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Solar Ovens and Solar Cooking: Selected Resources


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Photo: a cooking pot, in the middle of a cone shaped set of mirrors.
A parabolic solar cooker. Photo from the Planetary Engineering Group Earth Web site.

     Cooking with the sun's power is a fun way to use a renewable resource, and with excellent results. Food cooked in solar ovens retains its moisture and nutrients as it cooks slowly, and does not burn as with other types of heat. Many organizations are introducing solar cooking to the world's less developed regions to prevent further deforestation in fuel-starved areas. They hope also to liberate the women and their children who must spend their days trying to gather fuel instead of working or going to school.

     In more developed nations, solar cooking helps to decrease the use of fossil fuel and to keep the house cool in summer. Many are finding it a creative and practical way to produce delicious meals with less trouble than it takes to use a conventional range.

     Designs for ovens and cookers abound. They range from very affordable home made models to those one can buy ready-made. Most of the cookbooks listed below also have an explanation of the different types of ovens as well as tips for the novice solar chef.

Technology and Designs

Radabaugh, Joseph. Heaven’s flame: a guidebook to solar cookers. Ashland, OR, Home Power, c1991. 80 p.
     TS425.R33 1991

Solar cookers and ovens: technology options. New Delhi, Consortium on Rural Technology, 1982. 56 p.
TX831.S65 1982


Anderson, Lorraine and Rick Palkovic. Cooking with sunshine:the complete guide to solar cooking with 150 easy sun-cooked recipes. Rev. and expanded ed. New York, Marlowe, c2006. 202 p.
     TX835.5 .A64 2006

Barker, Jennifer Stein. The Morning Hill solar cookery book. Canyon City, OR, Morning Hill Associates, c1999.
100 p.
     TX835.5 .B37 1999

Gurley, Virginia Heather. Solar cooking naturally. 4th ed. Sedona, AZ, SunLightWorks, 1999. 92 p.
     TX835.5 .G87 1999

Halacy, Beth, and Dan Halacy. Cooking with the sun. La Fayette, CA, Morning Sun Press, 1992. 114 p.
     TX835.5.H35 1992

Halacy, Beth, and Dan Halacy. The solar cookery book: everything under the sun. Culver City, CA, Peace Press, 1978. 108 p.

Kofalk, Harriet. Solar cooking: a primer/cookbook. Summertown, TN, Book Pub. Co., c1995. 96 p.
     TX835.5.K64 1995

Yaffe, Linda Frederick. Solar cooking for home and camp. Mechanicsburg, PA, Stackpole Books, c2007. 120 p.
     TX835.5.Y34 2007
     Table of contents online

Online Resources

Baking in the Sun
   NASA's Earth Observatory site

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
   NREL's page, Student Resources on Concentrating Solar Power   NREL is the nation's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development, and is focused on advancing our nation's energy goals. The laboratory's scientists and researchers work to accelerate research from scientific innovations to market-viable alternative energy solutions. This includes the use of renewable electricity and fuels in homes, commercial buildings, and vehicles.

Solar Cookers International
   Solar Cookers International (SCI) was established in 1987 to spread the use of solar ovens and cooking. Their programs educate policy makers, maintain an international exchange network through conferences and publications, and ,by bring solar cooking technology to areas of the world most in need of it. The site contains clear explanations of the benefits, types and best uses of solar ovens, as well as a list of cookbooks and commercially available ovens.

Solar Cooking Archive
   Sponsored by Solar Cookers International, the Archive contains a wealth of information, including newsletters, articles, discussion lists, plans for cookers, an international directory and more.

Solar Cooker Plans
   Presents plans for building box, panel, and parabolic cookers, as well as a few other types of solar appliances.

Solar Ovens Society (SOS)
   “The SOS exists to promote solar cooking to the American public and to provide a way to partner with the over 2 billion people worldwide who lack adequate fuel for cooking their food.” They produce and ship cookers overseas, as well as offer them for sale. The site also includes a number of recipes.

Solar Household Energy, Inc.(SHE)
   SHE’s mission is “to harness free enterprise for the introduction of solar cooking to improve quality of life and relieve stress on the environment.”

Solar Oven Development and Testing Project (Florida Solar Energy Project)
   The Florida Solar Energy Center conducted a research project to improve the performance, reliability and cost-effectiveness of low-cost solar cookers for use in developing nations. This site presents results of the tests. Much of the information is detailed and technical in nature.

For Kids

Building a Solar Oven, Cooking with the Sun
   This solar oven page is part of the site, which offers learning kits which allows students in grades 7 through 12 to build working models of renewable energy technologies. It offers a plan for a solar oven, and tips on safety and testing it. 

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) - Student Resources on Concentrating Solar Power
   NREL is the nation's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. They provide information on solar power and solar concentration, and links to twp projects: how to make a Solar Hot Dog Cooker , and how to make a Pizza Box Solar Oven.

Photo: two kids using  a parabolic solar cooker.
These students use solar thermal energy to cook eggs. From the NREL Web site.
What Stores Energy Best?
   Make a solar oven-like box to compare sand, salt, water and paper to see which substance can store energy the best.

Compiled by MJ Cavallo
May 2008 ; revised June 2010

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   November 23, 2010
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