If you’d enjoy learning more about cooking with the sun, please join me and Paul Munsen of Sun Ovens International when he teaches an interactive online seminar next month. (Paul has devoted his life to sharing Sun Oven Cooking to people all over the world.)
This FREE online webinar – Sun Oven Cooking Essentials Seminar – will take place on Thursday, June 9th, 6:30 pm Mountain Time (8:30 pm Eastern, 7:30 pm Central, 5:30 pm Pacific).
Paul will show you the fundamental cooking and baking techniques to help you save money now and be better prepared for emergencies.
Whether you know nothing about solar cooking, or you have a Sun Oven and want to learn more, you will find this seminar beneficial.
PLUS! There will be a special offer for attendees at the end of the webinar.
Paul has been presenting these online webinars for a few months now, and I’ve heard they are lots of fun – and I look forward to you joining us. If you have friends anywhere in the country who might be interested, you’re very welcome to invite them too.
Please register and put the date and time on your calendar. Then we’ll give you a couple of reminders as we approach the date.
This was originally published almost ten years ago and has been re-published in Desert Exposure and other magazines over the years. I decided it deserves a repeat on this site.
I’ve used a solar oven now for two decades, and there was one year of my life when a solar oven was the only real way I had to cook my food. I could use my fireplace, but even in the winter, the fireplace wasn’t nearly as easy. It needed constant tending, and it coated my shiny steel cookware solid black with soot.
I’m in a small city now, but when I moved to the country in 1994 and began using my solar oven every day, I realized I loved to go outside to turn the oven. I worked at my computer all day and watched nature through my windows, and if it weren’t for that oven, the habits of a lifetime could have kept that window between nature and me. But solar cooking saved me. It “forced” me outside, and so I went.
First, I noticed the clouds. Were they moving this way and might slow down my cooking? Or would they pass me by? And look at that raven flying with the hawks!
I noticed the heat, I noticed the wind – powerful where I was on the western bajada of the Chiricahua Mountains. Time to set a chair beside the oven so a dust devil doesn’t try to tip it over. The vultures are rising this morning. And phoebes are making their nests again in the eaves. The day – the sunshine – feels wonderful. So different than standing before a stove!
The solar oven forced me to take regular small breaks in my workday – something I’d known for years I needed to do, had been counseled about, but just couldn’t do. My German work ethic was too strong to allow such “decadent” behavior. What hundreds of dollars of therapy couldn’t accomplish, my solar oven did: it attracted me with its practicality, then drew me outside so the day could whisper its seductions: Isn’t the sunshine lovely on the skin? Wouldn’t it be nice to sit for a spell in the sun and close your eyes? Just a moment…. And I did. Then I returned to my work, peaceful, satisfied, knowing that life is good, Nature cares for us, and I’m even learning how to care for myself a little better.
Speaking of decadence, have you ever eaten a sweet potato cooked to a carmelized mush in the sun? It needs nothing to enhance it. I discovered this one day, when I didn’t want to go back inside quite yet to get the salt, butter, plate and fork. It was a lovely winter afternoon, one of those warm ones so common in the southwest. I sat in the sun in a chair and gingerly peeled one end of the orange tuber held in my potholder, while looking across the mesquites to the oaks where I could see a single hawk sitting sentry. I took a bite of a very sweet potato, dazed and delighted.
Some people theorize that solar energy affects the cellular structure of food in a way that electric and gas heat simply cannot – and I believe they’re right. Decades of solar meals confirm this for me: the food simply tastes better. One day, perhaps we’ll have scientific research to explain exactly why, but I’m satisfied that it’s true.
Solar ovens are also forgiving. One day, I was so focused on some project that I entirely forgot the casserole dish filled with simple rice and water that I’d put in the oven – four hours earlier. If I’d put it on the stove, I’d have burned it up long ago. I ran outdoors and found: my oven was no longer directed at the sun, but it was still over two-hundred degrees (they go to 350 or even 400), the rice was cooked, and moist as if it were being perfectly cared for in a steam tray.
