This weekend I had an “epic fail” (as the kids say) with my new solar cooker. I tried to make a simple dish, Arroz con Pollo (chicken with rice), but did not get past 100F. Why?
The sun! As it turns out, Saturday morning and afternoon was the time mother nature chose to break its drought and be cloudy and rainy in Houston. I put the cooker out with reflectors at 10 am, and it was a little cloudy. As the morning went along, it would be sunny, then cloudy, finally turning to rain. I could see from the thermometer that the temperature did not go above 100F. In the end, I pulled the plug on the experiment around 2 pm when it started raining. So, lessons learned:
1) Trying something new is never a mistake, especially if it was about $7 in ingredients and 1 hour of time.
2) Never count on the weather to be your friend nor your forecaster to be right.
3) Always have a backup plan. On Saturday, that was buying ground chicken and making chili.
Of course, this will not be my last attempt at a solar meal. It is just one of many!
Making a solar oven is something we have yet to try. I definitely want to, though. We could use a Dutch oven and either woodstove or campfire for many meals. We will always want to be able to make bread, so I’d like to build a solar oven.
Good list of “lessons learned.” Sometimes the “epic fails” 🙂 are the best teachers!
It was still a good effort. I don’t have a solar oven, because I’ve got a wood burning kitchen stove as a back up to our propane powered range, but I’ve been watching how popular they are getting. Even “Best Defense Survival” had a segment on solar ovens. I should at least get one and put it in the equipment we have stored for “The Day.”
Thanks for posting the results Prepperjim, we can all learn from this! Nice solar oven by the way, I’ve been waiting to find a reasonably priced one and this one seems good. Look forward to your next attempt.
I have my home-built solar oven and cook in it at least three times a week. Practice makes perfect. The back up plan is to take the food in and cook it conventionally. Anything you can put in a crock-pot you can do in a solar oven so a good crock-pot cookbook is a must. My recipes are tried, true, family tested and approved.
This is the reason for 3 backups. Propane powered oven, volcano stove with baking cover, and a duch oven. Baking with the sun takes a lot of practice, and a cheap sun tracking mount for your oven may help on sunny days. Its kinda hard to keep the thing at 400 degrees when ya gotta go out and move the thing every 15 minutes.
Great ideas Lance, thanks!