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Posts Tagged ‘sunlight’

It started out with an attraction– raw undeniable fascination.  The warmth, the brilliance, the uniqueness, the scents,  the style.

Then it grew into a longing that raised the inevitable question– to have, or just to behold?

It was a bold step. A conscious “I will”.  But when the knot was tied, after much acclamation, the not-so-obvious began to show up, casting a little doubt about the soundness of that major decision.  Would those challenges sour the relationship or would the irritations and disappointments lead to a greater commitment and determination to make it work?  That’s love and marriage.

An affair with your solar oven can be just like that.  After taking the plunge to join the increasing number of people signing on to solar cooking, you will run into the occasional unanticipated “mannerism” that can cause you to question your investment.  What are the not-so-obvious situations or attributes you will run into once you commit to this new lifestyle of solar dependence?

Into our third year of entrusting much of our cooking to the sun, we can honestly share our experiences with other users and potential buyers, and offer practical advice for handling the most common irritations.

The Global Sun Oven is yours and you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment.  You will discover its likes and dislikes.   You will soon notice that it lives up to the expectation of its firstname, so do not hide it in the shadow of a tree, building or other object, and keep in mind that areas not currently shadowed may be affected later by trees or buildings as the sun moves across the sky.

If you purchased a brand new Sun Oven, before initial use you should remove the protective film that was applied to the reflectors to protect them during assembly and shipping.  Otherwise you will be blaming the oven while you are the one at fault.

That little word, “focus“, is a powerful one.  Aim the front of the oven towards the sun.  Let the oven embrace the sun inside its chamber.  You can tell if it is properly focussed by ensuring that the shadows are even on both sides.  Tilt the oven enough to eliminate the shadows in the front and back portions of the oven chamber.  Don’t forget there’s an adjustable leg at the rear of the oven.  Depress the button so you can slide it into the appropriate hole for the height you are raising or lowering the oven.

Depending on what you’re cooking you might need to refocus the appliance. Some things like rice and cake on a very sunny day would normally take less than an hour to cook. For beef and baked chicken , pigeon peas, channa and other longer cooking items it necessary to adjust the focus to ensure that the temperature does not decrease as the sun changes position.  Know your environment and figure out the strongest cooking time so you can make the best of it.

I used to wonder why the glass door would get foggy at times and the temperature would decrease, until I discovered that most dishes needed to be covered. I have a brown glass dish with a cover in which I bake my cornish hens.  It so convenient because I don’t have to open the oven to see how things are progressing.  So one little secret is to use glass casserole dishes with their covers and cut down on the need to open and uncover.  Every time you open the door you are allowing heat to escape so the less in and out you practice the better.

I hate it when people leave specks of toothpaste on my bathroom mirror.  Although it is still possible to see, the reflection is not the best.  If a Sun Oven could have a pet peeve I guess this would be it–speckled reflectors.  Its reflectors are meant to shine and direct the sunlight into the chamber,  so when rain falls and the raindrops leave their specks on the reflectors a simple solution is to use some glass cleaner ( I use a plant-based biodegradable one).  A bottle lasts well over a year.  If the reflectors and glass are not kept clean the oven will not react its maximum temperature.

It only happened once in my three-year Sun Oven affair, and it wasn’t an issue addressed by the manufacturers.  Yet I don’t see it as a cause for rejection.  The area where I live can be very windy at times.  A strong breeze comes across the ocean. That day in question the Sun Oven sat like an angel with outstretched wings, basking in the glorious sunlight.  A mischievious wind suddenly decided to show off and toppled the oven onto the sundeck.  There was no loss or damage, but it provided me with an opportunity to be innovative.  I believe this bit of advice would be helpful to others wishing to avoid a similar occurance.  To provide stability in cases of high wind, a creative idea is to fill a tall bucket with heavy stones or bits of broken concrete.  Snuggle the oven over to the bucket and weave two bungee cords through the bucket handle.  Then stretch them around the bucket, right around the sides and front of the Sun Oven, and then hook them at the ends.  In case you are cooking on the beach I guess you can walk with the empty bucket, then fill it with wet sand as the stabilizer.  Another option would be to tie a cord around the oven and four lengths of string which you will stake down into the sand using tent stakes or wooden ones you can make from cut branches.

Creativity in marriage and in solar cooking helps to prolong a good thing and preserve one’s environment.  So tie some knots with no regrets.

Being Creative

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