Nothing is more important to us on earth than the sun. Life on earth is only possible because the sun provides solar energy that not only keeps the earth warm but also drives the food chains in all the ecosystems of the planet that humans are part of. The sun’s energy can also be used in a much more direct way. It can be used to—you guessed it!—power solar ovens in which we cook food. This special Good Grub section outlines how you can make a do-it-yourself (DIY) solar oven and includes a delicious recipe you can try out.
Why a solar oven?
Besides being sustainable, a solar oven has other advantages.
- It does not produce open flames—it is safe. Anyone can cook—children too (but a guardian’s supervision is essential)!
- It is portable and can be carried on trips. Cook on the go!
- It allows hassle-free cooking. Food rarely sticks or burns!
- It causes no air pollution—and uses renewable energy.
- It can be used to pasteurise water and sterilise equipment.
Do it yourself!
A big square box (over 2 feet long), a small square that fits inside the bigger box, aluminium foil, newspaper for insulation, glass panel the size of the top of the big box, baking rack, tape and black paint
- Paint the bottom of the small box black (remember, black absorbs heat energy) and stick the remaining sides of the inside with aluminium foil.
- Place the small box in the bigger box. Ideally there should be a 1–2-inch gap on each side between the boxes. Crumble pieces of newspaper and stuff them in the gap (for insulation).
- Cover the flaps of the bigger box with foil to create the ‘reflectors’.
- Use an adult’s help to cut out the glass panel (as described in ‘Materials’) to the required dimensions and stick three of its four sides to the upper surface, using tape (it has to be openable so food can be kept and removed). Add the food you want to cook on top of the grill and put it in the oven to let it cook (make sure you find a nice spot with enough sunlight).