In the heat of San Jose summer, most people don’t want to turn on their ovens unless it’s absolutely necessary. I know I don’t. A lot of cooking is done with a microwave, but the air inside a microwave also heats up pretty good, and let’s face it, the food just does not taste as good.
One awesome way to avoid this extra heat and unnecessary use of resources is to use a solar oven. I first discovered it when watching a show called “Living with Ed” on Planet Green. The guy is green out of his mind and has all these fun ways of saving energy. He has one of these solar ovens in his backyard which of course causes regular tension with his lovely wife who is a style freak.
So what is a solar oven, you’re asking yourself. A solar oven or solar cooker is a device which uses sunlight as its energy source. It uses no fuel and they cost nothing to run. It’s simply a box, lined with tin foil or other material, insulated on the outside to keep the heat inside, which sits out in a strategic position in your backyard, where it will get the most sun. Ever gotten into a car – especially a black one – after it’s been sitting in the sun for a few hours? It’s extremely hot, isn’t it? The same principle holds for a solar oven.
While a solar oven can’t cook things to a precise temperature some come with attached thermostat which is a big help. There are many uses for such an oven. You can employ it to bake pizza, make soup, heat nachos, hot dogs, burritos, warm up a cup of coffee, etc. Some say these ovens can cook as fast as a regular oven and the food tastes heavenly (maybe it’s because the heat came from the heavens). Oh, and when you’re going camping, this gadget makes it a great thing to bring along. You’ll amaze your friends too.
The best part is you can make your own solar oven, using a large cardboard box. You simply acquire four large insulated boards, and cut them to fit the box. You glue tinfoil on the insides, and paint the outsides black. Cut a whole into another piece of cardboard, which you’ll use as the cover. You’ll place a piece of plastic in this hole, so that you can look into the oven and see how the food is coming along.
For detailed instructions on how to make an oven yourself, check out: