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Go Sun solar oven - sharing experiences and recipes

 
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Over in another thread Hank Waltner suggested perhaps we try making a new thread dedicated to sharing experiences and recipes using a Go Sun oven.  For those not familiar with these they are a particular brand of solar cooker that uses evacuated tubes more commonly used in solar hot water systems.  These provide excellent insulation allowing one to cook with the sun in freezing outdoor temperatures.  The challenge can be that as a result of the long glass tubes the cooking trays are also long and narrow.

Normally in my region this time of year ( winter solstice/Christmas ) it's very cloudy with little sun.  I got one of these solar cookers in the fall and haven't really gotten to play around with it too much yet.  I hadn't even tried using it on cloudy days.  Last week I did give it a shot reheating some leftovers on a slightly brighter cloudy day.  I left it out for an hour or two, not really expecting anything.  Surprisingly the food was slightly warm, though there was absolutely no risk of burning ones mouth on it!

Today it's a nice sunny but cold day.  The temperatures are hovering right around the freezing point.  I loaded up the tray with some leftover stuffing, baked tofu, and green bean casserole from our Christmas dinner and set it out aimed at the sun.  I checked it 20 minutes later and it seemed warmer, but I wasn't seeing much steam so decided to let it cook another 20 minutes.  At that point it was definitely steaming, though this doesn't show in my photo.  The tray was very hot to the touch when we pulled it out, so was the food.  Before we began eating this tray I loaded a second tray I have with more and set it out to cook as we ate.  We then ate and I went to check the second tray immediately after.  I don't know how long it was, but it was a shorter time.  I'll guess 25 minutes.  The sun was still shining fully.  As before when I initially checked the food right at the end of the tray by the opening didn't seem super hot, but further down the tray it was good.  So I brought it all in and found our "second course" of the meal to be nicely heated.  That first tray probably would have been in the same period of time too if I had checked it further down the tray.

This particular meal isn't really a recipe for cooking, just using it as a nifty device for reheating.  I didn't need to add any water, or anything.  I just put the leftovers in and let it go.  The food was moist and hot as it should have been.

Does anyone else have experiences and/or recipes to share?


Solar-oven-with-food.JPG
Here I'm loading the tray of cold leftovers into the cooking tube.
Here I'm loading the tray of cold leftovers into the cooking tube.
solar-oven.JPG
Aim the reflector to be roughly perpendicular to the angle of the sun and let it heat up.
Aim the reflector to be roughly perpendicular to the angle of the sun and let it heat up.
solar-oven-with-cooked-food.JPG
The outside of the evacuated glass tube is cool to the touch, but inside the food is steaming hot once cooked. Sorry the steam didn't show up in the photo.
The outside of the evacuated glass tube is cool to the touch, but inside the food is steaming hot once cooked. Sorry the steam didn't show up in the photo.
 
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I'm going to post so I can get updates and add something later. I build this style cooker this weekend and have yet to try it out as I've not built the food trays yet. Tested it after dark using a BBQ thermometer & a 40 watt incandescent bulb. Measured 19 degrees Celsius to 77 degrees Celsius in 40 minutes.
IMG_20220102_171338.jpg
image of home made solar cooker
 
David Huang
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James, is the tube in your solar cooker an evacuated glass tube where you will insert cooking trays?  It looks like it will work nicely.  Please do let us know how it goes once you get to try it.
 
James Sullivan
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David Huang wrote:James, is the tube in your solar cooker an evacuated glass tube where you will insert cooking trays?  It looks like it will work nicely.  Please do let us know how it goes once you get to try it.



Yes it is. I hope so. Will do.
 
James Sullivan
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For anyone following without an evacuated tube cooker. There is an open box sale at GoSun on now. If you were waiting this maybe a good time to save some money.
 
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Lessons I’ve learnt so far - early days, I’ve only cooked grains.

