What IS it with me and food? Oh, I know….I’m a foodie – I guess I’d just as well come clean.
When I first started this blog, I envisioned all sorts of topics concerning preparedness (and I promise, I swear I’ll diversify….soon!) But honestly, when it comes right down to it, “what are we going to eat?” is one of the first questions that comes to mind when thinking about survival….after all, no food….no survival, right?
So, this past weekend, I spent a lot of quality time with food. Saturday, as soon as I realized the sun would be out most of the day, I got my Sun Oven out and loaded it with chicken. Now, the instructions say that the oven cooks somewhat like a slow cooker, which is okay, I suppose, but I am not big on wet, soggy chicken. So I ended up putting a metal colander in the pot that would hold the chicken up off the bottom of the pan. Then, I spiced the chicken with garlic seasoning and Costco’s version of Mrs. Dash, and I placed the whole contraption out in the sun and aimed it carefully.
The proper way to aim the oven is to open the reflectors up, turn the whole oven toward the sun, then step back and observe the shadow made by the reflectors. It’s best to keep the shadow on both sides of the oven as even in size as possible. Then, you look inside the oven to make certain that the inside is lit well. If there are any shadows inside, (and it’s quite an experience trying to look inside the oven without being blinded by the reflectors) then there’s a third leg on the back of the oven that easily adjusts to tilt the oven upward as far as needed to fully flood the inside of the oven with sunlight.
I started cooking in the Sun Oven about 10:00 on Saturday morning. Just about the time the sun would come out and heat things up real good, a cloud would move across the sky and down the temperature would go. This went on for some time, but after a while, I noticed some condensation on the inside of the oven’s glass window. That, along with a tempting odor, told me that the chicken was indeed getting cooked. Opening the oven prolongs the cooking time by 15-30 minutes, so I didn’t really want to open up and take a look. But by 4:15, I knew the sun was going to be permanently shadowed by my garage, so I brought the pan in and opened it up to a glorious chicken dish where the meat was literally falling off the bones!
I can see that I may need to work on my camera skills. This photo is a little dark, but in order to cook properly, the food had to be placed in a dark vessel. A light, shiny vessel would not get as hot, because it would reflect the sunlight instead of absorbing it.
I think next time, I’ll change my method a bit. As you can see, there’s a lot of room left in this pot (this is the standard dark enamel pot available at Walmart in the price range of $14.00). Next time I might try piling the chicken on top of some vegetables so that they can all cook at the same time and the vegetables will be flavored with the chicken (or other meat) juices.
Have any of you experienced the Sun Oven? By the way, this is not a child’s toy. The price is not insignificant – in the range of $275.00, and according to the literature, it’s expected to last easily fifteen years with normal care. I certainly hope that mine will last that long, and I do intend to use it regularly, especially in the hot Texas summer days I know are just around the bend.
Update: It has been unceremoniously pointed out to me that I am lacking a photo of the actual oven. I realized that several days ago but couldn’t remember exactly where the photo was that I wanted to use. I have now located it and without further ado, here is the Sun Oven in action.
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