Solar ovens are designed to hold in all the heat they gain, and by necessity they also hold in moisture. So, rice stays moist, meat stays juicy, and pizza crust doesn’t dry out but bakes to a chewy, soft perfection.
Solar cooking can save a lot of money. In the summer time, most people not only pay for gas or electricity to cook with, but then they pay again to reduce the heat created in the kitchen – or attempt to, in which case the “payment” may also include suffering a hotter house than need be.
In the wintertime, the financial gains are admittedly fewer because our cooking inside also heats our homes, and going outside to turn the oven loses a little home heat, but if we use an exhaust fan to exhaust cooking odors outside, and run it too long, it might also exhaust that cooking heat with the odors and cost more than the fuel used to replace the heat from walking outside.
After I left my hermitage in 2006, I moved to Silver City and held my first New Mexico solar oven workshop the next February. On my fliers I printed “Call for alternate date in case of bad weather,” but a half–dozen intrepid folks showed up on a near-freezing day, to sit huddled outside, watching my ovens face nothing but clouds – so thick we could only guess approximately where the sun might be behind them. Nevertheless, I aimed them as best I could, and we talked about solar design and cooking while watching the thermometer rise ever so slowly. The temperature never got high enough for cooking (170 degrees), only to about 105, but that was impressive, since we had no direct sun.
If I’d started a dish indoors, say, in a cast iron pot that would hold significant heat in its mass (as I often do on winter days), the oven could have held that heat and the food would have certainly cooked – but I hadn’t started any dish inside, not believing anyone would come out on a day like that! Though I failed my participants by not starting something inside first, the solar ovens gave us an impressive show.
Solar ovens can also be used for canning – and it’s generally summertime when we want to can food and summertime when we don’t want to heat the kitchen, so I hope to do more of this.
They can also sterilize water – not purify it, as it has no means of removing toxins – but bacteria and other living organisms can be killed, so that water can be made much safer to drink.
For this reason, a lot of people consider a solar oven to be an essential survival item. It has occasionally been a fleeting goal of mine to prepare for survival situations, but today I’m less concerned about personal self-sufficiency than I am about community sufficiency. All the media talk about terrorist acts I generally ignore, except to acknowledge that we as a culture are terrifically dependent on a vulnerable infrastructure that delivers us all our most basic needs – food, clean water and energy for warmth. In the event this infrastructure was broken in any manner, nearly every one of us would be hard-pressed to take care of these needs. It’s commonly known that our supermarkets only contain 3 days of food at any given time to feed their buyers. Considering our government’s failure to help New Orleans in its time of disaster, I can’t put much faith in their help should even a small part of the nation lose connection to the grid.
So what can we, in our communities, do to plan for our “hometown security?” Every garden is a good first step. Every greenhouse. Every rain barrel. Every sun room. And every solar oven gives me hope that our little town will be that much more friendly, more cooperative, more community minded if anything should ever force us to face our vulnerability to simple cold and hunger. Every solar oven provides not only a way to cook food, but an example that can be duplicated easily with salvage materials!
A few years ago, I took my solar oven to Mexico and cooked all our meals on it, easily, on the Seri beach for five days. The Seri chief came to visit and walked a circle around the oven, looking for the heat source, then expressed astonishment that we could cook without wood. The women in his tribe walked miles every day in search of enough wood to cook their meals. In my broken Spanish, I promised to return and bring him one. Years have gone by, so I’m way overdue for my return with this gift.
When I traveled to Peru last April, I had the opportunity to describe solar ovens to a family who cooked us a beautiful meal on an adobe wood stove. Their eyes lit up with my description, heavy with sign language, and they clearly wanted one. As in many places on the planet, the forests of Peru have been clear-cut, not only by multinational corporations, but by people simply gathering cooking fuel. They pollute the air, their homes and their lungs by working in tiny, un-vented adobe kitchens. (We, too, pollute the air with our cooking, but we do it far away, with gas wells and electric plants on other parts of the grid, so we can pretend it’s not our problem.) I promised the Peruvian family, too, to return with an oven as a gift. If I can’t make it soon, I will send one with a friend.
