Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A winter update

Dear Solar Cooker folks,

I just read a posting on the SunOven blog. I'm not sure who will read this, but here goes . . .

I've been a user of solar cookers since 1989, when I first read about them in a Christian Science Monitor article that described the solar box cooker. I wrote for the plans for the Solar Box Cooker -- Patio Model from Sheri Cole from Phoenix, Arizona, and worked with my teenage sons to build one over a couple of weekends. (The plans cost $5, and the materials were about $75, mainly for the double pane glass). We have used it during the summer months since then. It's big and holds 2 pots or more, with a huge reflector lid.

But the major problem with it is that it's basically useless during the winter months. So when I learned of the Global Sun Oven and what it would do, I was intrigued. My neighbor had one, so I was able to try it out before purchasing one for our familly. We bought one for ourselves and for the two sons who worked on the original one, who are now in their thirties, one married and one single with his own home. Some other people went in on the purchase as well, so we were able to get the lower price (5 or more ovens ordered).

I am delighted to have a sun oven that works during the winter months. We were out of town last week -- attending the Inauguration in Washington D.C., a fantastic experience -- but the week before I made solar brown rice and some banana bread. Today, with partially cloudy skies, I put in some wheat to make "wheatberries" for breakfast cereal and "bulgar wheat" for salads or other dishes.

My interest in solar cookers is mainly in using my food storage and in energy conservation. We make use of the oven probably 2-3 times per week, weather permitting.

I'll try to dig our old tried-and-true solar box cooker out of the snow pile for a photo one of these days. It continues to work miraculously during the summer. However, today in Logan is cold, and it would only warm food, not boil water.

The sky has now clouded over, but I think that there was enough sun at noon to cook the wheat. If not, I can put the pan in a snow bank and fire it up on another day.

It will be fun to share recipes and tips. I think sun ovens are the key to using food storage and to eating more nutritiously (and I do like food!).

Signing off on a Tues. afternoon in beautiful Cache Valley -

Nick Eastmond


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