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by Frank Gapinski

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While we were shooting the Permaculture Soils video with Geoff Lawton, we noticed an array of shiny solar cookers being assembled on the jetty at Zaytuna Farm. Barb Ford from Brisbane was cooking the afternoon lunch for the woofers and students on the farm.

Taking a break from our filming, we asked Barb to give us a run down on the various cookers she had on display and explain their uses. Not all Solar Cookers are the same. Some act as ovens whilst others act as direct burners.

I always had the idea that it took forever to cook a meal under solar, but as I discovered, this is not the case.
Barb soon whipped up some Australian Damper, a boiling pot of coffee, scrambled eggs and a delicious stew that we ate for lunch.

The amazing part is that you can make a solar oven from just about anything. As Barb explains in the video, old pizza boxes make great solar cookers, but its probably best to use the big pizza boxes to be more effective. In fact she says election posters can be re purposed to make great solar heaters and actually prove to be more useful than the candidate they depict!

Geoff Lawton later explained to us that Barb is in fact a medical doctor – studying to become a woofer on the farm! What a remarkable woman and career combination!

7 Responses to “Solar Cookers”

  1. Cyrus

    Great story! I bought a Rohitas Tulsi solar oven and have been surprised at how well it cooks – even in the middle of winter.

    To cook a dinner, I prepare the ingredients the night before and put it out in the morning before leaving for work. By the time I return home at night the food has been slow cooking for 9 hours and is still hot – even if the sun has set.

    The best meals are usually the classic slow cooking recipes like Osso buco, beans, chilli etc.

  2. Jonin Chan

    Go Barb, nice work! You should do more videos, you’re a natural. Wish I could have been there.

  3. Rebecca Hodge

    Great video! I’ve owned and cooked in a solar oven from Sun Oven International. I’m here in the US in the state of Colorado. Love the sun! I’m grateful for it. I’m really interested in getting a parabolic cooker. Any suggetions on where to look? Thanks for posting this video!

  4. Heather


    I love solar cooking – its almost unbelievable how well it cooks even on winter’y days!

    I’ve been using the Sun Cook solar oven for a few years now – it’s even gone around Australia with me. Now I’m importing them from Europe so they can be sold in Australia.

    The website is

    They reason the Sun Cook is so excellent is that it’s got double glazed glass – traps the heat much better. It’s also got wind resistant panels that don’t flap around and has a large cooking space that can accommodate a few pots at once (I often have a soup and bread or rice and curry going simultaneously).

    I sell them a fair bit cheaper than the commercial alternative because I just really want to see Solar ovens getting use in Australia – we are one of the sunniest countries in the world – we’re made for solar cooking!

    Get in touch if you want to chat about solar ovens in Australia –




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