Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Transitioning to Fall Solar Cooking

There's a mild chill in the air in Oklahoma City. Fall is here! Fall, my favorite season (until spring, that is.) I love pumpkins, bundling up in warm clothes and anticipating the holidays. I love watching the leaves change color and eating a big veggie chili. I'm still solar cooking, but as the shadows lengthen and the days shorten, I have had to adjust my process.

1. Change location

Since the shadows are now covering my former perfect solar cooking spot on the patio, I have had to make alternate arrangements - just until the pecan leaves drop. This problem actually stymied me for a week or so! But I have now found another spot behind the garage which gets good afternoon sun. Sometimes I have to switch between the two spots if I want to cook in both the morning and the afternoon. That's OK - it only takes a minute to move the Sun Oven.

2. Clean the cooker

Since solar gain is more difficult to achieve as the sun's angle changes, now is a good time to gently clean the reflectors and glass of your cooker - INSIDE! No reason to blind yourself! Check out the instructions for your cooker to make sure you use the right cleaning fluid.

3. Adjust your timing

During the summer, you can easily cook between 9 am and 6 pm, but in the winter that timeframe changes to a sweet spot of 10 am to 2 pm (maybe longer in some places). Fall is the season of transistion between the two - so it's best to start planning ahead if you want to have dinner in the sun oven. Pop your supper in a Global Sun Oven before 2 pm and even as the sun goes down, your meal will still stay warm in it's insulated box (if it is still in a sunny spot).

4. Try new meals

It's autumn, so it's time to cook autumn meals! The Global Sun Oven will cook stews, chilis and soups, pumpkin bread, baked potatoes, roasted root vegetables. Mmmmm. I just yesterday cooked a potato stew in the Sun Oven for the first time. Happily, it worked. Also, if you want to cook your meal in the Sun Oven, but are worried about timing, you can cook dishes that don't take as long - like egg and cheese dishes, fish, couscous, etc, which can often be cooked in an hour or so.

Happy cooking!


Verde said...

As hubby and I were discussing alternative cooking, he mentioned the day light hours, cloudy days, extreme cold and problems with solar cookers.

I'm still headed for one in the spring. Right now I think I'll try and get on the adobe oven

Alison said...

I love reading about your solar cooking. I'm probably a bit far north to be in the best range, however I'd like to share your experiences with my blog readers. Currently I'm in the midst of a 10 day series and today I was writing about cooking. I wanted to talk about alternative cooking, but I guess I had too many things to say related to homeschooling. I do want to come back and talk about cooking again and include solar cooking.

Hausfrau said...

Verde - I can't wait to hear about the adobe oven! Be sure to include pictures of the process at your blog!!!

Also, what problems with solar cookers does your husband mean, aside from not being able to cook on cloudy days/ short winter days?

Alison -

Thanks! Let me know if you have any questions!

Verde said...

....and think of the quilting bees - we'll crank out those quilts!

I think he only means cloudy days, and lack of winter sun. Mmm probably prior planning. He isn't so crazy for us investing big in solar for the same reason.