As soon as I had my first solar oven, I wanted to build something to help heat my family’s water. So, in 1988, I held my first solar water heater workshop, and we built one that eventually became a pre-heater for the standard water heater in our home. This saved us heating dollars while giving us dependable hot water for a family with teenagers – at any time of day.
That success led me to design a solar home, and I built my hermitage in the country. My little strawbale abode was designed with the same elements as an oven, only slightly different: it had huge south-facing windows (no reflectors); plenty of thermal mass in the floor, in the stuccoed window seats, and in the brick fireplace hearth; and wonderful insulation in the R-60 straw walls. It always amazed people to visit in the winter and learn that I had no external heat source. My inspiration began with a simple solar oven.
They cook! They save money! The food never burns, and it often tastes better. They inspire us to sit quietly for precious moments in the sun – speaking of which, I think I’ll go outside now, put something in oven, and catch a few rays on this lovely, sunny, wintertime day.
This holiday sale saves you well over half on the Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package PLUS a Hanging Turkey Roasting Rack when you purchase a new Sun Oven.
The package, for only $35 (instead of $90) includes:
* Multi-Level Dehydrating & Baking Rack Set (set of 3 racks w/1 roll parchment paper)
* Two Easy-Stack Pots w/interchangeable enamel and glass lids [this set is my personal favorite]
Multi-Fuel Water Pasteurizing Indicator (WAPI) (read more about it and the other accessories here)
* Two Loaf Pans
* Computer CD featuring how-to’s, over 600 recipes, videos and much more
Since the cook pots (my favorite) cost $25, and the WAPI ($9) is an essential survival item (with or without a Sun Oven), it’s like getting two loaf pans, the dehydrating racks, and the turkey rack for free!
The Hanging Turkey-Roasting Rack replaces the regular rack with one curved on the bottom to create more space for a turkey inside a roasting bag!
Purchasing is easy:
With a credit card, debit card, or PayPal account!
The Sun Oven is $294 – shipping included ($261.15/oven + 32.85/shipping) – the lowest price allowed!
With the “Dehydrating and Preparedness Package,” the current Special, is $329.00 – shipping included.
This Special offer is valid through January 11, 2016.
Also, be sure to check out the accessory page, to read about the WAPI and other accessories – including cookbooks and a programmable meat-thermometer, which can be added to your order and sent inside the oven for no extra shipping cost.
A friend of mine bought a Tulsi *hybrid* solar-electric oven from me a couple of years ago and gave it to a friend who recently confessed he’s never used it and so returned it to her – with the film still on the reflector, truly unused.
Since she already has two other ovens, she gave it some thought and decided to sell it and asked me for some help.
This solar oven is no longer on the market, so this is a rare opportunity. My friend says it seems to be in perfect condition except for one latch being broken. This isn’t an essential piece, and the oven should cook fine and maybe just need a little thoughtfulness when carrying it closed – or a latch repair.
The “hybrid” designation refers to the electric heating element built into the bottom. This is nice when you plan to cook and then see clouds rolling in that may or may not interfere. Just plug it into a regular AC outlet and push one button to set it to 300 degrees, or both buttons to indicate 350. Then, the heater will come on when the temperature needs a boost and will turn itself off when it has reached the designated temperature.
When I use my Tulsi, I rarely use the electric option (just leave the cord in storage), but I have used it a couple of times, and it works as promised and has been most appreciated on those days! But it’s not necessary.
Oh, yes, and when I demonstrate all my ovens, the Tulsi always gets the most attention because it’s narrower than the Sun Oven and carries “like a suitcase.”
This oven used to sell for $299, but it is now discontinued and replaced by a larger, deeper oven that sells for $529. My friend would like to sell it for $299. We both would prefer not to deal with shipping, hence this offer to “local friends.”
