Cooking with the sun's power is a fun way to use a renewable resource, and with excellent results. Food cooked in solar ovens retains its moisture and nutrients as it cooks slowly, and does not burn as with other types of heat. Many organizations are introducing solar cooking to the world's less developed regions to prevent further deforestation in fuel-starved areas. They hope also to liberate the women and their children who must spend their days trying to gather fuel instead of working or going to school.
In more developed nations, solar cooking helps to decrease the use of fossil fuel and to keep the house cool in summer. Many are finding it a creative and practical way to produce delicious meals with less trouble than it takes to use a conventional range.
Designs for ovens and cookers abound. They range from very affordable home made models to those one can buy ready-made. Most of the cookbooks listed below also have an explanation of the different types of ovens as well as tips for the novice solar chef.
Technology and Designs
Radabaugh, Joseph. Heaven’s flame: a guidebook to solar cookers. Ashland, OR, Home Power, c1991. 80 p.
Solar cookers and ovens: technology options. New Delhi, Consortium on Rural Technology, 1982. 56 p.
Lorraine and Rick Palkovic. Cooking with sunshine:the complete
guide to solar cooking with 150 easy sun-cooked recipes. Rev. and expanded ed. New York, Marlowe, c2006. 202 p.
TX835.5 .A64 2006
Barker, Jennifer Stein. The
Morning Hill solar cookery book. Canyon City,
OR, Morning Hill Associates, c1999.
TX835.5 .B37 1999
Gurley, Virginia Heather. Solar cooking naturally. 4th ed. Sedona,
AZ, SunLightWorks, 1999. 92 p.
TX835.5 .G87 1999
Halacy, Beth, and Dan Halacy. Cooking with the sun. La Fayette, CA, Morning Sun Press, 1992. 114 p.
Halacy, Beth, and Dan Halacy. The solar cookery book: everything under the sun. Culver City, CA, Peace Press, 1978. 108 p.
Kofalk, Harriet. Solar cooking: a primer/cookbook. Summertown, TN, Book Pub. Co., c1995. 96 p.
Yaffe, Linda Frederick. Solar cooking for home and camp. Mechanicsburg, PA, Stackpole Books, c2007. 120 p.
of contents online //www.loc.gov/catdir/toc/ecip079/2007003173.html.
Baking in the Sun
NASA's Earth Observatory site
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
NREL's page, Student Resources on Concentrating Solar Power is the nation's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development, and is focused on advancing our nation's energy goals. The laboratory's scientists and researchers work to accelerate research from scientific innovations to market-viable alternative energy solutions. This includes the use of renewable electricity and fuels in homes, commercial buildings, and vehicles.
Solar Cookers International
Solar Cookers International (SCI) was established in 1987 to spread
the use of solar ovens and cooking. Their programs educate policy
makers, maintain an international exchange network through conferences
and publications, and ,by bring solar cooking technology to areas
of the world most in need of it. The site contains clear explanations
of the benefits, types and best uses of solar ovens, as well as a
list of cookbooks and commercially available ovens.
Solar Cooking Archive
Sponsored by Solar Cookers International, the Archive contains a
wealth of information, including newsletters, articles, discussion
lists, plans for cookers, an international directory and more.
Solar Cooker Plans
Presents plans for building box, panel, and parabolic cookers, as
well as a few other types of solar appliances.
Solar Ovens Society (SOS)
“The SOS exists to promote solar cooking to the American public and
to provide a way to partner with the over 2 billion people worldwide
who lack adequate fuel for cooking their food.” They produce
and ship cookers overseas, as well as offer them for sale. The site
also includes a number of recipes.
Solar Household Energy, Inc.(SHE)
SHE’s mission is “to harness free enterprise for the
introduction of solar cooking to improve quality of life and relieve
stress on the environment.”
Solar Oven Development and Testing Project (Florida Solar Energy
What Stores Energy Best?
The Florida Solar Energy Center conducted a research project to improve
the performance, reliability and cost-effectiveness of low-cost solar
cookers for use in developing nations. This site presents results
of the tests. Much of the information is detailed and technical in
Make a solar oven-like box to compare sand, salt, water and paper to see which substance can store energy the best.
Compiled by MJ Cavallo
May 2008 ; revised June 2010