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Depending on [[Where is solar cooking possible?|where you live]] and how you cook, solar cooking can save you time, work, and fuel. It is also environmentally friendly, and a fun way to prepare your meals. All foods can be cooked in some type of solar cooker.
   
  +
Solar cooking is often associated with crockpot, or slow cooking. [[Guidelines and cooking tips|Cooking times]] for most solar cookers are typically twice that for conventional cooking methods. Slower cooking has its advantages however. Less water is used than with conventional cooking and foods retain more flavor and nutrients, rather than being steamed or boiled off.
   
Below is a collection of articles about solar cooking basics. If you are interested in trying solar cooking for the first time yourself, you may be wondering whether it is best to build your own solar cooker, or to buy a finished solar cooker commercially. Take a look at [[How solar cookers work|how solar cookers work]] to help understand the principles of solar cooking. Building your own solar cooker can be fairly easy and inexpensive way to go. Various types of solar cookers that are available to build are listed at [[:Category:Solar cooker plans|build a solar cooker]]. You will find information there comparing the [http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Solar_cooker_plans#Selected_designs advantages and disadvantages] of each style of cooker. There are also many solar cookers available commercially. Commercial cookers are typically well made, and waterproof. The location of the retailer will be important to consider to avoid high shipping costs. See possibilities at [[:Category:Manufacturers and vendors|buy a solar cooker]].
+
Basic solar cookers do not require stirring the food while cooking. By leading the sun orientation a little and adding a bit more cooking time, [[box cookers]] and [[Solar panel cookers|panel cookers]] can be set and left to cook unattended. [[Parabolic solar cooker]]s reach higher temperatures requiring more attention to the cooking food. They need to be reoriented to the sun approximately every fifteen minutes, which can be done automatically if they are equipped with a [[solar tracking]] device.
  +
  +
For areas in the world experiencing [[deforestation]] and limited access to [[Water pasteurization|clean water]], solar cooking is proving to be a valuable [[Integrated Cooking Method|part of the solution]], by providing a safe [[Household air pollution|smoke-free]] alternative to cooking and boiling water over open fires.
  +
  +
==Buy or build a solar cooker==
  +
[[Image:CooKit.jpg|right|thumb|275px||Solar Cookers International sells the [[CooKit]] solar panel cooker for $39.00 USD [http://shop.solarcookers.org/?pn=CooKit&cn=Cookers&p=621&c=27 online here].]] If you are interested in trying solar cooking for the first time, you may be wondering whether you should [[:Category:Solar cooker plans|build your own solar cooker]], or to [[:Category:Manufacturers and vendors|buy one from a manufacturer]]. There are advantages to both options:
  +
#Building your own solar cooker can be a fun and cost-effective way to get started.
  +
#Purchasing a solar cooker is simple and you will often receive a higher-quality cooker than one you could build yourself.
  +
If you want to build a cooker, visit our [[:Category:Solar cooker plans|build a solar cooker]] page to choose a design that's right for you. You will find information comparing the [http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Solar_cooker_plans#Selected_designs advantages and disadvantages] of each style of cooker.
  +
  +
If you would like to purchase a cooker, check out the list of manufacturers and vendors on our [[:Category:Manufacturers and vendors|buy a solar cooker]] page. Commercial cookers are typically durable and efficient, and offer an easy way for new users to experience solar cooking. As cookers are manufactured globally, consider potential shipping costs when selecting a design.
  +
  +
==How do solar cookers work?==
  +
Solar cookers work on the basic principle: Sunlight is converted to heat energy that is retained for cooking.
  +
  +
Most basic [[solar panel cookers]] and [[solar box cooker]]s can reach 120°C (250°F). The captured sunlight passes through a greenhouse enclosure enclosing a dark colored cook pot. As it hits the dark surface, the sunlight is converted to heat, which can not escape the enclosure, and cooking temperatures are achieved. This principle is often experienced by drivers returning to a closed car that has been parked in the sun.
  +
  +
[[File:Solar_Cooking_basics,_SCI_2004,_pg._1,_12-9-14.png|none|500px]]
  +
[[File:Solar_Cooking_basics,_SCI_2004,_pg._2,_12-19-14.png|none|500px]]
  +
  +
*[[Parabolic solar cooker]]s use a bowl shaped reflector to focus the light more directly onto the cook pot, usually from below, and typically do not require a greenhouse enclosure to retain the heat. They reach much higher temperature than the other styles of solar cookers and have the ability to fry and broil foods.
  +
::[[File:SolSource_Solar_Stove_with_Cookware.gif|thumb|left|250px|[[SolSource]] is an example of a [[parabolic solar cooker]] shown with cookware. The light is focussed at the bottom of the cook pot.]]
  +
  +
[[File:Industrial_scale_cooking,_Solare_Brucke,_6-10-15.png|thumb|300px|[[Institutional solar cooking]] can employ many large [[parabolic solar cooker|parabolic]] reflectors to generate steam, and cook for thousands of people daily. Many of these systems are in use in [[India]]. This example, was built with technology from [[Solare Brücke]].]]
  +
{{clr}}
  +
{{Main|How solar cookers work}}
  +
  +
==Solar cooker types==
  +
The three most common types of solar cookers are [[box cookers]], [[panel cookers]], and [[parabolic solar cooker]]s. Hundreds — if not thousands — of variations on these basic types exist. Additionally, several large-scale solar cooking systems have been developed to meet the needs of institutions worldwide.
  +
  +
===<u>Box cookers</u>===
  +
[[Image:Box-type.jpg|right|200px|girl with box cooker]]
  +
Box cookers cook food at moderate to high temperatures and often accommodate multiple pots, typically taking between one and three hours to cook various foods. Worldwide, they are the most widespread. There are several hundred thousand in India alone.
  +
{{Main|Solar box cooker designs}}
  +
  +
===<u>Panel cookers</u>===
  +
[[Image:Panel-type.jpg|right|200px|woman with panel cooker]]
  +
Panel cookers incorporate elements of box and parabolic concentrator cookers. They are simple and relatively inexpensive to buy or produce. Solar Cookers International's "[[CooKit]]" is the most widely used combination cooker.
  +
{{Main|Solar panel cooker designs}}
  +
  +
===<u>Parabolic cookers</u>===
  +
[[Image:AlSol 1.4.jpg|thumb|300px|An [[AlSol 1.4]] parabolic cooker demonstrates where the cook pot is supported to receive the focussed light from below from the reflector.]] [[Parabolic solar cooker]]s use a bowl shaped reflector to focus the light more directly onto the cook pot, usually from below, and typically do not require a greenhouse enclosure to retain the heat. The parabolic name refers to the shape of the curve of the reflector cross-section.
  +
  +
They will require more frequent reorientation to the sun, possibly every fifteen minutes, but they cook food more quickly at higher temperatures compared to other solar cookers, often reaching over 200°C (400°F). They also have the ability to fry and broil foods. Generally parabolic solar cookers will need to be attended to more than box or panel cookers to avoid possibly burning the food at the bottom of the cook pot. They are especially useful for large-scale [[institutional solar cooking]] systems.
  +
{{Main|Parabolic solar cooker designs}}
  +
  +
More information on [[pots]], [[Glazing|glazing enclosures]], and [[Reflective materials|reflective material]], used to gather additional sunlight.
  +
  +
==Cooking with your solar cooker==
  +
The golden rule for solar cooking is get your food on early, and do not worry about overcooking. Most people starting to solar cook will be using a [[solar panel cooker]] or [[solar box cooker]]. These cookers are oriented to the sun and typically don't need to be turned to follow the sun during a 3-4 hour cooking period. Add much less water to the recipe than you would use cooking with more conventional stoves and ovens.
   