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 575-534-0123. I take cash, checks, and credit cards now!
Below are all the official features, specs, how it works, and accessories:
High performance solar oven w/”energy miser” back up AC 120v. electric elements, ultimate in solar oven technology up to 400F in hybrid mode. Convenient, reliable, economical.
95% reflective scratch resistant reflector panel for longer wear and higher cooking temps, higher reflectivity than a standard glass mirror.
Double-paned oven window instead of the typical single pane, holds trapped energy longer for superior heating.
Double rubber oven seals instead of a single seal, better long-term heat retention.
Attachable Temp. Booster Reflector panels for Higher Temperature Cooking.
Larger internal cooking chamber, cook 4 different food items at one time or how about one large pizza.
24/7 electric back-up system is energy-efficient using typically 75% less electrical energy than your standard in-house oven. The cost to operate is pennies.
Rugged suitcase design offers clamshell like protection to internal parts.
Portable for easy carrying or transport, the suitcase style design fits easily in car trunk, campers, RV’s, or boat. Sets up in seconds: Simple as opening a suitcase.
Hybrid: The Tulsi-Hybrid can be just an electric oven. No sun required. However, as just an electric oven the cooking temperature is constant around 300 as this is the temperature that the internal thermostat shuts-off and on too. The Tulsi-Hybrid actually cooks hotter and can reach 400+ when the electric and sun are used in unison.
Cooker size: 540 x 540 x 200 mm. / 21.25 in. x 21.25 in. x 7.87 in.
Material: Molded body made of UV resistant fiber reinforced plastic
Cooking capacity: 2 Kgs. or 6-8 Kgs. per day / 4 Lbs. or 13 to 17 Lbs. per day
Total weight: Approx. 13 Kgs. / 29 Lbs. including cooking pots
Tray material & coating: Aluminum sheet, black painted for high UV heat absorption
Energy source: Solar & electric power for backup
Electrical consumption: Low setting. 0.2 KW/h – High setting 0.4 KW/h. depending on amount of food being cooked & ambient conditions
Two Power source: Solar – Electric 120 volts / 60 cycles.
Electrical wattage thermostatically controlled:
Normal setting: 200 Watts (2 amps)¬†
High setting: 400 Watts (4 amps), (+/-10%)
Manufactured by Rohitas Electronics of Kanpur, India
How It Works
Sun BD Corporation presents Hybrid Solar Oven Technology at its finest, it is easy to use, portable, sets up in seconds and is safer to use because there are no dangerous open flames. The Tulsi-Hybrid produces zero carbon emissions!
OK, this all sounds great you’re thinking, it’s state of the art technology, easy to use, portable, and cooks without flames. BUT, how does the darn thing work? Like a piece of cake!
The Tulsi-Hybrid solar cooking oven can be operated in any one of three ways:
1) The Tulsi-Hybrid Solar Cooking Oven can be used in Hybrid mode:
We call using both solar and electric in combination – peace of mind. It’s the best of all worlds. You can solar cook more often and never have to worry about clouds again. When the sun is out the oven acts as a solar oven but when the sun disappears the oven acts as an electric oven cycling itself on and off between electric and solar when the sun reappears. Forget the roller coaster cooking temperatures and the threat of bacterial food poisoning that can happen with solar only ovens. The Tulsi-Hybrid’s two setting thermostat automatically controls and maintains the cooking temperature inside the oven chamber so your food is always safe and cooked to perfection even when the weather isn’t.
2) The Tulsi-Hybrid Solar Cooking Oven can be an electric oven all by itself.
The Tulsi-Hybrid is thermostatically controlled and reaches cooking temperature of 300 degrees F. The Tulsi-hybrid cycles on and off after reaching cooking temperature for economical energy-efficient operation. It’s so easy to use just plug the Tulsi-Hybrid’s power cord into any standard 110-volt electrical outlet. Operational cost is only pennies. The power source can from the electric company, a DC/AC inverter, or any back up generator. Wattage requirement a measly 200 watts (+/- 10%).
