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Solar Cooking:This week's featured article/2007-06-24

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Chad anchoring CooKit to withstand the wind
  • The single biggest reason for failure in solar cooking is not putting in the food early enough in the day. For this reason, it's best to follow the advice and "Get it on early, and don't worry about overcooking!"
  • Foods take longer to cook when there is smog or haze. Since the clarity of the air can make as big a difference as the sun angle, learn to check out the color of the sky and adjust time accordingly. At times the sun may be shining, but the sky is white, indicating that smog or haze are present. A blue sky indicates clear air.
  • While some cooking can be done in any non-reflective pot, ones made from thin, black metal work best. Cast iron works but its weight can delay cooking or inhibit it completely during marginal conditions. Shallow pans cook better than deep ones.
  • Each time you finish cooking in an oven bag (with a panel cooker), turn the bag inside out to allow it to dry. Then use it inside-out the next time you cook.
  • If materials are scarce, build ovens made from papier maché held together with wheat paste. This can then be painted to make it waterproof. If sufficient paper is not available, try using corn husks or some other crop residue.
  • Where large cardboard boxes are hard to find, you can glue together small boxes to form a larger cardboard sheet that can be folded into the shape of a box larger box.
  • When cooking uncovered cake or bread, sprinkle cinnamon on top to darken the surface and catch more sun.

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