 
Once you have decided on a cooker, you will need to find appropriate [[Solar cooking pots|cookware]]. Thin-walled dark enameled metal cook pots work well. They are good at heating up quickly. Cast iron pots also work, and are typically preheated in the solar cooker before cooking. The advantage of the heavier pots is that they will help maintain an even cooking temperature if the sun is occasionally blocked by clouds, but most solar cooks seem to use the enamel pots. Because dark cooking pots work the best in solar cookers, it is important to remember to use a [[Paint|nontoxic paint]] for the exterior cook pot surface if you choose to darken your own pots.
 
Once you have decided on a cooker, you will need to find appropriate [[Solar cooking pots|cookware]]. Thin-walled dark enameled metal cook pots work well. They are good at heating up quickly. Cast iron pots also work, and are typically preheated in the solar cooker before cooking. The advantage of the heavier pots is that they will help maintain an even cooking temperature if the sun is occasionally blocked by clouds, but most solar cooks seem to use the enamel pots. Because dark cooking pots work the best in solar cookers, it is important to remember to use a [[Paint|nontoxic paint]] for the exterior cook pot surface if you choose to darken your own pots.
   
Consider the type of foods you will be preparing in your cooker. [[Solar panel cookers]] and [[solar box cookers]] are simple to use, and are best at baking and slow cooking, similar to crockpot cooking. [[parabolic solar cooker|Parabolic solar cookers]] will require frequent reorientation to the sun, but have the ability to fry foods and cook food on a griddle. [[Cooking guidelines]] will explain the best way to prepare specific food types. There are also many [[Recipes|recipes]] of proven approaches to great dishes, but basically, most any recipe will work with the right solar cooker, by simply allowing for more cooking time. Most solar cooks will advise to not add much extra liquid when cooking, as you might do with traditional stovetop cooking. The natural juices of the food are retained when solar cooking.
+
{{Main|Guidelines and cooking tips}}
+
 
==Introductory articles==
 
==Introductory articles==
*[[Why solar cooking is important]]
+
*[[Solar cooking frequently-asked questions]]
 
*[[How solar cookers work]]
 
*[[How solar cookers work]]
  +
*[[Introduction & Cooking Tips|Solar cooking tips and tricks]]
  +
*[[Recipes]]
  +
*[[Cooking guidelines]]
  +
*[[Books|Solar cookbooks]]
 
*[[Where is solar cooking possible?]]
 
*[[Where is solar cooking possible?]]
 
*[[The case for solar cooking]]
 
*[[The case for solar cooking]]
*[[Media:The Case for Solar Thermal Cooking.pdf|The Case for Solar Thermal Cooking: Free Fuel—Zero Emissions]]
 
 
*[[:Category:Solar cooker plans|Build a solar cooker]]
 
*[[:Category:Solar cooker plans|Build a solar cooker]]
 
*[[:Category:Manufacturers and vendors|Buy a solar cooker]]
 
*[[:Category:Manufacturers and vendors|Buy a solar cooker]]
 
*[[Health and safety]]
 
*[[Health and safety]]
  +
  +
==Learn more==
  +
*[[Why solar cooking is important]]
  +
*[[Most significant solar cooking projects]]
  +
*[[United Nations Millennium Development Goals]]
 
*[[The history of solar cooking]]
 
*[[The history of solar cooking]]
*[[Solar cooking frequently-asked questions]]
 
*[[Introduction & Cooking Tips|Solar cooking tips and tricks]]
 
*[[Recipes]]
 
*[[Cooking guidelines]]
 
*[[Books|Solar cookbooks]]
 
 
*[[Emergency preparedness|Solar cooking and emergency preparedness]]
 
*[[Emergency preparedness|Solar cooking and emergency preparedness]]
 
*[[Promoting solar cooking]]
 
*[[Promoting solar cooking]]
  +
*[[Q&A on Solar Cooking]]
   
==Introductory Manual==
+
==Introductory manuals==
 
<br />
 
<br />
<imagemap>
+
  +
*[[Media:CooKit_plans_detailed.pdf|Solar Cookers: How to Make, Use, and Enjoy]] (There are also detailed versions in Arabic ([[Media:CooKit_ar.pdf|Standard]], [[Media:Solar Oven Instructions Arabic.pdf|Variation]]), [[Media:CooKit_french_plans.pdf|French]], [[Media:CooKit Plans detailed Spanish.pdf|Spanish]], and [[Media:Solar_cookit_nairobi_booklet.pdf|English for Kenya]], and [[Media:CooKit - Galician.pdf|Galician]].)
  +
::<imagemap>
 
Image:Solar cookers international handbook.jpg|180px|none
 
Image:Solar cookers international handbook.jpg|180px|none
 
default [[Media:CooKit_plans_detailed.pdf]]
 
default [[Media:CooKit_plans_detailed.pdf]]
 
desc none
 
desc none
 
</imagemap>
 
</imagemap>
[[Media:CooKit_plans_detailed.pdf|Solar Cookers: How to Make, Use, and Enjoy]]
 
   
==Reports==
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* [http://www.isf-cameroun.org/sites/default/files/cookers_english_BD.pdf Construction of solar cookers and driers] - ''Christelle Souriau & David Amelin'' (This is an excellent overview of solar cooking basics and simple solar cooker and dryer construction methods.)
  +
::[[File:Solar_orientation,_Construction_of_solar_cookers_and_driers,_Souriau_&_Amelin,_6-9-15.png|thumb|none|400px|Solar orientation, [http://www.isf-cameroun.org/sites/default/files/cookers_english_BD.pdf Construction of solar cookers and driers], ''Souriau & Amelin'']]
   
 
==Audio and video==
 
==Audio and video==
*[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-_4g0Omtsw&feature=player_embedded Nature-Powered Cooking]
+
[[File:Solar Cooking in Africa - A Remarkable Technology Transfer|500px|none]]
*[http://personnel.awr.org/Misiani/Ray/Solar%2520cooking%2520nov.07.2002.mp3 Short audio piece on solar cooking by Adventist World Radio]
 
