Solar cooking is more fashionable than ever, is used all over the world, there are even studies which estimate around 100,000 units between China and India. More and more people are starting to cook with the sun’s rays. Solar cookers can cook any type of food, just investing a little extra time. For history buffs, solar cooking was invented by a Swiss naturist named Horace de Saussure, in 1767.
Benefits of solar cooking.
- Very easy to use, although they need their adaptation period.
- Contamination-free, it is the most ecological method of cooking.
- They do not need any type of fuel for their operation.
- Make the most of the sun’s clean energy.
- You can make your own, in the basic models, it’s pretty straightforward.
- Materials for its construction are very common and inexpensive.
- They are generally quite clean.
- It is a good solution for people with few resources, it saves money.
- We can also use it to make water drinkable (pasteurization takes place at 65 ° C in just 20 minutes), defrost food, boil water, melt candle wax, fruit packaging, make paper or soap and many more.
They also have some drawbacks, among which we can highlight their slowness and their dependence on the sun, that is to say that to cook you will need sun, which does not mean heat. It can be cooked on cold days but with the sun. Having an outside temperature of 1 ° C, the inside of the oven can exceed 87 ° C. It only works with 20 minutes of sunshine per hour.
Comparison of cooking time between a solar oven and a conventional gas or electric oven:
|Cooking temperature equivalence|
|Classic minutes (200 ° C)||Solar minutes (150 ° C)|
Types of solar cookers.
While there are many different types and variations, given that many people make their own kitchens with the most diverse materials and shapes we can imagine, there are generally two types of solar cookers:
1. Concentrating parabolic solar cooker.
Almost the same as a satellite dish that you see in buildings. It is covered on the inside with a reflective material which concentrates all the heat at a point called the hearth, where the pot is placed. This is the fundamental property on which all parabolic devices are based. The heat generated can exceed 300 ° C. They heat up very quickly and are used for both frying and cooking.
2. Solar oven.
It is a closed box with a transparent cover. Cook with the heat concentrated inside the drawer, “greenhouse effect”. This effect increases the heat inside the oven. They are a bit slower than parabolic solar cookers. The temperature can reach 120 ° C.
How to build a homemade solar kitchen.
On the Internet we can find a multitude of manuals to make our own solar cooker, here I will show you the ones I liked the most:
– Blueprints to build a collapsible parabolic solar cooker.
– Blueprints for umbrella template.
– Solar oven:
This excellent educational material teaches us how to build, step by step and with recycled materials, a very efficient kitchen like parabolic solar.
Some modern solar cookers.
The following caught my attention:
Solar cooker by David Wilson, professor at MIT.
New solar technology developed by Professor David Wilson of MIT could make solar barbecues the best-selling on the market very soon. Its greatest virtue is being able to cook with the solar energy accumulated 24 hours a day.
Cook food in a vacuum tube, keeping up to 90% of the heat energy concentrated inside and reaching temperatures of up to 287 ° C in just a few minutes.
Solar cooker for camping.
PhotonGrill, a 100% solar-powered barbecue.
Perfect for camping and fire-free, lightweight and fossil-fuel-free areas, designed to be convenient and portable, it folds easily to fit in a backpack. The best? Its NASA-inspired technology that is so efficient that the grill reaches up to 200 ° C in just five minutes.
So you can see that there is also an evolution in this field of solar cookers.
To finish I leave you some recipes: