Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Solar Cooking Tips

'Solar cookers'  or  'solar ovens' are increasingly becoming popular through out the world in recent times.  The solar cookers are used to reduce the people's dependence on firewood and other fuels.  Even if you have electricity, a solar cooker can be an energy saving option to your cooking needs.  So let us see some tips on solar cooking.

Solar cooling is not much difficult and it is very easy to master the skill of solar cooking.  Many of the skills which we use for traditional cooking methods are applicable for solar cooking too.  The only factor which will have much effect on solar cooking is that the time required for cooking and also the weather as well as efficiency in preparing and putting all the ingredients together.

Tips for Solar Cooking

 Here are some tips while solar cooking.

  • The most ideal time for solar cooking is between 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  This is the ideal time during summer season when the Sun is directly overhead for longer period of the day.  In the middle of Winter season, the ideal time would be between 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM. 
  • You need to decide on your menu ahead of time; You should plan in advance about which meal you want to prepare in solar cooker and then start cooking.
  • Prepare most of the ingredients ahead of time and even one day before so that they are ready when the sun light comes for cooking.
  • Pre heat your solar cookers one or two hours before before using them
  • You can use a food thermometer if you are not sure of temperatures for proper food safety
  • The number one factor for best cooking results is to make sure that you start cooking your food as early as possible.  It takes longer time for most of the foods
  • Dry beans and other legumes can take all day long to cook, where as pastas normally take 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Soups, stews, chilli and meats can be left all day long in a solar cooker to slow cook
  • Rice normally cooks within half an hour to one hour.  If you pre heat your cooker and water, this applies to pasta also.
  • The more times you uncover the solar cooker, the longer it takes to cook.  So take out the lid as little number of times as possible
  • If time is a major factor, consider cooking your dishes in stages, even over a two day period, refrigerating ingredients until final cook stage.
  • The size and amount of food affects the cooking time.  So do not fill the cook pots more than 2/3rds full and cut the food portions into small pieces as possible
  • The foods which have moisture content do not need added water to cook.. Water only increases the cooking time.  So you can add water only to the food which need water like rice, pasta etc.
  • Use a thin, shallow aluminum or steel cooking vessels for faster cooking and do not over load them.
  • In order to have more concentration and retention of heat inside the solar cooker, use over cooking bags to enclose the jars and pots.
  • Keep your reflector panels and the transparent door cover clean, free from dirt and food marks.  This ensures more effective concentration of the sun rays onto the cooking pot and food.


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