1) Do not over fill. If you want to complete the Cook grain in a solar oven Badge Bit do it in two goes. My first attempt was a failure and I put it down to lack of preparation and not putting it on a perfectly flat surface. My second attempt was also a failure - the amount of water required to cook two cups is right at the limit of the storage capacity and when water warms up it expands and leaked.
2) Rice at the very end doesn’t cook unless you stir it up. As per the last lesson, I was trying to complete the BB. The rice in the middle was over cooked and the rice at the end was undercooked. On the fourth attempt, I pulled out the tray and tried stirring it up, but it was still too full and caused a mess. So back to lesson 1, do not overfill.
3) Brown rice takes waaaaaay longer than white rice even with overnight soaking before cooking.
4) You can cook when it’s less than 0’C but you need to be mindful of the hours of available light and where the sun goes. Mid winter where I am in NJ, even though the sun is up, it’s often behind buildings and trees.

This is a great topic and I will be back with more experience. I have big plans for my solar cooker once I have a little more available light. I had to put my experimentation plans on hold over the Christmas period as the family require reliable food!
 
David Huang
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Thanks for reporting your experiences Edward!  I haven't yet tried grains, assuming you don't count warming up leftovers.  I do remember reading in my GoSun literature to be careful to not over fill when cooking things that expand like rice (or baking bread).  Great tips on stirring.  I wouldn't have thought to do that.  Question though, when you say it didn't cook as well at the end are you referring to the end closest to the opening (my assumption) or both ends of the tube?

I also basically just use brown rice these days so thanks for the heads up that it will take much longer!

I had forgotten about the PEP badge bit for cooking grain in a solar oven.  Thanks for reminding me of that!  When I was more actively doing BB's I didn't have a solar cooker and so put that one aside for the time.  I need to now go back and do that one!  Though like you I will probably be waiting until the days have gotten longer and sunnier.  I live in a winter gloom belt do to my proximity to Lake Michigan.  While this winter has been much sunnier than normal, heavy overcast days still prevail.

I did do an experiment making a whole food plant based vegan carrot halwa in my GoSun cooker last week.  While it turned out significantly different than a traditional carrot halwa it was still quite tasty.  I need to try it again, perhaps with a couple tweeks, document it, and share it here for anyone interested.
 
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Thank you for bringing this up! My cooking currently is mostly pressure cooker multiple servings, then reheat for a couple days. In 2 months I'll be moving to Wheaton Labs and was thinking that the reheating leftovers part could be handled nicely by a solar cooker, so I'll probably grab their GoSun Sport model and have it delivered to Paul.
 
David Huang
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So far I gotta say this solar cooker is great for reheating leftovers so that's probably a good idea Mark!
 
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I find a temperature probe very handy to know when the food is done. I have a Riida temp probe.
The sport will cook at most one cup uncooked rice. Double the water and cook untill temp reaches 210 degrees. I do not stir it or open the cooker until it is done.

Fusion recipe for 2 cups rice.
340 grams or 2 cups well rinsed white rice (jasmine is my go to) if you do not rinse it will be a little sticky.
680 grams water or 4 cups
Add a little salt and or oil if you must

Cook time was 2:40 minutes.

I am guessing the Sport with half that amount of water and rice will cook a little quicker.
I think the 3/4 cups of rice would be optimal for the sport.

 
Tommy Bullard
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Basic recipe for sweet potatoes.
You can of coarse season and spice many different ways but I main purpose is to get the timing figured out which when using only the sun which is a sticky wicket.

2 fairly large sweet potatoes I thought I would use the Sport but it would not fit so Fusion it is.
1tbs olive oil
salt you decide I probably used a tsp.
3tbs butter

Dice it up mine were fairly large dices.
Put the diced potatoes, oil and salt in a bowl.
Cook it.
When finished add the butter.

It took 1 hour to reach 210 and the potatoes were very soft added the butter and transfered to a serving bowl.
Today was full sun in my neck of the woods.

As stated my goal is keeping track of time, when the last hurricane hit and we had no power for 3 days I had my toys that I had used but I did not keep up with anything it was just load it and see how it goes, but I you find that you are depending on these toys you need to know what to expect, planning is everything when results matter.
You could make the sweet potatoes more healthy or less that is up to you but timing is important. figure and hour, or less if you do not like them real soft.

 
James Sullivan
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Made eggs this morning in my evacuated tube cooker. Outside temp -17°C and took 40 minutes to cook three eggs to 74°C.
 
