SHINE ON

Answers From the Urban Homestead – Solar Ovens

Q. I would like to start using a solar oven, but the temps are dropping here in PA. Is there a minimum temperature at which the solar oven will work?Thanks for answering my question. And thanks for your work!Kym Helwig

A. Thank you for your question and positive comments, Kym. Glad to be of help.
For solar cooking as long the sun is shining you can cook food, no matter the outside temperature. The most important factor in using a solar oven is the brightness of the day, NOT the outside air temperature. Often, a 40-degree, clear, low-humidity day will allow food to cook faster than a 100-degree day with high humidity. There are, however, more cooking hours available in the summer than in the winter. In the early summer, it is not unusual to cook from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, whereas during the early winter, effective cooking is limited to 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. And here’s feedback from a reader’s who’s also a solar cooker user:

I just wanted to share my experience with the solar oven. Our low last night was 8 degrees F. We are in the rockies. I use my sun oven all winter long. The out side temp is less important than the amount of sun. If it is crystal clear mine will get to 350F even if it is sitting in the snow. But if it’s hazy or cloudy even when its 100F outside it may not get above 250. Another important factor is the angle the cooker is set to. In mid winter the sun is much lower in the sky than the little leg on the back can handle, so I put a brick under the front. I really love my sun oven. If I could afford it I would buy one for every one in my family. And a second one for myself.SS

Thank you for sharing your solar oven cooking experience!

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