Although widely used in parts of Africa, Asia and South America solar ovens are less favoured in the more developed world which tends to be reliant upon energy from sources such as gas, oil and coal.
A solar oven uses the energy of the sun to cook food – this can be baked, roasted or broiled and you can use a solar oven to cook all types of food.
From chicken and roasts through to baking pies, bread and barbeque, you can cook it all.
Literally if you can cook it in a conventional oven you can cook it in a solar oven
We’ll look at how to make a solar oven further down the post.
You’ll be able to use your solar oven practically anywhere and it’ll ensure that you’ll have access to warm food whenever you have sunlight.
This could be useful if there is a power or gas outage, you might use it if you go camping and, the best thing is its really easy to learn how to make a solar oven and the parts are cheap and easy to get.
It’s possible to buy ready made solar ovens – although if you did that then it would take the fun out of wanting to make one.
How To Make a Solar Oven
1. Firstly we need to get all of our parts together. We’ll need a cardboard box which will be the over housing and food container, we’ll need some plastic wrap, clear tape, some aluminium foil and some old newspapers. Some thick black paper will also be needed.
Try to get the best quality that you can, it means your oven will last longer.
2. We’ll need some basic tools too. A pair of scissors and a knife along with a ruler should be all that are required.
3. First. Cut a large flap into the lid of the cardboard box and cover the inside of the flap with aluminium foil, making sure that it is securely taped, it also needs to be as smooth as possible which will allow it to reflect the maximum amount of sunlight.
The flap acts as a mirror and will reflect sunlight into the container.
4. We now need to make the box as airtight as possible. Use some of your clear tape to seal the opening that you made when you cut the flap, this will make sure that when we use the oven the box will have no draughts and the temperature inside the oven will remain as constant as possible.
If we don’t insulate the oven properly then it won’t be able to heat up – so take care to seal up the gaps properly.
5. Using the black paper, we now need to line the inside of the oven (box). By using black paper we provide the best color to absorb the sunlight that enters the oven, this gives us maximum efficiency and the oven will heat up much more quickly. Tape the paper down securely and try to keep it as neat and as flat as possible.
6. Using the newspapers, roll them up and secure them around the outside of the box with tape. Use lots. The newspapers provide insulation for the oven so we want this to be as good as we can get. A good idea would be to get a second cardboard box that is slightly larger than your oven and place the oven into this box. You can then stuff newspapers into the gap between the two boxes, and you can really pack them in to provide great insulation.
7. Okay, so we’re nearly finished. All that’s left to do is to get our protractor and set the angle of the oven lid to 45 degrees. This will maximise the amount of sunlight that is reflected into the oven.
We can now start cooking. Place the oven in a sunny spot making sure that the lid is facing the sun.
Put your food into the oven – try some hotdogs first and see how you get on.
Remember that this is a solar oven and, although you can cook a lot of things you should always make sure that your food is cooked thoroughly before you eat it.
Also, remember that your oven is made from cardboard, tape, paper and other bits that won’t survive rain and also that at some point it will fall apart.
You can improve on the cardboard aspect of this solar oven by using more substantial materials. Perhaps a wooden box, instead of foil you could use some steel sheeting….you could add some mirrors to increase the amount of sunlight…you get the idea.
If you are a keen DIY er or just enjoy making things then you can be as creative as you like.
Who knows..it could be fun too.