*[http://www1.voanews.com/SpecialEnglish/article.cfm?objectID=D2DC5F52-C3B5-4F2F-99EC66F4E6BECC21&title=DEVELOPMENT%2520REPORT%2520%2596%2520Solar%2520Cookers Listen to 2005 Voice of America report on solar cooking]
 
*[http://www.voanews.com/SpecialEnglish/article.cfm?objectID=FD3E6146-1048-4E66-AF5ECDFC3F971BE9&Title=DEVELOPMENT%20REPORT%20%96%20May%2013,%202002:%20Solar%20Cookers&db=current The Voice of America broadcast their Special English Development Report with solar cooking as the subject matter.]
 
 
==See also==
 
 
*[[Developing an intuitive feel for the dynamics of solar cooking]]
 
*[[Media:Pejack_on_solar_cooker_technology.pdf|In-depth look at solar cooking]] - ''Dr. [[Ed Pejack]]''&nbsp;
 
*[[Compendium of solar cooker designs]]
 
*[[:Category:Solar cooker designs|All solar cooker designs]]
 
*[[Principles of Solar Box Cooker Design]]
 
*[http://solarcooking.org/ISES-2005.pdf Affordable Solar Cookers For The Neediest] - ''Beverly L. Blum''
 
   
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
*[http://solarcooking.org/kerr.htm The Expanding World of Solar Box Cookers] - ''[[Barbara Kerr]]''
+
*[http://solarcooking.org/kerr.htm The Expanding World of Solar Box Cookers] - ''[[Barbara Kerr]]'' (This is the full-text of the book by this solar cooking pioneer)
+
* [http://www.isf-cameroun.org/sites/default/files/cookers_english_BD.pdf Construction of solar cookers and driers] - ''Christelle Souriau & David Amelin'' (This is an excellent overview of solar cooking basics and simple solar cooker and dryer construction methods.)
*Three part series by Sharon Cousins on practical, humanitarian, and environmental aspects and potentials of solar cooking: [http://valeriecomer.com/?p=1113 Solar Cooking: Clean, Bright and Accessible],[http://valeriecomer.com/?p=1313 Out of the Smoke, Into the Sun], and [http://valeriecomer.com/?p=1438 Cleaner Cooking, Healthier Planet]
+
*Three part series by Sharon Cousins on practical, humanitarian, and environmental aspects and potentials of solar cooking: [http://valeriecomer.com/?p=1113 Solar Cooking: Clean, Bright and Accessible], [http://valeriecomer.com/?p=1313 Out of the Smoke, Into the Sun], and [http://valeriecomer.com/?p=1438 Cleaner Cooking, Healthier Planet]
[[Category:Introduction to solar cooking]]
 

Latest revision as of 02:07, June 27, 2015

Last updated: June 25, 2015      
Yes We Do Solar Cook04:26

Yes We Do Solar Cook

Depending on where you live and how you cook, solar cooking can save you time, work, and fuel. It is also environmentally friendly, and a fun way to prepare your meals. All foods can be cooked in some type of solar cooker.

Solar cooking is often associated with crockpot, or slow cooking. Cooking times for most solar cookers are typically twice that for conventional cooking methods. Slower cooking has its advantages however. Less water is used than with conventional cooking and foods retain more flavor and nutrients, rather than being steamed or boiled off.

Basic solar cookers do not require stirring the food while cooking. By leading the sun orientation a little and adding a bit more cooking time, box cookers and panel cookers can be set and left to cook unattended. Parabolic solar cookers reach higher temperatures requiring more attention to the cooking food. They need to be reoriented to the sun approximately every fifteen minutes, which can be done automatically if they are equipped with a solar tracking device.

For areas in the world experiencing deforestation and limited access to clean water, solar cooking is proving to be a valuable part of the solution, by providing a safe smoke-free alternative to cooking and boiling water over open fires.

Buy or build a solar cookerEdit

CooKit

Solar Cookers International sells the CooKit solar panel cooker for $39.00 USD online here.

If you are interested in trying solar cooking for the first time, you may be wondering whether you should build your own solar cooker, or to buy one from a manufacturer. There are advantages to both options:
  1. Building your own solar cooker can be a fun and cost-effective way to get started.
  2. Purchasing a solar cooker is simple and you will often receive a higher-quality cooker than one you could build yourself.

