I’ve been dying to tell you guys about our new All American Sun Oven. I LOVE IT!! For those who don’t know what they are, basically it’s a box with reflectors designed to capture the sun’s heat to use for cooking.
Here’s what it looks like, with me next to it for scale:
It folds up and latches closed for easy transportation. It’s pretty lightweight at 22 lbs.
I also got a little Granite Ware Round Roaster to cook in the oven with. You can use cast iron, but granite ware is lighter and easier to clean up. You use it just like you would use a crock pot.
My first experiment was with corn on the cob. We bought a bunch of non-GMO corn at Trader Joe’s, and I thought this would be a fun way to cook it. I washed the outside of the husks (without peeling them), then put them into the oven to bake (still moist from the rinsing). The first time I cooked corn in the sun oven I put the ears in a single layer, but since then I’ve learned that you can pack them in there on top of each other and they’ll still cook just fine.
Pointing the oven toward direct sunlight, I let the corn cook for about an hour. This is how it turned out. Roasted, and SUPER delicious. They were steaming hot, and the corn was so tender and sweet. Cooked to perfection.
No heating up the house. No using electricity. Cooking with free energy!
I was hooked.
My next experiment was with a bunch of fresh green beans from the garden. I poured about 4 cups of chicken broth into the roasting pan, cut half an onion into wedges, threw in several pieces of cooked turkey bacon, tossed about 2 lbs green beans with it all, sprinkled with garlic powder, and salted and peppered to taste. I covered the pot with the lid, and cooked it in the Sun Oven for about 2 hours before the clouds started to roll in and the rain came. No worries, I folded that bad boy up, and took it inside to continue cooking until we were ready to eat dinner a couple of hours later. The oven stayed hot for a long time. It really does work just like a crockpot, keeping your food hot and tender until you’re ready to dig in! The beans were absolutely delicious.
So I got a little braver and cooked chicken. I put two chicken breasts in the roasting pan, poured a little Italian dressing over it, placed the lid on the roaster, and cooked it in the Sun Oven for about 2 hours. The juices from the chicken filled the bottom of the pot, and the meat came out tender and perfectly cooked.
The oven stayed about 300* in full sun, though it can reach up to 400* on the hottest days. I’m eager to try baking cookies and bread in it next.
I can’t tell you guys how much I love this oven. It will be an invaluable cooking tool as we transition to life off-grid. And even though we still have an electric stove functioning in the kitchen as of this writing, I’ve found myself preferring to cook in the Sun Oven as often as possible, to help keep the house cooler and our power bill down.
If you’re interested in solar cooking, there are several good DIY instructions you can find online for building your own cooker out of fairly inexpensive materials. We considered several of these styles before settling on the real deal for one main reason: Efficiency. The reviews I’ve read of homemade ovens were that they worked, but they didn’t hold the higher temps that a real Sun Oven can maintain. If you just want to dabble, or have some fun with the kids, build a homemade solar cooker first to see how you like it. If you’re serious about saving money on cooking and having a backup non-electric cooking method, get an All American Sun Oven.
I’m looking forward to seeing what delicious dishes come out of my Sun Oven next! Do you have a Sun Oven? What’s your favorite meal to cook in it?