Wednesday, August 15, 2012

12 Things You Need To Know About Cooking In Your Sun Oven--Sun Oven Day 2

12 Things You Need To Know About 
Cooking In Your Sun Oven

1.  There is a little prep work to do before you cook with a new Sun Oven
  • Remove the sun oven from the box and packing material.  
  • Carefully remove the blue protective film that covers the reflectors.
  • Heat a pan of soapy water inside the sun oven.  Using the soapy water wash the inside of the oven well.  Be sure to pay special attention to the glass and the seal next to the glass.

2.  You need to preheat your Sun Oven
  • To preheat the sun oven, find a location where there is unobstructed sun access. 
  • Open the reflectors and position your oven so that the shadows fall evenly on either side of the oven, and the glass door has the full sun’s rays. (You may need to adjust the oven as you are cooking.)  
  •  The glass should be held securely against the rubber seal using the small silver fasteners.  The screw that holds the reflectors in place should be turned so that if wind comes up the reflectors will stay in place.  
  • Preheating is necessary when you do bread, cakes and other foods that rise, but it is not necessary for most casseroles. 

3.  You need bright sun light to cook in the Sun Oven.  If you can see your shadow then you can cook in the sun oven.  Because of wild fires the past week has been very hazy at my house consequently I have not been able to get my sun oven up to the 350 degrees I need to use it like a regular oven.  I can however get it hot enough to use it as a slow cooker.  
4.  Every time you open the door of your sun oven you lose about 25 degrees of heat.  So be prepared with all your supplies before you open the door.  Put your food in quickly and shut the glass tightly.
5. The inside of the sun oven is HOT!!!   It is deceiving at first you don’t think it is going to be hot.  It is be sure to use hot pads.
6.  If you spill something in your sun oven, let it cool down and then squirt it out with the hose.  You can use glass cleaner to clean the glass and the reflectors.   NEVER clean the hot glass with cold water it can crack the glass.
8. The best time to cook in your sun oven is when the sun is at its highest.  This is a little deceptive because it is warmest outside in the late afternoon so it seems like late afternoon would be the best time.  It isn’t.  Late morning to early afternoon is the best time to cook in the Sun Oven.
9. Do not add extra water when cooking in the sun oven. Water is dense and takes longer to heat than individual ingredients. Many recipes call for little or no water (as with crock pot recipes), relying instead on the natural moisture content of the ingredients.  It is not an omission in the recipe. 
10. There is a difference between cooking in your sun oven in the summer and in the winter.  As the earth tilts toward and away from the sun (as the seasons change) you use your sun oven a little differently.  In the winter 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  During winter months use the extendable leg to aim the sun oven at the sun.  The sun oven it well insulated and the outside temperature plays little role in how hot the oven gets.  The sun oven will work well in the winter IF it is a sunny day.  In the summer:  12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.  In the summer months do NOT use the extendable leg.  
Use the extendable leg only in the winter.
11.  Pay attention to your cookware.  It makes a big difference. Use dark or dull pans with a lid. Cook with a lid.  Most food, with the exception of cookies and open-faced cheese sandwiches, are cooked in containers with the lids on. The dark, porcelain-coated round and oval roasters are the best for most of the cooking and baking in the solar cooker. (The 9-inch round roaster makes a beautiful round loaf of bread). Be sure to use hot pads when removing the pots from the oven; the food will be hot!
Dark cookware works best. 
Stacking pans
Pans may be stacked to cook more than one item at a time.  When stacked everything cooks evenly (remember the sun oven works like a convection oven)
Pots may also be stacked allowing you to cook two different dishes at a time (think a starch and a protein)
12. If you can see your shadow it is a good day to cook in a sun oven.  If you cannot see your shadow don’t cook in your sun oven.
  • GOOD: Clear and sunny.  Oven will preheat to 275° - 300°F (130° - 145° Celsius.)
  • FAIR: Hazy or partly cloudy.  Oven will preheat to 200° - 225°F (95° - 105° Celsius.)
  • BAD: On a completely cloudy day one cannot cook with the sun.  If the clouds move in and completely block the sun while cooking, simply finish the cooking in a non-solar way.

You might want to check out my Ultimate FREE Sun Oven PDF.