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Monday, May 27, 2013

Solar Oven Experiment #1

I have been reading and studying ways to make an affordable solar oven. Today I actually tried it. I used lasagna that needed to be cooked. You know the meat and noodles are already basically cooked, need to heat through and melt the cheese. I took my ceramic crockpot, which is already black. Placed it on the darker bricks in the direct sunlight, with a black metal tray under it. I preheated the crockpot, starting at 2 PM, by placing the metal tray and the crockpot in the sun and leaving it there. The oven in the house was set to 350 degrees one hour later. I placed two good sized pieces of lasagna into the crockpot and put the top on tight, at 3PM. The top is glass, as you can see. The rest of the lasagna went into the regular oven also at 3. After one hour the regular oven lasagna was ready to eat. The solar oven crock pot, was still not warm all the way through. By 5PM it was. So, it took twice as long to cook the lasagna in the solar oven, than the regular oven. The temperature outside was 85 degrees in the sun. I have no idea how hot the pavement was, but I am certain it was not 350 degrees. In July and August the pavement is substantially hotter, you can't even stand on it more than a few seconds. The only thing I really didn't like was that a couple of little bugs had made their way into the solar oven. Now they probably got in when I removed the lid to check the food, but I still am not comfortable serving food that had some bugs flying around it. So, I still need to do some tweaking. Since I am in experimentation mode, I will only be doing samples in the solar oven, and the rest of it cooked inside, unless of course I want to use the crockpot lol. The lasagna cooked in the solar oven was very moist and juicy. The next time I try it I will be wrapping food in aluminum foil before it is placed in the solar oven. This will serve two purposes, to trap more heat inside the food, and to keep bugs away from it. It is nice to know you could cook food this way if you had to. Not ready to cook a whole meal in it, and not sure it would work real well in the Winter months even here in FL where it is still fairly warm. Caitlin got a real kick out of doing this with me. My husband and son just shook their heads like I was seeing unicorns or something. Ha!!!!!

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