Published on October 31st, 2018 | by Jake Richardson0
2 Solar Ovens Reviewed
October 31st, 2018 by Jake Richardson
Bob Wells runs a YouTube channel with well over 200,000 subscribers, and the website CheapRVliving.com. He has been living in recreational vehicles for many years and shares an abundance of educational content about this lifestyle to help others who are interested in pursuing it, or already are. This particular video is a review of solar ovens with his friend Jim; the key points have been summarized here if you don’t have time to watch the full 20 minutes.
From the beginning, the primary point is made that many RVs and travel trailers have propane stoves and ovens, but using them to cook and bake can consume large quantities of this gas. Burning it generates nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter, and organic compounds. Propane is considered to be a low-carbon fuel, but burning it does produce some CO2.
For people who are living in homes on wheels, the more important issue may be propane’s cost. Solar ovens use a free source of energy which produces no emissions of any kind — sunlight. It isn’t only saving money on fuel and reducing emissions that makes solar ovens appealing, though. Jim says the heat from a solar oven is more moderate and the food he prepares doesn’t get dried out as much. Both men agree food made in a solar oven tastes better.
One question many people may have concerns using solar ovens in winter. Jim says he can use two of the solar ovens in snow and still cook, as long as there is sunlight. (The video starts off showing 4 ovens, but this clip only reviews two.) Some solar ovens can be used all year long. Another advantage of using solar ovens is that they are used outdoors, so during hot summer weather they can be more pleasant to make meals with than cooking or baking in a hot kitchen. Jim also says food prepared in solar ovens can’t be burned.
Some people might be doubtful about baking in a solar oven, but Jim says you can bake cakes, pies, cookies and breads effectively. He also says a solar oven does everything well, except fry and deep fry.
Jim actually owns four solar ovens, and the first one on the right was used to cook a turkey, with the one next to it cooking a ham. He also made rolls, cornbread, and 4 quarts of yams in the first one for a group Thanksgiving meal, with no issues. The first solar oven they discuss is the Solavore Sport Solar Oven, which Jim says he uses daily if there is enough sunshine, and it is his favorite. With a max temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit, his has a plastic lid, two three-quart pans, an oven thermometer, and a water pasteurization tool. The cooking pans sit side-by-side when cooking, and Jim says this oven ‘heats up pretty fast.’ Because of its reflectors and a specific position for winter cooking, it functions in very low sunlight, including the early morning. His favorite dish to make in this one is ribs, but he has also made stews, soups, and eggs. The price of this one is about $258.00, including the accessories.
The next one is the All American Sun Oven, which has a narrower cooking chamber, and the cooking pans are stacked on top of each other if you are cooking two dishes simultaneously. This oven can reach a much higher temperature. When not in use, the reflectors can be folded together and placed flat on top of the oven. Jim says a limitation with this one is that the angle it can be positioned in to collect sunlight is less adaptable, so he can’t use it as early in the morning as the Solavore. It does have a deeper pot for soups and stews. The cooking chamber is also smaller so he couldn’t roast a turkey in it. The higher temperatures in the All American allow shorter baking times. It comes with pots, racks, an oven thermometer, and water pasteurization tool. The price, including the accessories, is about $300.
Have you ever used a solar oven? Please comment if you have.
Image Credit: Creative Commons, CC0, no attribution required.
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