Thursday, May 14, 2009

Soakin' Up the Sun

Today I tried making a Windshield Shade Solar Cooker.
It was pretty easy to put together
with things I already had at home:
  • reflective windshield shade
  • large binder clip
  • empty 5-gallon bucket
  • empty smaller bucket
  • clear pyrex bowl
  • brown-tinted glass casserole dish with lid
I used the smaller bucket
(my "weeding bucket" - please excuse the dirt)
inside the 5-gallon bucket
to keep my clear pyrex bowl in place.

To test the temperature of my solar oven I filled my brown-tinted glass bowl with water about 2/3 full and covered it with the lid. The water temperature was 76.5 degrees F. when I began at 1:45 pm.

Here are my results:
1:45 pm - 76.5 degrees F. (began cooking)
2:45 pm - 120 degrees F. (intermittent cloud cover)
3:45 pm - 133.3 degrees F. (left for a soccer game)
6:30 pm - 106.5 degrees F. (area shaded when I returned)

Solar Cooker at Cantinawest has some great information if you'd like to learn more about solar cooking. Here's what they have to say about the best time to use a solar cooker:
"The most ideal time of the day for cooking in a solar cooker is between the hours of 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM, this being possible in the summer time when the sun is directly overhead for a longer period of the day.In the middle of Winter your "ideal" time will be reduced to between roughly 11:30 to 2:30 PM."
They also have some solar cooker recipes on their website that sound good.

So, there you go. It was kinda fun. I'll try, try again -- getting an earlier start in the day next time. :)


Anonymous said...

Looks like it would work well. However, after using a commercially made SunOven for the last 5 months I have a sugguestion - instead of the brown pyrex use a dark lightweight metal pan. I use either a 9" round cake pan with non-stick surface topped with an upside down dark (darker than yours) pie pan for things like lasagna, meatloaf, biscuits,etc or when making stews, soups, ribs, whole chicken, etc I use a 3qt dark blue spatter ware lidded lightweight (think cheap)metal stock pot.

The darker the pan, the more heat is absorbed, the faster your food will cook. Bellen

K P said...

Thanks for the great suggestions Bellen!

Jan said...

It's funny, but I did the same thing when we first made the Windshield Shade Solar Cooker. I filled a speckle-ware pot with water and monitored the temperature over the course of a day to prove to myself that the solar cooker would indeed get HOT enough to cook something. It truly does.

I'll look forward to reading about the recipes you try.

Thanks for mentioning our garden site!

Best wishes-

K P said...

Jan, thanks for your post about the Windshield Shade Solar Cooker on your blog! Great idea to test the temperature with water before you actually try cooking something! Very helpful!