Solar ovens…. they sound pretty outlandish don’t they? They are one of those great things that you’ve got to experience to believe (like many great things in life!). On a relatively sunny day, without either wood or gas, it is possible to cook grains, beans, sweet treats and always have hot water on supply for cooking or cleaning. Being able to cook without having to use earthly resources, whether they come from the forest backlot or municipal networks, feels good… feels non-violent…. feels liberating…. feels hopeful. It is one way we can tangibly receive the celestial energy that the sun sends us on every revolutionary day of our lives (if the clouds are not winning the cosmic battle!)
The basic design for the ovens comes from a publication by Aprovecho, http://www.approvecho.net/
. The main design challenge that I dealt with on this series was making the assembly and dis-assembly of the large reflectors easy. In our daily use of the one we have in the Azul, we found it to be a tedious, but often necessary process when big winds come, to take the reflectors off and then put them back on again when wanting to use the oven again. I went with a compound system of hinges that allows the whole reflective surface to fold down and protect the glass surface when the oven is in storage. I would call this design change a good improvement and a good step towards making the oven a smooth-functioning and perhaps some day a more main stream part of life.
I am very enthusiastic to hear about other experiences in solar cooking and would be happy to publish them on this site. The following photos are different views of the ovens. In one you’ll see the probes that Alejandro, our good scientist friend, has installed to study the performance of the ovens. (The photos don’t show clearly that there is a door on the back wall for placing pots and pans).
Cooking with the sun… why not? Yet another of the apparently infinite possibilities in which we may interact with reality in this miraculous life we are given. Recently, I have received many reminders of how important it is to start every day with openness…. to recognize that our habits are helpful but can hold us back from new ways of being in this world. It is so important that we continue to experiment and feel the freshness which each new breath offers us!