Types of Solar Cookers
Solar Cooking Is Easy If You Understand The Basics
Solar cooking, stove top cooking, deep frying, oven baking, BBQ…. are all exercises in heat transfer. We produce the heat then expose the food to the heat for sufficient time until it is “Done”.
PANEL TYPE COOKER
Your recipes will follow crockpot directions. Panel type cookers produce the lowest cooking temperatures and slowest cooking. And just like crockpots, panel cookers require little attention and usually produce just one meal per day.
Your recipes will follow stovetop or grilling directions. You will be using intense heat and, just like cooking at high temperature on the stove top, you will need to be in almost constant attendance.
Your recipes will follow oven or low to medium heat stovetop directions. Box cookers will cook about the same speed as a medium oven and will simmer stovetop types of dishes.
ALL SEASON SOLAR COOKER
Your recipes will be similar to those for box cookers – medium oven and stove top simmering. The All Season Solar Cooker is a hybrid combining features of panel cookers as well as box cookers.
The Difference Between Solar Cooking and Other Methods
SOLAR COOKING COOKWARE
Solar cooking is best accomplished using thin dull black cookware with black covers. If the cookware is dark on the inside as well, clear glass covers may also be used. The cookware should be thin. All cooking is about heat transfer and heavy cookware will take more energy to achieve proper temperature, than thin cookware. Other colors are permissible but the lighter and shinier the color, the slower your cooking will be.
AWARENESS OF YOUR COOKING AREA
Is your cooking area in full sun all day? If not, what is the earliest time that the sun is in full view in your location? What is the latest time that the sun is in full view in your location? What is the shade path of any trees in the summer? In the winter? There are a lot of trees in my neighborhood and I must move my cooker at least once during the day if I want all day cooking.
AWARENESS OF YOUR SOLAR COOKING SEASONAL OPPORTUNITIES
Wherever you are going to use your solar cooker you must learn of the seasonal variations. You can”t solar cook in Alaska during winter because there is no sun. But in the Lower 48 you can cook year round if you have selected a suitable cooker (shameless plug) such as the All Season Solar Cooker. The main seasonal variations that you must learn are the sunrise and sunset times and the maximum elevation of the sun in your area on December 21. Once you know that your winter sun never ascends more than, say, 30º above the horizon, you will know that you must use a cooker that is capable of collecting sunshine from the horizon all the way up to the sun’s zenith (in this example 30º) that day. Many cookers are not designed for such a low focus and, therefore, are of little use during the winter months.