3) The Tulsi-Hybrid Solar Cooking Oven can be an efficient premium solar oven all by itself.
Simply point the Tulsi-Hybrid towards the sun and adjust the back reflector panel to shine the sun’s sunlight into the oven’s dark cooking chamber. It’s that easy.
You will never find another solar oven like the Tulsi-Hybrid, it’s the ONLY Hybrid Solar Oven sold inAmerica . It’s like having four appliances in one: a solar oven, crock-pot, slow cooker and portable outdoors camp oven.
4 Cooking pots w/Lids: 4-Stainless steel pots w/lips, hard black-coated for UV heat absorption.
First, we had a great time at the First Annual “Summer Solstice Solar Cooking Celebration” on Saturday, June 20, at the Silver City Art Market.
We had box cookers, like the Global Sun Oven I sell, and a home-made version made by one of the local pioneers of solar cooking – the mother of Susan Berry, who gave me the oven of steel and glass, made sometime last century! It’s nice to have a bit of local history to share – especially apropos since Susan is the recently-retired director of the Silver City Museum. Thanks so much, Susan!
We also had home-made parabolic cookers that can be taken camping! Those were demonstrated by Asher Gelbart, of Green Energy Now, who’s doing great work in a lot of related areas far beyond solar cooking. You can also find him on YouTube, Linked In, and Google+. Obviously, I think he’s worth looking into, especially if you’re local.
And thanks to Art Market artist-vender Cedar Smith (pictured above, solar cook and maker of beautiful copper items for the home) for hosting this event at the Market!
Finally, if you‘re a solar cook in the area, or will be by next year, I encourage you to join us on the Summer Solstice (June 20th) at the Art Market in 2016!
(Oh yes, I brought three box cookers and completedtwo meals in each between 9 am and noon! That’s the Summer Solstice for you – when the day is not only longest, but the sun shines most directly through the atmosphere, giving us the most powerful “solar gain.” In 2004, I cooked five meals one after the other in a single oven in a single day – just to see what I could do on the Solstice. Fun!)
Did you know the first solar oven was designed and used in the 19th Century? Yes! Horase de Saussure, a swiss naturalist, cooked fruits in a box that reached 190 degrees Fahrenheit. (Foods just need 170-180 degrees to actually cook.)
So, Let’s keep on enjoying these benefits that can save us money, environmental destruction, and hot kitchens!
To that end, Global Sun Oven – a wonderful company that puts out a high-quality product and sends them to 127 countries around the world, especially those fighting deforestation – has announced their newest special:
If you buy a Sun Oven now (my usual “lowest price they allow me”: $294.00 – includes shipping), you have the option to also purchase their “Preparedness Package” (value $99) for just $32.70.
The Preparedness Package includes:
* (my favorite) Stacking Cookpots of black granite-ware enamel on lightweight steel construction, designed to stack safely – with an enamelware lid and a glass lid (for when you want things to brown).
* a set of threedehydrating/baking racks with a roll of parchment paper
* two loaf pans which fit side-by-side neatly inside the oven
* a WAPI – Water Purification Indicator – which allows you to know when your water or other liquid has been pasteurized safely – before it reaches boiling, saving you fuel, time, and possibly uncertainty about safety, should your fuel run out or the sun sets – an important potential survival item
* a CD of 600 recipes, FAQ, videos, and more!
(If you have it delivered to anywhere in New Mexico, I will need to add tax. If you’re having it shipped out of state, you’ll save that $20-some! So when you buy your own, think of friends and family out of state.)
I’m also able to take credit cards now via PayPal – if you visit and we use my handy new card reader – or we’re friends and/or you trust me with your card information. (Sorry that WordPress no longer supports PayPal buttons.)
To contact me, write jean7eisenhower (at) gmail.com, or call me at 575-534-0123.
Almost every day recently, we’ve put something in the Sun Oven.
One day, it was beans, for soup, to cook them without adding their strong odor to the house – !
One day it was sweet potatoes.
Another day, left-overs – a no-brainer! They cook quickly, without drying out – because one of the beauties of Sun Ovens is that they hold in the moisture, so reheated food doesn’t stick.
And one day I used the drying racks to make biscotti of a cake I thought we wouldn’t eat quickly enough!
With the weather so nice, I thought others “on the fence” about the purchase might also be inspired to finally get their Sun Oven, so I spent the day updating my purchasing page, with all my favorite accessories.
And I also spent some time with PayPal, making sure that I’ve made the process as easy as possible for you.
If you’re inspired, I sure recommend these wonderful items! (And there’s a special one right now – a baking/dehydrating rack set will come free with your new oven.)
I offered free workshops for years before ever deciding to become a distributor – I believe in them that much.
They save you money.
They save energy and therefore the planet’s resources.
They make you go outside – ! – to notice the weather, the clouds, and birds!
They inspire you to live right in so many ways and to understand how easy passive solar energy can be to create – for cooking, heating water, and even heating your house.
It’s a great time of year to start cooking with a Sun Oven if you don’t already!
To encourage us all, Sun Oven has offered only us distributors a special price to offer our communities ~
From now til June 19, the Multi-Level Dehydrating & Baking Rack Set is being provided FREE with the purchase of an All AmericanSUN OVEN.
The rack set can be shipped inside the SUN OVEN without increasing the cost of shipping. (Total cost – including shipping – is $294. Tax will be added.)
If you wonder what other accessories might be nice…
The Dehydrating and Baking Rack Set, which comes with a roll of parchment paper, is just one part of the “Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package,” which also includes:
– 1) Two Easy-Stack Pots w/interchangeable enamel and glass lids (my personal favorite “essential” accessory)
– 2) Two Loaf Pans (non-stick) and
– 3) the Multi-Fuel Water Pasteurizing Indicator – the “WAPI!“
The total value of the “Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package” is $54.50, and these other pieces can be purchased for an additional $33 when ordering an oven.
The WAPI deserves a little extra description: It can be dropped in water, heated with any fuel source – a Sun Oven, campfire fire, or other – and will let you know by the simple melting of the special wax when water has reached pasteurization temperatures – which is below boiling. Boiling, of course, gives you a simple visible sign, but in the event that fuel is in short supply or you must be away from your oven or fire, you might not know that your water has reached the critical temperature for safe consumption.
Since water pasteurization can be life-saving, it only makes sense that every home should have one of these – and they’re only $9. If you want to buy extras for family and friends, quite a few can easily be added to your order without incurring extra shipping charges. Just ask.
To buy an oven locally (and save PayPal charges, for which I’ll give you a free cookbook or other gift), just call me at 575-534-0123, or email me at email@example.com.
I don’t usually get excited about digital anything,
but I definitely like this brand new item now offered by Sun Oven:
Eliminate the guess work of knowing when your food is ready…
Bake roasts to your liking for meat type and doneness…
Externally monitor your meals while they cook…
The Programmable In-Oven Thermometer with Ultra Probe allows you to check the temperature of food and know when it is done without opening the SUN OVEN door!
The thermometer with an easy-to-read digital screen can be placed on or next to your SUN OVEN. A probe is inserted into the food, and a high-heat silicone cord connects it to the thermometer.
The thermometer is pre-programmed for the desired temperature and beeps when the desired internal temperature of your food is reached.
This Programmable Thermometer comes preset with the USDA recommended safe temperatures for beef, veal, lamb, pork and poultry. The preset buttons make it simple to cook to your liking for meat type and “doneness.” One additional open setting can be programmed to your preferred temperature.
Price: $28.00 + $4.50 shipping – unless included inside a Sun Oven. Please let me know if you’re local, already own a Sun Oven, and you’d like me to include it with my next order to save the shipping cost.