SOLAR COOKING EQUIPMENT EXPLAINED
There are times when you want to cook while enjoying your fishing and camping trip but campfire isn’t available. Cooking with sunlight is a great alternative to conventional methods, and you only need a decent solar cooker to do it. If you’re new to solar cooking, here’s an introduction to the most common solar cookers.
HOW THEY WORK
Solar cookers, or solar ovens, are devices that let you harness the sun’s heat to prepare food. There are different kinds of solar cookers but the principles of how they work remain the same.
These devices are used to concentrate sunlight until the temperature in a small working area is hot enough to cook with. Sun ovens also retain and continuously provide your cooking area with heat from the sun.
TYPES OF SOLAR COOKERS
Box cookers, curved concentration cooker and combination cookers are the three main types of solar ovens. They differ based on the way they manipulate sunlight and retain heat potential.
The box cooker is the most popular type used around the world. It’s a simple box with a hole and a flat top flap that serves as the reflector when tilted at 45 degrees. Some cover the opening with transparent, food-grade plastic to help retain the heat.
The curved concentration cooker is pretty big. It’s similar to a spit roaster with a huge half dome-shaped device to generate heat. They can cook fast but the biggest drawback is their size.
The third and final type is the combination cooker, which is a hybrid. This device uses flat panels, which are normally several lids that focus the heat into the oven, much like box cooker but with several panels to reflect the sun and create heat.
PROS AND CONS
Using a solar oven has many benefits. For one, it’s safer because there is harder to burn yourself. Moreover, you are conserving power without making any smoke that will pollute the campsite.
On the other hand, solar cookers also have their downsides. Stabilising the temperature is harder when cooking with sunlight, so cooking is usually slower. Worst of all, solar cookers only work under a very bright sun and they are often made of light materials making them vulnerable to wind.
These simple devices let you utilise the sun’s natural heat to make hot meals and is a great option when you are in a sunny climate. Luckily, Australia has hot summers in many regions, which makes solar cooking quite feasible.
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