Do you need to cook outside?
Yes, solar ovens use heat directly from the sun to cook food. The oven needs to reflect and absorb solar energy into the oven.
Why would I bother?
It is so easy! The food cooks without you doing anything. The moisture is trapped in the oven so food does not dry out and burn.
Also you may be off grid or looking for a low energy consumption lifestyle. If you like baking a lot, cooking outside in Summer saves heating up the kitchen, it will also reduce your carbon emissions and your energy bills.
You can cook anywhere there is sunshine, in the garden or on camp.
How do you set the temperature?
I haven’t cooked anything where setting the temperature mattered. Because the moisture is sealed in, cooking is a very forgiving process. In my experience, food typically doesn’t burn. Meat will become more tender, bread crustier.
Can I cook at night?
No, not using box ovens. However you can cook during the day and store in the oven with the lid down, put food in an insulated container or reheat.
What special cooking equipment do I need?
In Australia you will not need specialized cooking equipment. Dark casseroles, (black or brown) will allow cook faster than clear, white or silver vessels. Normal black baking trays and tins are fine. It is best to have a lid on food that will release a lot of moisture, (stews, roast chicken, corned beef) to reduce the condensation in the main chamber. Lids also help brown the food. In places where the solar energy is weak you may want to consider thin dark cooking dishes.
What can I cook?
You can cook pretty well anything. The SunTaste comes into its own when using it as an oven, baking meat eg chicken, leg of lamb, corned beef, chuck steak stews), vegetables (potato, pumpkin, sweet potato), bread and cakes. It is also very good for cooking stove top foods like brown rice, and chick peas. Anything that you would usually cook for a long period.
What temperature does it get to?
It depends on the day and the amount of food in the oven. Use a food thermometer to check. On a clear skied sunny day, Spring, Summer and Autumn the oven will easily heat up beyond the 77°C required to cook any type of meat or seafood safely.
For safety guidelines check the NSW Food Authority website.