Friday, April 15, 2011

Solar Oven Experiment #1

A long time ago I mentioned the use of Solar Ovens~ I hope to make a heavy duty one out of wood and better materials, but for now I have one I made out of a box~

I used a Keurig Coffee Maker Box which is pretty perfect for a solar oven, but not so perfect for a Coffee pot. Purchasers of the Keurig also have to purchase small plastic and foil pods full of grounds for a single serving of crappy, old tasting coffee. For about a box of 24 pods it costs something like $7 or more, a lot more expensive than a conventional bag of beans or grounds.
Grounds and filters(most) are great for compost, and if you compost with worms~ they love it too. The Keurig takes something completely biodegradable and surrounds it in plastic to not even be recycled~ but thrown in the trash. Unless people want to take the time to cut off the foil, empty the grounds, rinse and dispose.
I highly recommend never entertaining the idea of purchasing such a worthless product, unless you have hundreds of dollars to throw away, in that case please donate to my Bus fund instead and I will make you better tasting coffee every day. Working at a coffee shop where we roast our own beans a day or so before we grind and brew it really does turn you into a coffee snob!
I used a slightly smaller box than the Keurig box inside, with more cardboard surrounding to insulate. Then I covered the flaps with heavy duty aluminum foil, shiny side out, placed my pot inside and covered it with a plastic wrap I found, securing it to the box with tacks.
The pot is a black saucepot with small handles on the sides with a lid. It is the large kind, so I will be getting a smaller one since heating up a lot of food like that at once takes longer and would be more suitable to be cooked in the desert of Arizona instead the shady yard of my house.
I cooked a veggie soup from random cans of veggies, soaked beans, pasta, tomato sauce, and spices. I made way too much to be cooked in the solar cooker completely but after about 6 hours in the sun the pasta was cooked. So I did have to finish cooking some of the liquid off on the stove.
I found out that smaller amounts work better, canned/already cooked works better because it cooks faster, water will not boil out since there is a lid keeping moisture in. I also need to get a thermometer so I can check the inside temperature so I will know in the future how long it will take to cook other things. My design worked very well though, so no problems there! It makes me happy to now have an environmentally friendly device I created from the PACKAGING of a very UNfriendly device.
What shall I try next...


  1. I never understood the Keurig coffee makers; a total waste as far as I can figure.

    I like the solar oven! A solar oven is on my "must have" travel list and I've looked at lots of DIYs. I'd be curious about the temperature it reached and maintained, for food safety reasons. I'd be using frozen (thawed) or leftover veggies instead of canned.

    Thanks, Laura!

  2. Yay! Excellent post Laura Anne! You know I am going to tell Heidi you mentioned worms! She has a stack of bins full of them now and feeds them coffee grounds and all kinds of kitchen scraps etc. We have done some solar cooking as well and love it! Have to make a good oven this year for sure! Yours looks very well done!

    97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"

  3. Even the places which are NOT getting enough sun light can also use Solar
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  4. Great explanation, thanks for the posting!
    Very good! I think that you have done a great job! FANTASTIC!!!!
    Cooking Equipment

  5. thank you! the design was great, now I need to make it into a more permanent structure. :) Also I plan to make it smaller, and use a smaller pot. That would greatly reduce cooking time and I usually only cook for 2!