Sunday, July 24, 2011

Homemade Solar Cooker


This is a picture of my current solar cooker.  It is a hybrid Windshield Shade Solar Cooker based on models developed by Kathy Dalh-Bredine and Sharon Cousins. 

I added the silver bowl after several failed attempts to balance the cooking rack on just the windshield shade.  I also added the black lid after my first failed roll cooking experiment.  I read through a great FAQ on solar cooking and noticed that they mentioned needing to use the black lid.

Materials:
*Reflective Windshield Shade
Mine is oversized.  $5 from Amazon.
*Velcro
To attach the edges of the windshield shade. $3 at Walmart.
*Bucket/Pots/Basket
In which you place the windshield shade.  I used two flower pots stacked.  We were also successful with a five gallon buckets with rocks inside.  A square laundry basket also worked - but I needed the basket.
*Large Silver Bowl
*Square Cooling/Cookie Rack
*Black Pot with Black Lid
Mine is a 12 lb. roaster from Walmart ($11).  It is actually too big but I've been nesting a smaller second pan inside.  I still need to try cooking directly in this pan.
*Cooking Bag
I needed turkey size to accommodate the black pan.  This can be reused.

Optional:
*Internal Cooking Thermometer
  It is fantastic for making perfect steaks and tender chicken.  It has been extremely helpful in our cooking experiments because I am able to track temperature without opening the bag and pan (which usually results in a a 20 degree temperature drop).  It is wireless and I can read the temperature from within my home.

Instructions:
1.  Attach Velcro to the windshield shade as shown here.   I used an oversized windshield shade so it took four two-inch pieces evenly spaced.  It is easier if you make sure that the Velcro is put on the notched long side.

2.  Place the windshield shade funnel into your bucket or pot. 

3.  Place cooling rack into silver bowl.  I used scotch tape at the corners to keep it from slipping.  If your rack is larger than the bowl, you can just have it rest on the edges.

4. Place bowl and cooling rack into funnel.

5. Place food into either the black pot directly or a smaller nesting pan within the black pot. 

6. Place the black pot into the cooking bag.  Fasten tightly.  I like to tightly twist the bag opening and then insert the twist tightly into the pot handles.

7. Place pot and bag onto the cooling rack inside the silver bowl. 

8. Tilt the setup so that the funnel optimizes the sun light.  I can see the best position by looking at the shadow on the ground behind the windshield shade.  Continue to adjust every 30 minutes or so as the sun moves across the sky.

9. Cook until items reach desired temperature or until food is cooked thoroughly.

Hints:
*Cooking will be most successful on a clear day.  Sun rays are most direct and consequently your cooking temperatures will be optimized between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.  Smaller food pieces will cook more quickly.

1 comment:

  1. There's a chance you are eligible for a new solar program.
    Find out if you are eligble now!

    ReplyDelete