I read through their website carefully and then did a little more research. The most helpful information came from a solar oven comparison page, where even the cons for the Sun Oven weren't so bad. The other oven I considered was a SunCook, which Dani at Eco Footprint ~ South Africa has. I've read her blog for a long time and so trusted her recommendation. The price was considerably higher, however, probably due to shipping because they are manufactured overseas. In the end, I used the discount code from the radio show and got $80 off the All American Sun Oven with dehydrating and preparedness accessories, plus free shipping!
Quick update: I've been authorized by Sun Oven to offer my blog readers an $80 discount like the one I used. Go to this page, and enter the discount code "FiveAcres" at check-out. Offer expires June 30.
In my excitement I don't want to sound like a commercial, so I'll let you read the convincing sales pitch for yourselves here and here. I will show you some basic features.
The oven can be used for either hot or slow cooking. For maximum oven temperatures, it must be kept aligned with the sun, of course, which requires adjusting its position every half hour of so. In some ways, this is no different than cooking on a wood cookstove, which also requires constant attendance to keep a steady heat. It's easy though, align by standing behind the oven, turning until the shadows are equal. In addition, the oven can be raised or lowered to maintain alignment with the sun.
|Back view with adjustable alignment leg.|
This is done with the adjustable leg in the back of the oven. The Sun-track indicators on the bottom corners of the oven door (shown below) help adjust to the optimum position. When the dot of light is over the hole, the oven is aligned with the sun for the hottest cooking temperatures.
To maintain a level cooking surface, the oven comes with a leveling rack. It hangs from threaded rods on the inside of the oven and remains level no matter the angle of the oven.
|The advertising said the oven maintains an even heat throughout. |
I checked this out for myself with a second oven thermometer. Even
heat means there are no hot spots which means no burning of foods.
Mine came with two bread pans and two enamel cooking pots in addition to the dehydrating racks. Dark pots and pans are recommended, such as cast iron, with lightweight pots heating up faster.
The oven is portable, folding up with a handy carrying handle. It weighs 21 pounds, which isn't featherweight, but neither is it too heavy to transport easily.
One other point made about this oven is that even though the surface temperatures get hot to the touch, they aren't hot enough to burn the cook, or curious kids, or curious cats ...
|Curious Katy sneaking a peek.|
I have found this to be true as well, but I do need hot pads to handle anything inside the oven.
My first project was a loaf of solar bread!
|My first loaf of solar bread.|
It baked perfectly in exactly the same time it takes in a conventional oven. The next day I baked brown rice and frozen (cooked) meatballs. The sun was intermittent, so I had to finish it up on the stove, but I'm learning. According to the advertising blurbs, I could have started my rice much earlier with out worry of burning because of the moist, even cooking heat.
Even though I got the dehydrating kit, I'm a little dubious about that because we can have some terrible summer humidity here. With blueberry season starting soon, I'll be able to put my oven to the test as a solar dehydrator.
The oven came with a CD containing the same videos as the website and also a cookbook. It's actually cooking software, but for Windows or Mac. Since I'm a Linux gal (see Frugal Computing), it isn't much use to me. We took a look at it on my daughter's computer, but in the end I bought Dani's solar cooking and recipe collection, Free From The Sun. Besides her very inviting recipes, it contains good basic solar cooking information plus lots of tips. I'd also recommend checking out all her solar cooking blog posts.
Lastly, a few more links (1st two from the Sun Oven website):
- Informative solar oven, cooking, and prepper videos
- What Every Penny Pincher Ought to Know About Solar Ovens
- More Solar Cooking Links (links I'd previously collected but forgot to post here)
We figured out awhile back that going completely solar is highly unlikely for us. But that doesn't mean we can't utilize solar wherever we're able! And, like our walk-behind tractor, my solar oven was purchased with royalties from my book. I could insert another Happy Dance Penguin for that, but instead, I'll just say thank you to everyone who purchased a copy!
Crossed Off My Wish List - A Solar Oven! © June 2014