A solar cooker uses the direct sunlight to heat, pasteurize and cook food and drink. Though it was developed for low-income people around the world, we believe this eco-friendly product can even enter urban homes in the future.
It is ideal from many points of view as it uses barely no external energy or fuel, is very cheap and simple low-tech device. Solar cooker can also slow down pollution or deforestation, as it has no emissions and uses no firewood or other fuel.
Photo Source: sunnycooker.webs.com
How a solar cooker works
Solar cookers use some basic principles, such as:
- Concentrating sunlight: direct sunlight is concentrated on a small cooking area, thus concentrating the energy and increasing the heat produced; this is done by a reflective surface.
- Converting light to heat: light is absorbed by a black or low-reflective surface.
- Trapping heat: covering the cooking area keeps the hot air inside; it may be possible to reach the same cooking temperatures in cold days, as well as in hot ones.
- Greenhouse effect: a glass surface lets light pass through, but keeps radiation inside the area.
How to cook in a solar cooker
To reduce cooking time, it is important to cut food into smaller pieces than you would for regular cooking. Otherwise, cooking is done basically the same way as on a regular stove or oven. The solar cooker may be elevated on a brick, metal trivet, rock, or other heat sink and placed in direct sunlight.
Photo Source: blogs.swa-jkt.com
The cooker is turned towards the sun, and left there until the food is properly cooked. It is unnecessary to stir or turn the food over, because of even cooking and because if the cooker is opened, trapped heat can escape, thus slowing the cooking process. It is important to check if shadows from other buildings or plants are not blocking the sunlight. For longer cooking times, the cooker is turned to face the sun at its highest point during the time.
Photo Source: wikipedia
Photo Source: solarcooking.wikia.com
Advantages and Disadvantages
- no fuel = no gathering or paying for firewood or other fuel; also, reduces deforestation and habitat loss
- high temperatures = ability of sterilizing and pasteurizing, as well as cooking the same as in a regular stove or oven
- no smoke
- no fire = children cannot get burned; no danger of a wildfire
- less useful in cloudy days = limited on cooking in clear days
- longer cooking time
- special cooking techniques required
- some designs affected by strong wind
I wonder how tasty the food is when cooked in a solar cooker during a picnic day.
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