By Deanna Tolliver
It’s a hot day in July in Wisconsin. Or a warm winter day in Arizona. You want to make chocolate chip cookies, but dread turning on the oven because it will heat up the rig. Or, you’re boondocking and want to conserve electricity and propane.
Here’s a solution: Use solar power instead.
The American Sun Oven will bake anything outside that you normally bake inside in your oven. It’s also a food dehydrator and water purifier.
In simple terms, it’s a box with four aluminum “wings” that act as solar reflectors, and a glass top. The box is constructed of an outer shell of plastic, a bezel of poplar wood, and an inner shell of anodized aluminum. The reflectors, made from anodized aluminum, will never rust or corrode. The door is tempered glass. Between the inner and outer shells is a thick batt of food grade fiberglass insulation to help maintain oven temperature.
I’ve used an American Sun Oven, and am impressed with the details that are included in its design.
For example, to maximize oven temperature, the sun needs to be tracked as it moves across the sky, called focusing. The Sun Oven has two E-Z Sun-track indicators that show at a glance if the oven is lined up with the sun. There is also an aluminum alignment leg on the back that easily raises or lowers the oven, again to achieve maximum solar power.
Inside the oven, a leveling rack hangs from rods and swings freely so there are no spills when adjustments are made to the box. An easy-to-read thermometer is inside on the glass door.
The four aluminum reflectors are hinged together and fold on top of each other for storage. The oven itself weighs about 22 pounds, and the size is 19” by 19”, with an 11” depth.
And good news for the cook: foods do not burn in the Sun Oven!
I’ve baked perfect bread in my Sun Oven, as well as cookies, stews and casseroles. You can use any pan that fits, but using lightweight black or dark pans is recommended, as well as glass lids if needed.
When purchasing, there are two options: with or without the accessories. I strongly recommend getting the accessories. They include:
• baking and dehydrating rack sets
• 2 stacking pots, with one solid lid and one glass lid
• 2 loaf pans
• purification indicator
• roll of parchment paper
• eCookbook with 600 recipes
Cooking with solar not only saves energy and keeps your RV cooler in summer, food retains moisture and flavor.
Plus, it can be fun: I’ve laughed more than a few times at the looks my oven gets sitting on my picnic table at a campground!