Solar Cooking


Earlier in January 5,760 students came together in the city of Aurangabad, India for a culinary date with the sun.  30 schools participated in this solar cooking initiative and they were in for a real treat.  Besides savouring noodles they cooked during the initiative, they were inspired to learn how sun’s rays can be used to prepare a wholemeal, environmentally friendly safe meal. Such initiatives are aimed to inculcate values of simplicity and learning of young minds that will influence future plans, build an ecologically sustainable friendly planet.

Daily almost half the people globally prepare meals over burning wood, charcoal or animal dung. More than 4 million people mainly women and children die prematurely from household smoke. This long lived practice also contributes to deforestation and climate change. Health experts have observed and noted the climate effects of household energy is a huge problem, much bigger than outdoor air pollution or dirty water.

Heat from the sun can be harnessed for cooking of food. There are three broad designs of solar cookers: box, panel and parabolic. Eventually after all the other forms of energy are exhausted, sun energy will be the only medium left for us to use.
Sun Cookers are often referred to as “solar ovens”, designed to cook food by using sunlight and reflective materials to generate heat. The infrared and ultraviolet light waves produced by sunlight carry a lot of heat, and if continually trapped in a small space they can raise of the temperature of the air so high that it can cook meat, vegetables, bread, and other types of food.

Solar ovens have been proven to be safe and effective under the proper conditions, and recent years have seen the development of more advanced ovens which cook more easily while still using only heat from the sun.

Camper Cookers are designed almost in the same way as sun cookers, built stronger and more rugged to deal with the outdoors. It is possible to cook all types of food, specially stews, curry and rice. The Camper is water proof and comes in a neat carry bag. It is ideal for holidays, hikes, while watching sport, and general outdoor life. The camper zips closes, while cooking making it hygienic and safe.

17_solar_kettleSolar Kettle boils 500ml of water in about 60min in full sunlight. Just put the water in, close the lid and open the wings and put it down facing the sun. It is superb for boiling water for coffee, tea and the likes. One can also use the Solar Kettle for purifying dam or river water.

Sun Stove is a reflective parabolic solar cooker that is a convex shaped dish used to concentrate the energy onto the base of a pot. It can be used to cook, bake and even fry foods. Different sizes are available for different needs, with the larger models being more powerful. It can bring 1 litre of water to the boil in 10 minutes, and reach temperatures of over 200 degrees C. Some people find it more convenient to use a smaller sun stove as it is more compact, smaller and lighter. Other people prefer a large sun stove as it is hotter, and cooks as fast as a conventional stove.

17_hotboxHot Box is an insulated bag in which anything can be cooked, from delicious stews and curries to simple rice and soups. Boil your pot of food on the stove, or on the sun stove, starting the cooking process, and then place it in the Hot Box. Hot Box’s clever insulating properties allow food that has been brought to the boil to finish cooking while in the bag without the use of additional energy. Therefore families can cook appetising hot meals, while saving costs and energy. With hot box, one can cook a meal and leave it in the hot box for up to 12 hours. A great benefit of the hot box is that it is used to keep food warm after cooking food in sun (in daylight), to serve the family at night. The hot box may also be used as a cooler bag, drinks will remain cool.

Solar Oven Barbeque (BQQ) is the latest and trendiest form of solar cooking. It ultimately reaches a high temperature of 400 degrees in full sunlight. It is able to anything an electric oven can do, only, it cooks for free, using only the heat of the sun and there is absolutely no pollution. The BQQ grills chicken, braais meat, fries eggs, bakes bread and cooks a stew.
Advantages of solar cookers are: Solar cookers cook anything that can be cooked in a conventional oven such as roast meat, steam vegetables and baked bread. Solar cookers do not require any raw materials, such as wood or paper, to generate heat, which in turn helps to preserve the natural flora and prevents deforestation. Since there is no wood or oil, no poisonous gases are released into the atmosphere. Solar cookers do not require any flames, usage is safe around children and pets and do not lead to accidental fires. They do not need to be constantly monitored. Solar Cookers offer massive energy and financial savings. Food is healthier as solar cookers are water based therefore no need for oil or fat to cook.

Reap the benefits of solar cooking, whether you are considering using solar to ensure healthier cooking and energy savings or alternatively, become part of the eco-friendly community who play, cook or braai on some sunny days. So Solar market a range of solar cookers to meet all your requirements. Benefit from clean, energy efficient solar cooking Give solar cooking a try, you won’t believe how effective and delicious your cooking will be.

SoSolar is a green company based in Johannesburg, South African that specialises in solar cooking, solar lights and solar power systems. Their solar cookers are highly effective, durable products. Easy to boil water, cook casseroles, soups, stews, mealie pap, bakes bread and cakes, grill, fry and braai meat by utilising the energy from the sun.

Sun cookers save consumers money, as well as ensuring a safe environment, without the danger of fires and fumes. Slow cooking is nutritious as it maintains all the flavours and nutrients. These food cookers generally take from 20 minutes to 5 hours to cook, depending on the type of food being cooked and what solar stove is utilised.

10Cooking on Solar Cookers are seen to be environmentally sustainable, as it reduces the amount of trees being cut down, and reduces carbon emissions as less fossil fuels are needed to generate electricity. Solar Cooking has huge potential and ability to improve our environment. The more people who readily switch over to this way of life, the better the world we live in. Imagine if only 10% of all South Africans utilise solar energy for cooking, there would be enough power saved to be generated by one power station.

Finally stepping into more future endeavours . . . when it comes to not wasting heat we look at induction cooking, where energy is supplied directly to the cooking vessel by the magnetic field and almost all of the source energy gets transferred directly to that vessel. When it comes to gas or conventional electric cookers (including halogen), the energy is first converted to heat and only then directed to the cooking vessel, a lot of that heat goes to waste heating up the kitchen area instead of only heating up your food. As a comparison, 40%, less than half of the energy in gas gets used to cook, whereas with induction approximately 84% percent of the energy in the electricity used gets used to cook, therefore there is no wasted heat as with gas. Notable 80% LESS ENERGY is utilised on induction cooking compared to electric stoves usage.

The ubiquity of it all is obvious but a very important fact is that induction cookers are powered by electricity. Not everybody’s home actually has a gas pipeline available to it, for many, the only “gas” option is gas heating. Sounds old-fashioned in this age of microwave ovens, but many people say gas is the energy needed for a more eco-friendly future. Today almost everyone has clean, silent, ever-present electricity. Solar cooking has increased substantially in recent times and offers a practical, affordable, and sustainable alternative.

Look out for the So Solar series of articles  . . . 
Learn about  . . . Solar Lighting &  Living off the Grid.
Ref: Eco Health Sense