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Mountain Road

Don't Forget the Basics of Solar Cooking

Users sometimes tell me they are not able to achieve cooking temperatures. The most common reason being that the proper shape for the cooker has not been achieved. See the proper shape, above. Without the proper shape, none of the panels will work as designed and temperatures will be very low.

Now that the proper shape is shown, lets talk about other reasons your cooking might fail

Tip #1 - Remember C.A.R.D

This is an acronym for Collection, Absorption, Retention, Duration

Tip #2 - Collection

Solar Cookers are designed to increase the power of the sun by using reflectors that collect and concentrate the sunlight into the cooking area. Properly designed reflectors will increase the temperature and cooking speed of the solar cooker.

Tip #3 - Absorption

Solar cookers use a black surface to create heat. Since black absorbs light energy, and energy can not be created or destroyed, only changed, black is used because it absorbs the MOST sunlight. This light energy excites the molecules in the black surface, causing them to rub together and create heat from the friction. The darker the cooking vessel, the better the absorption.

Tip #4 - Retention

Now that we have gone to all that effort to turn sunlight into heat, we need to retain that heat by providing a breeze barrier that will keep the ambient air from cooling out cooking vessel. This breeze barrier comes in many forms, each with their shortcomings. A flat glass pane will suffer from incidence angle reflection - think sunset on water. Clear glass ovenware limits the size of the cooking vessel that you can use and is heavy to transport when camping. That being said, if you are satisfied with using no more than a 4 quart round cooking vessel, inverted glass bowls will work very well. I use the Pyrex brand 4 quart mixing bowls, clear glass. For those looking for lightweight and maximum flexibility, a cooking bag is ideal. I use these bags over and over. Much better than the "turkey bags" found in the supermarket. These bags should never touch your food, - fats will ruin them - and should be cleaned with a damp cloth inside and out, after each use.

Tip #5 - Duration

Having achieved all of the above, we now need Duration, in which the All Season Solar Cooker excels. Duration is the amount of time required to cook a solar meal. The thing with solar cooking is that we cannot always choose the time of day that we cook. In many locales there are predictable weather patterns, e.g. overcast mornings and sunny afternoons, or bright sunny mornings with thunderstorms in the afternoon. While many solar cookers are designed to cook from mid morning to mid afternoon, this will not always provide adequate duration. A well designed solar cooker such as the All Season Solar Cooker is able to adjust its reflector array to accurately capture all available sunlight from dawn until dusk. This feature is unique among solar cookers.

Anecdotally, I cooked dry beans at the Sea of Cortez, in June. I started at 5 a.m. when the sun rose over the sea and had well-cooked beans by 7:30 a.m.

The All Season Solar Cooker provides a large, flexible cooking area, a plethora of reflectors, several means of heat retention and the very best duration on the market. Period.

Buy now.


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