Solar ovens are a great alternative in summer

Solar ovens are a great alternative in summer
Date Published: July 28, 2015
Kristi Meyer

Do you love to use your oven but find it too hot in the summer to do so? Have you ever considered using a solar oven? Now, you can have your lasagna year round using a solar oven.
While at a friends’ home earlier this summer I learned about using solar ovens. It was pretty cool. A couple of meals (lasagna and a casserole) were put in the yard in their separate solar ovens. We took a bike ride and when we arrived back home, our meal was practically cooked. Throw together a salad and lunch/dinner was served!
There are three types of solar ovens/cookers: The Box Cooker; The Curved Concentrator Cooker and the Panel Cooker. Of these three types of solar cookers, there are many variations to choose from.
Box cookers cook at moderate to high temperatures and can accommodate multiple pots. Worldwide, they are the most widespread with several hundred thousand being used in India alone.
The Curved Concentrator Cookers or “parabolics,” cook fast at high temperatures. I does require frequent adjustment and supervision for safe operation. Several hundred thousand exist and are used mainly in China. These are especially useful for large-scale institutional cooking.
Panel Cookers incorporate elements of box and curved concentrator cookers. They are simple and relatively inexpensive to buy or produce.
Meat, fish and vegetables retain their vitamins and minerals in solar ovens. They are cost effective (especially if you use your oven a lot) and can be a fun way to cook.
We used a panel cooker and I’m sure it was a variation but it worked great. On line there are many types of cookers, ranging in price from $60 to over $400. They seem to require a minimal amount of effort and can be taken camping!
It seems that living in California gives us all a prime opportunity to use the natural resources we have at our fingertips.
This weekend coming home from the Bay Area, the windmills in Fairfield were moving right along. It reminded me of Italy, being on the train and seeing windmills just about anywhere there was wind! This even included going up mountain sides (and I mean Mountains!). While cars were being pushed around by the wind on I-80, I wondered why are there just the two windmills, why aren’t we harnessing more wind?
In Italy you see clothes lines everywhere! Sometimes, seeing a little too much hanging on those lines, but the Italians use the sun they have to their benefit. Why pay for something that basically comes to us free? Solar water heaters sit atop their roofs, right next to the clothes blowing in the wind.
It has been over five years that I have used a dryer. My clothes and linens aren’t stiff, they smell great and can take less time to dry than running them on a full cycle with the dryer. In the summer, your sheets can dry in 10 mins. and who doesn’t like the smell of sheets, air dried in the sun?
We see the sun just about every day, what way are you using the sun to save on time, energy or money? Share your ideas of how you are harnessing our natural energy, and I’ll put your name in the hat for one of my super cool clothes drying racks! Have a safe weekend!

Kristi Meyer is a Realtor with Granite Real Estate, located in Downtown Auburn. For questions, comments or tips, contact Meyer at itmatterstokristi@gmail.com