We’ve talked about making a solar oven (sometimes called a solar cooker) for a while now. Saturday morning, Roy was ready to get up and construct one. By the end of the day, we made three but the first attempt turned out to be the best. But, Saturday was cloudy most of the day. We did manage to cook a few apples (half way) to see how it worked.
Supplies used? Cardboard boxes, duct tape, heavy-duty Reynolds wrap, sheets of styrofoam (packing from my new writing desk), flat black spray paint and glass salvaged from two sources: old windows and glass shelving and 2 reflective windshield covers bought for $2 each. Oh, and an oven thermometer for $3.50.
Above, in the chair, is the first one Roy and I built together (mainly Roy), bottom left is the 2nd one Roy made and on the bottom right is the one I made (started out as a single chamber and I turned it into a double — the worst performer of the three)
One Sunday, Roy put a pot roast and some cut-up red potatoes into a dark baking pan and inserted the pan into a roasting bag. At 9:00 a.m., the outside temperature was 48 F but the inside temp of the oven had already climbed to 150 F. The highest temp we achieved on Sunday was 210 F but with the internal baking bag, the temperature was probably 40-50 degrees hotter. We had good luck most of the day but clouds rolled in about 3:30. If the sun had stayed out, we would have been able to fully bake the roast and potatoes and had to finish it in the regular oven. But, it’s only the beginning of April. These “test” ovens have shown us how solar ovens work, where we can improve on them, and the testing we performed proved that when the weather gets a little warmer that we can cook outside with no electricity.