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solar cooking

 
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I've been cooking with pure unmediated sunlight for 20+ years and would love to hear how the permaculture community is doing likewise  I have a non-monetized video series focused entirely on the many dedicated solar cooks who use, design, and promote solar cookers. Not selling any product, just the idea! youtube.com/@SolarCookingMuseum
 
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My wife for several years made her Molly Baker Solar Oven. It was a very lucrative sideline for her. She has since moved on to other pursuits. Here is a review by one of her purchasers.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KC7Ti3uh2Xs
I used it on many Kayak adventures and hunting trips during fire season when open flames were prohibited.
 
pollinator
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I use a simple cardboard box lined with aluminum foil with a foil reflector. Very simple. It easily gets right up to, but not quite boiling. I think with a few simple modifications it would easily boil water. We use it for any job that requires hot water. Sun tea, coffee, make yogurt in it, raise bread dough.

My wife generally preheats pans or pots of water before cooking on the stove. Greatly reduces time. We use it every non-rainy day spring summer and fall.
 
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Luther Krueger wrote:I've been cooking with pure unmediated sunlight for 20+ years and would love to hear how the permaculture community is doing likewise  I have a non-monetized video series focused entirely on the many dedicated solar cooks who use, design, and promote solar cookers. Not selling any product, just the idea! youtube.com/@SolarCookingMuseum



Ha,  and I watch every video  

Hi Luther this is Mart from MeWe  now decommissioned group,  glad to see you here.     I just posted one of your videos here....

I so enjoy your interviews as there is a wealth of know how the people you interview have that is useful to know for those of us who like to cook or use solar in original ways.

I do enjoy your videos and recommend them to all who see the value of using the sun to our advantage.

Your video on using solar panels direct to a resisitive  loads  had been most helpful to me with my sand battery experiments.      

Thank you again!

 
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I have had a solar oven for years.  I use it in the summer, as I use my fireplace in the winter, to offset my use of LP gas.  While I don’t use it daily …I live under frequently cloudy skies .. it does help.
 
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Luther Krueger wrote:I've been cooking with pure unmediated sunlight for 20+ years ......



Luther,   Just finished the other night watching your conversation with Nate Hagens on solar cooking:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaLHkRRbbT4    I use the Solavore Sport which has been discontinued for many years, but appears to possibly be poised for a re-boot...?  This is good news to me as my old original has taken some bumps and bruises along the way and I hope I can get a new, clear top for it soon.  If not, I plan to just cut a 'to-fit' piece of twin-wall greenhouse glazing as a substitute. As with others who live under partially sunny skies most of the time, I use mine on the 'good days' and shortly will be adding a batch of cookies for an afternoon bake.  A favorite task for the stove is to fill the black pots that come with it with water and dry beans for a day-long cooking.  Truly set-it and forget-it for this kind of cooking.
 
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My mom had one growing up, and I have one currently sitting under my house. Problem is the erratic weather in Hawaii kind of ruins the experience. If it stays sunny then the solar ovens do cook some delicious food but in Hawaii it's not uncommon for it to rain on and off again even on sunny days which significantly slows everything down.
 
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Cooking with solar: my first impression of how this would work best was a solar panel, battery, and an instapot pressure cooker. Those things are so low wattage, intermittent power usage when up to pressure and temperature, that they'd be fast and efficient compared to reflector based ovens.
 
Luther Krueger
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There are several groups that are working to distribute solar PV-to-induction or electric heating element cookers in Africa (SunSpotPV, ECOCA, MPISHI). My sense is they are running into unanticipated costs for what should be an appliance that would cost under US$300. When the sun is shining, parabolics and vacuum tube cookers cook just as fast as any fossil-fuel or electric cooker. Box cookers are as good or better than "crock pots" for slow cooking, and many panel cookers equal their cooking prowess. One needn't use them side-by side for comparison, e.g., I've often stir fried food in a 1.4 meter parabolic every bit as fast--and with far less need for fussing with dials--than my gas range. I have several guests' stories about both PV-direct cookers along with the standard fare of strictly thermal reflector/insulation cookers on youtube.com/@SolarCookingMuseum Recently I also posted the great work of Alexis Ziegler who's set up a whole community cooking system with strictly DC direct to heating element cooker at the Living Energy Farm in Virginia.

Joseph Bolton wrote:Cooking with solar: my first impression of how this would work best was a solar panel, battery, and an instapot pressure cooker. Those things are so low wattage, intermittent power usage when up to pressure and temperature, that they'd be fast and efficient compared to reflector based ovens.

 
Luther Krueger
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Yes, the Ports, to whom the operations for the popular Sport model reverted after Solavore stepped out of the picture, hope to bring it back into production soon. I'd recommend going ahead and using greenhouse glazing, which I think would work very well. Glad you mentioned it, I have a few Sports (what with it being produced near my home town of Mpls) and one has a cracked window which sometimes feels more awkward to set up with the reflectors--and also I've gotten accustomted to only using the reflectors in the winter. Will see how I can make the reflectors that came with them attach to my scrap greenhouse glass--let me know how your plan works!

Luther Krueger wrote:I've been cooking with pure unmediated sunlight for 20+ years .....

John Weiland wrote:I use the Solavore Sport which has been discontinued for many years, but appears to possibly be poised for a re-boot...?...If not, I plan to just cut a 'to-fit' piece of twin-wall greenhouse glazing as a substitute. .




 
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A solar electric system is about 20% efficient.

I’d guess a solar-thermal slow-cooker is probably 40-50% efficient.

An optimized higher temperature (commercial) design is around 65-75% efficient.
 
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