The solar oven can be a life-saving device if you find yourself without power or need to evacuate but it can also be a way to eat healthy while camping or save power if you want to go green. If you are new to this type of outdoor cooking, do not despair, as cooking accessories and a variety of recipes are available for this atypical method of food preparation. It is also a good excuse to go outside and get some fresh air, since this is an activity that you can practice every day or a few times a week
A solar oven is just that, an oven; but in order to use it to cook your food, you need some basic accessories, such as a pot. The proper pot for a sun-powered oven is one that is dark in color, preferably black, with thin walls, such as Graniteware, so the heat can quickly enter the vessel and cook its contents.
These pots tend to be quite large, as the intent is to use them during emergencies or to feed groups of people, however, if you prefer a larger piece of cookware or require a different shape, you can opt for an oval roaster pan, ideal for preparing whole poultry.
When cooking for two, or if you like to cook your side dishes separate from your main course, smaller solar pots are also available, such as a four-quart enamel bean pot or a five-quart casserole dish.
Baking anything outside in a solar oven might sound unusual and indeed, it is, but if you want your emergency situation to be as normal as possible, the ability to bake comfort foods or healthy meals is one solution. You can purchase bake ware very similar to that which you would use in your gas or electric oven, with the major differences being color and thickness.
As with the pots, your baking sheet, loaf pan or lasagna pan should be black enamel and thin to allow the sun’s heat to rapidly cook your food.
Solar oven cooking has the potential to make dishes as good as a traditional slow cooker, casserole pan or an old-fashioned one-pot meal, all of which enhance flavors. However, you may have to alter the ingredients or cook time of your favorite recipes when heating them in a sun-powered oven.
One tasty dish you might want to make in your outdoor oven is whole bean enchiladas, which requires you to have:
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and then combine the beans, vegetables, oil, salt, pepper and half of the enchilada sauce in a mixing bowl. Spoon the mixture onto the tortillas, which should already be on the solar baking dish. Roll up each tortilla, top it with the rest of the enchilada sauce and sprinkle them with cheese. Cover the dish with its lid and place it in the oven for a half hour or until the cheese melts.
Familiarizing yourself with a solar oven, its accessories, and the recipes should not be challenging, especially if you cook, camp, or do both on a frequent basis. If you like to prepare for the worst, set up your sun powered oven out back and practice making some of your favorite meals, as well as simple ones, so you can learn how to survive-just in case.