If you want to build a cooker, visit our build a solar cooker page to choose a design that's right for you. You will find information comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each style of cooker.

If you would like to purchase a cooker, check out the list of manufacturers and vendors on our buy a solar cooker page. Commercial cookers are typically durable and efficient, and offer an easy way for new users to experience solar cooking. As cookers are manufactured globally, consider potential shipping costs when selecting a design.

How do solar cookers work?Edit

Solar cookers work on the basic principle: Sunlight is converted to heat energy that is retained for cooking.

Most basic solar panel cookers and solar box cookers can reach 120°C (250°F). The captured sunlight passes through a greenhouse enclosure enclosing a dark colored cook pot. As it hits the dark surface, the sunlight is converted to heat, which can not escape the enclosure, and cooking temperatures are achieved. This principle is often experienced by drivers returning to a closed car that has been parked in the sun.

Solar Cooking basics, SCI 2004, pg. 1, 12-9-14
Solar Cooking basics, SCI 2004, pg. 2, 12-19-14
  • Parabolic solar cookers use a bowl shaped reflector to focus the light more directly onto the cook pot, usually from below, and typically do not require a greenhouse enclosure to retain the heat. They reach much higher temperature than the other styles of solar cookers and have the ability to fry and broil foods.
SolSource Solar Stove with Cookware

SolSource is an example of a parabolic solar cooker shown with cookware. The light is focussed at the bottom of the cook pot.

Industrial scale cooking, Solare Brucke, 6-10-15

Institutional solar cooking can employ many large parabolic reflectors to generate steam, and cook for thousands of people daily. Many of these systems are in use in India. This example, was built with technology from Solare Brücke.


Solar cooker typesEdit

The three most common types of solar cookers are box cookers, panel cookers, and parabolic solar cookers. Hundreds — if not thousands — of variations on these basic types exist. Additionally, several large-scale solar cooking systems have been developed to meet the needs of institutions worldwide.

Box cookersEdit

Box-type

Box cookers cook food at moderate to high temperatures and often accommodate multiple pots, typically taking between one and three hours to cook various foods. Worldwide, they are the most widespread. There are several hundred thousand in India alone.

Panel cookersEdit

Panel-type

Panel cookers incorporate elements of box and parabolic concentrator cookers. They are simple and relatively inexpensive to buy or produce. Solar Cookers International's "CooKit" is the most widely used combination cooker.

Parabolic cookersEdit

AlSol 1.4

An AlSol 1.4 parabolic cooker demonstrates where the cook pot is supported to receive the focussed light from below from the reflector.

Parabolic solar cookers use a bowl shaped reflector to focus the light more directly onto the cook pot, usually from below, and typically do not require a greenhouse enclosure to retain the heat. The parabolic name refers to the shape of the curve of the reflector cross-section.

They will require more frequent reorientation to the sun, possibly every fifteen minutes, but they cook food more quickly at higher temperatures compared to other solar cookers, often reaching over 200°C (400°F). They also have the ability to fry and broil foods. Generally parabolic solar cookers will need to be attended to more than box or panel cookers to avoid possibly burning the food at the bottom of the cook pot. They are especially useful for large-scale institutional solar cooking systems.

More information on pots, glazing enclosures, and reflective material, used to gather additional sunlight.

Cooking with your solar cookerEdit

The golden rule for solar cooking is get your food on early, and do not worry about overcooking. Most people starting to solar cook will be using a solar panel cooker or solar box cooker. These cookers are oriented to the sun and typically don't need to be turned to follow the sun during a 3-4 hour cooking period. Add much less water to the recipe than you would use cooking with more conventional stoves and ovens.

Once you have decided on a cooker, you will need to find appropriate cookware. Thin-walled dark enameled metal cook pots work well. They are good at heating up quickly. Cast iron pots also work, and are typically preheated in the solar cooker before cooking. The advantage of the heavier pots is that they will help maintain an even cooking temperature if the sun is occasionally blocked by clouds, but most solar cooks seem to use the enamel pots. Because dark cooking pots work the best in solar cookers, it is important to remember to use a nontoxic paint for the exterior cook pot surface if you choose to darken your own pots.

Introductory articlesEdit

Learn moreEdit

Introductory manualsEdit


Solar cookers international handbook
Solar orientation, Construction of solar cookers and driers, Souriau &amp; Amelin, 6-9-15

Solar orientation, Construction of solar cookers and driers, Souriau & Amelin

Audio and videoEdit

Solar Cooking in Africa - A Remarkable Technology Transfer09:59

Solar Cooking in Africa - A Remarkable Technology Transfer

External linksEdit

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