Solar Cooking – Cookware

Going With What Works:

In attempting an in-depth research of currently available Solar Cooking information thus far this year, I have followed the same old “tongue-in-cheek” attitude one should assume with any form of data drawn off the Internet.  One must validate his/her sources and always question the truth of what is being read/shared.  This is one of the situations where being a bit older and world-wise is a great help in filtering out the wheat from the chaff.  On the other hand, the Internet gives one a great opportunity to look at a HUGE mass of data on just about any given subject and a great opportunity to simply learn from the mistakes and lessons-learned from others.  I have learned to pay particular attention when someone takes the time to share tips and tricks – or what their current “favorite” devices are.

One example is Mr. Jim La Joie taking the time to share his “Favorite Cookware” for Solar Cooking on his web site.  (The photos below belong to Jim and are used here to share my own comments/experiences).

With “Reflector Style” Solar Ovens, one of the necessary items is to have a means of trapping the heat around your cooking pot.  The most common means of doing so, is to use a large oven bag kind which is kind of inflated around the pot, set on a little rack inside to keep it from coming in direct contact.  I have done this and found it a bit unhandy, particularly in windy conditions.  Less common, but very efficient and re-usable is to form a “chamber” with oven-proof glassware such as Anchor Hocking or Pyrex.

The cooking pots/pans need to be black, at least on the outside.  In my earliest experience, I used a black high-temperature BBQ spray paint on a couple of old camping pots to achieve this.  A lot of folks simply use dark enamel-ware which works great, but even more handy is the new black anodized campware which is super light, non-stick and far easier to clean later on.  (As mentioned last month, I ordered the “Texsport Trailblazer Black Ice Hard Anodized QT Cook Set” from CampMor.com).

Jim’s cooking vessel setup includes:

  • 2 quart pot
  • 3.5 quart tall pot
  • 3.5 quart short pot
  • cake pan/pie plate for cornbread and brownies.

 

 

 

If you invest in just 3 pieces of glassware (a 9.5 inch pie plate and two 4 quart bowls) you will be able to create a cooking chamber for each of these vessels. (I chose to “double up” to provide for multiple cookers with different dishes).

 

4 quart bowl, 9.5" pie pan, 3.5 quart pot

4 quart bowl, 9.5" pie pan, 3.5 quart pot

Cooking chamber around 3.5 qt. pot

Cooking chamber around 3.5 qt. pot

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2 quart pot, 4 quart bowl, 9.5" pie plate

2 quart pot, 4 quart bowl, 9.5" pie plate

Cooking chamber around 2 qt. pot

Cooking chamber around 2 qt. pot

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Cooking chamber around 9" cake pan & 9" pie plate

Cooking chamber around 9" cake pan & 9" pie plate

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Two 4 qt. bowl chamber for 3.5 qt. tall pot

Two 4 qt. bowl chamber for 3.5 qt. tall pot

Jim uses Anchor Hocking brand bowls as they are deeper than Pyrex and fit well in his ASSC design cooker, therefore I have elected to do the same.

RANT: In these days of foreign manufacturing, it is difficult to know what is coming from where – this is true of cookware available today under the brand name “Anchor Hocking” – they are available through Walmart and other stores but LOOK at what you are buying before you pay for it.  I had ordered two of the 4 quart, oven-proof, “mixing bowls” and when they arrived, one was perfect and the other was slightly out of round.  This morning, the wife found another that was even more out of round over at the Walmart in Santee.  Bottom line – look – and look closely.  /RANT 😉

NOTE: All of the above information applies to the “reflector-style” Solar Cooking devices, such as the ASSC, and should not be miss-construed as applicable to other styles, particularly “box-style” ovens which provide their own “cooking chamber” as part of their design.  Please note that the size of their cooking chamber will also dictate the size, (particularly the height), of pot one would use.  Most Parabolic cookers, given the extreme heat source provided, may use regular pots/devices and require no chamber, but there are other considerations I will pursue later on. 8)

This entry was posted by dave on Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 at 4:36 pm and is filed under Solar Cooking . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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