By Sandee Rucker -
I have been using my sun oven for close to 10 years. It only weighs 22 pounds, has a carrying handle attached to it and is easy to set up. It uses only the sun for cooking, even in the snow, as long as the sun casts a shadow. When food is cooking, the lid is closed and sealed, so it produces no smoke. The oven cooks by baking, not by frying or grilling, so it is permitted to be used when there are no flame restrictions issued. It also dehydrates by cracking the lid to let moisture out.
The best cooking hours are during full sun from 10 am to 2 pm and solar alignment needs to be adjusted every half hour so that the shadows from the oven should be even. Temperatures can reach between 360 to 400 degrees, but I usually see it reach 250 to 350. The oven must cook at a minimum of 170 degrees for food safety reasons, especially when cooking any meat (so carrying a thermometer to check for safe internal temperatures may be a good idea). It will bake, boil or steam and can also pasteurize water. Using the oven to rehydrate dehydrated food uses a quarter less water than by traditional means. It also cooks hard-boiled eggs without water after about an hour. A Dutch oven the right size will fit inside the oven and a sun oven retains heat longer after the sun is gone while the Dutch oven remains inside the sun oven. Stoneware and glassware can be used in it, however, dark enamelware works best because it gets hot the fastest.
Other useful characteristics are that the sun oven kills bugs that are in grains, nuts, rice and dried beans. My favorite meal to make is baby back ribs. It takes three hours, and they end up moist, fall off the bone, delicious, and the best you have ever tasted! Apply BBQ sauce during the last hour of cooking. Sweet potatoes take two and a half to three hours and come out moist and full flavored. Just add butter and brown sugar or honey with cinnamon sprinkled on. To cook a turkey up to 21 pounds, place in a cooking bag with no holes. It takes three to four hours to cook a 12-to-15-pound turkey. Stew, chili, soup, meat and frankly anything you can bake can be baked in a sun oven, even bread, which comes out light brown and moist. The sun oven is very well insulated and can be used as a cooler for transport. Be careful to put anything against the glass. Cookbooks are available for more ideas, suggestions and directions.
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