What is a solar oven? It is an oven that uses the sun's energy to cook, bake, steam or broil all types of food, from pies, bread, cakes and cookies to barbecue, roasting an 18 pound turkey or pot-roast. Anything that can be cooked or baked in a conventional oven can be cooked or baked by the power of the sun in a sun oven in the same amount of time, if it is a cloud-free day.
Sun ovens are being used in over 128 countries around the world and are a tremendous deterrent to greenhouse gases. According to the World Health Organization, half of the world's population uses wood, charcoal, coal, grass, tree bark, dried animal dung or kerosene to cook their meals. As a consequence, we are losing approximately one acre per second of our forests around the world (WHO).
One large box-type sun oven with reflectors can cook 1,200 meals per day and by using the power of the sun, save 150 tons of wood per year, resulting in the reduction of 277 tons of CO2 gas emissions annually. WHO reports that the carbon emissions from one cooking fire equals that of one automobile. Millions of women and children die annually from breathing in the toxic smoke from cooking fires equivalent of three packs of cigarettes or more a day.
There are many different types of sun oven/cookers, ranging from DIY aluminum foil-covered cardboard boxes to a parabolic cooker made from a discarded satellite dish. The efficiency or effectiveness of a solar cooker/oven depends largely on the design and materials used. The best, most efficient solar ovens are the box type design that are well insulated and utilize a tempered glass door to protect the food and help hold in the heat. A well designed oven should reach 350-400 degrees F. within 25 minutes and hold a constant temperature throughout the cooking or baking process.
The large solar sun ovens are saving lives and our environment, and they are providing food for hospitals, schools, orphanages and even entire villages in South America, Africa and Asia. Several solar oven manufacturers contribute a portion of their annual sales profits to supply free ovens to thousands of families.
Unfortunately, this is a daunting task which requires the concerted effort of many more people like you. By purchasing a sun oven from one of these philanthropic companies, you not only contribute to decreasing the size of your own carbon footprint, but you are investing in the healthy future of a family in another developing country. Plus, you are protecting the environment, saving money, using free renewable energy, cooking healthy and having fun at the same time.
Solar cooking and baking is not only a wise choice, it is truly a bright idea waiting to happen. Be bright, be happy, be healthy, have fun, cook with the sun.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Douglas C. Hoover, CEO of Aquamedia Corp, is a free-lance writer and author. Designed and constructed over 2,000 waterfalls for 30 years in southern California. How-to books, tapes, digital design programs, photo and video gallery. Learn the history of solar ovens, FAQ, how to build your own solar oven, discover the consumers reports and best prices. Solar Ovens