Whether you are cooking for one or several people, did you know you can cook using solar energy?
What is a Solar Cooker?
A solar cooker is a device that converts the sun’s energy into heat. This heat energy can be used to cook food or pasteurize water. However, not all solar cookers are created equal. So, before diving in, you should understand the key differences.
One common misconception is that all solar cookers use some type of portable solar panels; however, this isn’t always the case.
How Does a Solar Cooker Work?
Put simply, solar cookers use concentrated sunlight for cooking food. Solar cookers can be used for frying, sautéing, baking, and boiling!
First, it must be set up in an outdoor location. Keeping it well insulated and protected from strong winds is also necessary.
Solar cookers use the sunlight’s UV rays for cooking food. They are not likely to burn food, but it may sizzle. Some solar cookers use reflective panels or heat traps to absorb heat. Don’t forget to use a clear lid to improve light absorption from the top of the pan!
Using a solar cooker can also save you money on fuel for cooling and heating. However, solar cookers tend to be less efficient than other cooking devices. They also take longer to cook food than conventional methods.
Solar Cooker Design Types
Hundreds of thousands of families worldwide are using solar cookers to cook food. Cooking with solar energy can help you save money and protect the environment.
There are three main types of solar cookers. These include the box cooker, the panel cooker, and the parabolic cooker, which can be divided into direct and indirect cookers.
The box cooker looks like a large box with a clear lid. Usually, it has only one adjustable panel. Its glass lid helps seal in the heat and prevents it from escaping.
The panel cooker, on the other hand, is an open cooker. It uses reflective materials to direct the sunlight toward a closed box at the center. It is also a good conductor of heat.
The parabolic cooker is a lot like a satellite dish. It has a plane mirror reflector, hinge-affixed to the box. The mirror converges the incident sunlight into the box.
Solar Cooking Tips
Using solar energy to cook your food is an excellent alternative to fossil fuels. Solar cooking is a safe and convenient method of cooking food and a great way to prepare meals while camping or on the road.
Before cooking with the sun, you still need to pre-heat your cooker. Use a thermometer to ensure that your food is cooking at a safe temperature.
Using a timer is also a good idea. The time it takes for food to cook will depend on the time of day, the weather, and your cooking efficiency.
Finally, keeping the lid and reflective surfaces clean is essential, as it helps to prevent the heat from escaping. You can also place plastic wrap on the top to keep the heat inside the solar cooker, increasing efficiency even further.
Cooking with solar might not have been on your radar before; however, it’s a great way to improve your cooking abilities and save energy simultaneously.
Consider giving it a go – you may be surprised by how tasty the final result is!