck them in the solar cooker just to see what would happen. They got full size, but not fully cooked. I refrigerated them overnight, cooked them all the next day (you could actually smell them cooking), but they still were not done. I think I can get the temps up higher with some experimentation. I've had it get hot enough to burn myself (minor), so I believe it really can work once I understand it better.

I also love that you just un-velcro it and it stores in a small space. I think this is a very useable solar cooker, and I can't wait to learn more about it and share my results.

2 comments:

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

Amazing. I will be checking back to see how your experinments are doing.

tenthingsfarm said...

Thanks, Lynne! We're having a bout of foggy weather right now so I'm not getting a chance to play with this. I know it's going to be used a lot once the sunny weather comes back. :)

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