The Benefits of Using a Solar Cooker
When I first became aware of my impact on the environment I made a decision to run as much of my house off of clean renewable energy as possible. My goal is to completely run my home off solar, wind, and kinetic energy. The only problem is that I do not yet have my own home, I’m still a renter. That means I can’t install solar panels or a wind turbine onto the property. My solution was to run as many of my home appliances off of clean energy as possible. The first one I started with was my oven. Other than my heater, which I can do little about as a renter, the oven and stove utilized the most natural gas in my house. That’s why I decided to start using a solar cooker.
A solar cooker, as the name implies, uses the power of the sun to cook your food. While there are various designs the most common is simply a box that your food goes in. The box is lined with a reflective metal and is covered with glass. The sun is then harnessed by the cooker and magnified inside the box to cook the food to your desired temperature. You can cook full meals with nothing but the sun. Solar cookers have some pretty amazing benefits, such as:
Solar cookers are extremely inexpensive. Sure, you could shell out hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on a deluxe, top of the line model, but a basic one can be purchased for only tens of dollars. Or you could easily make one at home with little more than a pizza box, aluminum foil, and saran wrap if you’re really on a budget. Not only is it cheap to purchase one, but owning a solar oven is something that will keep paying off as long as you have it. Since it uses free sun energy you are saving money every time you use it over a traditional gas or electric oven.
Since you aren’t using the gas or electric oven you are also reducing your carbon footprint and your impact on the environment. No more relying on gas to cook the perfect meal. Even if you cook with a grill or over and open fire you are releasing harmful carbons into the environment, not so with a solar oven. There are no byproducts of cooking with one.
Easy to Use
All of the benefits of a solar cooker don’t mean anything, however, if they are too complicated for the average person to use. Luckily solar cookers couldn’t be easier to use. Compared to a stove, grill or open flame where you have to watch, flip, or stir what you’re cooking with a solar oven it’s more like cooking with a crock pot. All you have to do is add whatever you are cooking into the box and let the sun take over for a few hours.
Also, unlike a traditional stove top it’s easy to take with you. Since solar cookers are generally portable they make a great addition to any camping trips. As long as you have a few hours of unobstructed sunlight you have everything you need to run your solar cooker.
The Perfect Option for Off-Gridders
If you are looking into living off grid, or already are, then a solar cooker is the perfect option. If you are powering your home on a solar array then switching to a solar cooker will take some of the stress off an already taxed system. And, if you are already using a wood stove or open flame to cook your food a solar oven can be the perfect addition for your cooking needs.
Solar cookers are a great, low budget, and healthy option for anyone looking for an alternative option to traditional cookers. There is no reason you shouldn’t try using a solar cooker, they are so cheap that it doesn’t make sense not to. Whether you want to go fully off-grid or just do your small part to reduce your impact on the environment solar cookers are something you should definitely invest in.