The Benefits of Solar Oven Cooking
Solar cooking is the simplest, safest, most convenient way to cook food without consuming fuels or heating up the kitchen.
Many people choose to solar cook for these reasons. But for hundreds of millions of people around the world who cook over fires fueled by wood or dung, and who walk for miles to collect wood or spend much of their meager incomes on fuel, solar cooking is more than a choice – it is a blessing.
While portable grills and fires can cook food on the go, these items require an outside fuel source such as firewood, propane or oil. A solar oven can be used in any climate and with no other fuel source than the sun. Although overcast days present a clear problem for solar ovens; on sunny days, the solar oven benefits not only the user, but the environment.
Inexhaustible Free Energy Source
Our sun is a middle-aged star which, while having lived over three billion years already, has three billion years left to go. This gives the solar oven an advantage over other portable and stationary ovens: a free and inexhaustible energy source. All the solar oven needs is access to the sun to cook meat or vegetables and bake bread or biscuits. The light is collected and concentrated by reflectors on the outside of the oven. These reflectors heat the area inside the oven, where black-colored walls absorb the light, turning it to heat.
One characteristic of all solar powered items is that the solar oven produces no harmful emissions during its operation. This means it will not damage the planet, or even diminish the natural odors of a campsite with gas or charcoal fumes.
Safer for Children
While gas ovens and charcoal grills may be portable and designed for the campground, their open flames are not designed for child safety. The solar oven may be hot inside, but is not as hot as an open flame, making it safer for children to use. Children can bake their own cookies or help prepare dinner without fear of being burned by fire. Still, heat from the reflectors does collect in the cooking chamber and is capable of causing burns, so children should be supervised as they use solar ovens.
Solar ovens cook by focusing heat into a chamber, but do not produce flame. This significantly reduces the chance of overcooking and eliminates the chance of burning or charring items. Lack of flame and burning prevents the production of advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. These sugars produced on blackened or burned foods have been linked by the American Diabetes Association with diabetes and cancer.