When evaluating the options out there for solar cooking, the equipment lists for building an oven can sometimes be a little daunting. At least enough so as to be a good excuse never to get started! Well, no more. Here’s an easy solar cooker that you can build without even owning a pair of scissors. It’s made from the humble windshield shade, and has been tested successfully around the world. Full construction details here at SolarCooking.org.
Yesterday, I purchased two silver windshield shades with highly reflective surfaces, exactly like the one pictured below at the 99 cents only store. (Boy, I should really buy some of their stock, as often as I end up plugging them!)
The equipment list:
A reflective folding car sunshade
A Cake rack (or wire frame or grill)
12 cm. (4 ½ in.) of Velcro
Black pot, bucket or plastic wastebasket
A plastic baking bag
While there, I also purchased a small metal colander to act as a support for the pot, some velcro dots, and a metal oven thermometer. Nearly everyone has a black pot with a top somewhere in their house, so you aren’t likely to need to spend for that. Even I was able to pull out an old pot with no top, and then a rice bowl (from a rice cooker), which fits onto the top and creates a complete vessel. Pictures of my whole setup coming ASAP.
Bill, so far: $5.35 with tax
The only thing I’m missing right now is a big oven bag, which seems to be the only thing that will cost more than a dollar in the whole getup.
Notes on cooking with your new $10 solar oven. It WILL get hot (try 350 degrees!), so long as you point it toward the sun. Also, solar ovens are built around the concept of the closed pot. If you try to bake things with an open-topped pot, you may be disappointed to find that the bag deflates around your (unfinished) cake. Always cook with a top on the pot for best results. This, however, will not stop you from making great “can” breads and other baked goods.
I’ll update you when everything is complete and I’ve cooked my first meal. If you build one of your own, and test it out, share your experiences here!