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Making a Solar Oven

Updated on August 1, 2011

Solar Ovens Around the World

Cardboard Oven?

I live in Arizona. The temperatures this July averaged 110. With temperatures that high, it makes the idea of cooking over a flame somewhat an unpleasant task. So I started researching how to make a solar oven. I came up with numerous examples and pictures and started to get excited about the money I saved if this thing worked. Also even in winter, which is very short here in Arizona, I do not have a working oven for baking bread, and I've read people are cooking with solar ovens even when the weather is cold.

I buy Rhodes frozen bread loafs. There is nothing quite like fresh baked bread right from the oven, not to speak of the wonderful aroma the house gives off. I've missed baking bread.

With a non-working oven I had several reasons to experiment with this cardboard box item people are using for a solar oven.

The first oven I made I fear was too sloppily put together and the wind blew the aluminum foil off and the bread failed to rise even in the heat, as well, the ants came for a party!

So there are some little obstacles to overcome, nothing major for a mentally challenged inventor of necessity! I found I was supposed to glue the aluminum foil to the flaps of the box, as well place a smaller box into a larger box, and stuff the sides with newspaper, paint the sides black to attract even more heat, and find a glass lid, or plastic lid to put on top.

After taking the first loaf and feeding it to the local fat pigeons, I rounded up some more building materials and studied the pictures and instructions more fervently and diligently.

I sprayed the legs of my outdoor table with insect repellent. The new oven looks more like it should now, however I did not want to glue the aluminum to the surface, so I stapled it on with a tiny tot stapler and so much for the wind factor combated.

The first dinner was satisfactory of the previous day. I had put a Morningstar veggie burger into the oven on a bun and somehow it tasted better than cooking it on the regular stove. Took a few hours though. The bread did not cook sufficiently however.

Today with the new oven, I did not set out a frozen loaf, but let it rise inside my house before placing into the oven outside. It was rising nicely and I was making sure the sun's rays were hitting it correctly, as the idea is to turn the oven so there are no shadows on the meal. However a few hours later, darn if the loaf didn't cave in!

I'm wondering though if it would not have caved in, in a regular gas oven as well. I will try a different brand perhaps. Others are having success with baking bread and so I know I will also. Someday. Two to three hours in summer weather should be all the time that is needed for such items as noodles or rice dinners. I can't wait to put an egg out there! A fried egg that is not really fried? Yum! The temperature can get up to 400 degrees I've read.

The pictures I've included are a few found in articles; there are tons of photos to peruse. One article has a user utilizing an aluminum car glass shield shaped into a cone and he was cooking a noodle dish. I am wondering about the various recipes for outdoor cooking with solar, but for sure, do not put a frozen item in it. Rather thawed food is better. The plastic or glass lid should fit snugly, so an ant cannot get in and so a breeze does not cause uneven temperatures. Amazon I noticed does have a small solar oven for around $20 which is reasonable. Some of the higher priced ovens are so high priced for what it is, that I would expect a waiter would come with the product and serve me dinner in bed! It just depends on your budget. What with the price of energy I totally believe in using solar.


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    • LaughingRain profile image

      Alysia McAlister 6 years ago from Arizona

      I couldn't figure out the focus thing, but now I know why the market solar ovens are tipped to one get the most sun value.

      thanks, glad to hear I'm not the only one messed up!

    • flagostomos profile image

      flagostomos 6 years ago from Washington, United States

      We made solar ovens one time as a project in physical science class in school. Most everyone screwed up theirs but one girl made a system using a poster board she covered in tin foil. Somehow she focused it to a point where she was actually able to cook an egg with it. Maybe not so much an oven but more so a solar frying pan?

      Voted up and useful!