David Huang
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Here's a simple dish my girlfriend recently did.  It's just Brussels sprouts and tomatoes with a bit of salt and pepper, cooked in the sun for 30 minutes.
solar-cooking.jpg
[Thumbnail for solar-cooking.jpg]
 
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Suns out. Go suns out. Hey guys cooking in the go sun again trying to figure it ou. Currently making a potatoey egg bake.I’ll post pictures when it’s done

Potato Cake

2 spuds
1 small onion
4 eggs
Cheese
Butter
Seasoning as desired( lawerys salt and some pepper)

Slice the spuds and onions put in go sun with parts of butter on top. Bake till done(bout 30 minutes). Crack eggs in bowl and stir together with some shredded cheese and seasoning. ( thin with milk if desired). Pour eggs in top of potatoes and bake till done.
 
Hank Waltner
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Picture as promised.
789BFD7E-055E-4749-91E0-80BEBD53B97D.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 789BFD7E-055E-4749-91E0-80BEBD53B97D.jpeg]
 
Mark Brunnr
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I used mine for the first time at the lab to reheat some chili, I learned to smooth the food down so it doesn't poke out where it can touch the glass, otherwise there's more to clean. With clouds about 50/50 with sun it took about 40 minutes to reheat.
 
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I've had my eye on these for quite a while. They're much more expensive in Canada, though. The model I wanted was the grill, but they replaced that with the fusion and I'm not interested in having the powered option.

So, I just sprung for a cheaper Chinese version. So far, I'm really happy with it. It's been very wet and cloudy, so I've only used it a few times, just for quick breads and vegetables. The whole beets I cooked took forever, but it was late in the day and somewhat overcast. Quick bread cooked in full sun took about 20min.

The cooker I have has more of a flat tray, rather than the half pipe that the gosuns have. It comes with disposable mini loaf pans to cook in. I've got my eye out for some stainless ones to replace them with. For now, I just line them with paper.

I'm still tweaking my recipe, but I've been doing 125g of chickpea flour and 75 grams of whatever other flour I want. Right now I have oat, millet, and barley milled. To that, I add 25g of ground flaxseed, 1tsp baking powder, and 1/4tsp baking soda. Add water to the right consistency and a splash of vinegar. That's the basic recipe.

I'll usually add in other stuff - dried fruit, herbs, grated vegetables, crumbled dried greens, mushroom powder, etc. About 100g grated vegetables is about right for that amount of flour.

That makes two mini loaves, about 500 calories each, depending on what all goes into them. So one of those with some pesto, nut butter, miso, etc makes a good, filling lunch.
IMG_2003.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_2003.jpg]
IMG_2027.jpg
This morning's breakfast - chickpea/oat with banana, sunflower yoghurt
This morning's breakfast - chickpea/oat with banana, sunflower yoghurt
 
James Sullivan
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Jan White wrote:I've had my eye on these for quite a while. They're much more expensive in Canada, though. The model I wanted was the grill, but they replaced that with the fusion and I'm not interested in having the powered option.



Thanks Jan! I was in the same boat. I bought some under sized tubes to make my own. Undersized not the right size. I'm still working on making something a little more usable out of the tubes. I still very much love Panel cookers and use that and my large parabolic the most.
 
David Huang
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That looks great Jan!  Thanks for sharing your recipe.  I may have to try that, and my girlfriend is gluten free so it could work well for her too.
 
James Sullivan
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Disaster strikes. Was using a bag of frozen chicken wings. Bad idea.
IMG_20220827_134627.jpg
exploded
exploded
 
David Huang
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Ouch!  Well I guess they weren't lying when they warned of thermal shock from using frozen food!  Did you put the frozen chicken wings into an already heated tube or was the tube at "room temp" and just heated too fast for the frozen wings to thaw enough to equalize?

I hope no one was hurt.
 
James Sullivan
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I had used the tube earlier in the morning to boil hot water and thought it had cooled down enough. So yeah no frozen foods! No injuries and the wings were cleaned, cooked and fed to some animals. Us humans had more from the bag and cooked them in a solar box oven and then sauced and cooked in a parabolic to brown. I have more tubes at home so will try again with unfrozen next time.

Don't use frozen foods!
 
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