Saturday, February 21, 2009

Solar Cooking Part Two

Several months ago I wrote a blog about my purchase of a solar cooker.

At that time, after much research I felt my best choice was a Hot Pot Solar Cooker. And I have been pleased with it to some extent . . .

The Hot Pot is basically a two piece cooker, consisting of a series of hinged shiny aluminum panels that folds flat. These open up into a wide reflector, aiming the sun into a large glass bowl with a fitted dark metal bowl that sits inside the glass bowl. Also included is a glass lid to cover the whole thing. In case you haven't read much about solar cookers, the consensus seems to be that a thin dark metal pan with a clear glass lid works best. The heat is held by the dark pan and the suns rays go right through the glass lid to help increase the heat concentrated by the reflector(s). This pretty much describes the Hot Pot.

In my experience, when the weather is warm, the sky is clear and the wind is low (yeah, that happens, I'm in New Mexico), it does a very fine job.

BUT when the wind kicks up, it is less than perfect.

As I said before, under the right circumstances, a Hot Pot is a fine choice, but after inconsistent results, I found myself looking for something more versatile. Since we are in a motorhome, size is a definite issue.

So I've been looking for a device that I could use in less than ideal weather circumstances and still wouldn't take up too much space. After searching all over the internet, it seems that the Global Sun Oven is a highly respected, quite usable oven that works under a variety of circumstances.

As if to nudge me in this direction, another Lazy Daze couple pulled in to our campground. It turned out to be Doug and Beth, Beth being the one who had originally shown me her Hot Pot at the Balloon Fiesta last fall. As luck would have it, this trip she had brought along her Global Sun Oven.

After giving it a good hard look, the differences became apparent. The construction of the Hot Pot is fine, but provides little insulation. That's why the wind messes with the temperatures so much. The Global Sun Oven, on the other hand is a wood box, lined with a black material that absorbs the heat, with a thick layer of insulation sitting between the box and the inner chamber. The "lid" is tempered glass (like on a regular oven), seated on a gasket to retain the heat. The reflectors are permanently mounted on the top and fold down perfectly flat, making it quite compact and portable. Upon seeing the Global Sun Oven in person, I realized it's not really that much bigger than the Hot Pot, so I decided to go for it.

Since the arrival of my Global Sun Oven, I've been cooking up a storm, and I have to say, I'm really impressed.

So far, I've made no knead bread, olive, Parmesan beer bread, black beans with ham hocks, rice, biscuits (from scratch), coffee cake, chicken with Italian vegetables and hummingbird cake.

And everything has turned out perfectly!

Another plus, is that when you're done cooking, you simply fill your cooking utensil with water and place it back into the oven and within thirty minutes or so, you have hot water to do your dishes.

Get ready for lots more cooking info and recipes, I like this way of cooking a lot.

I'm not really in business with this blog, (although I do appreciate everyone who takes the time to order through my Amazon link). That said, I want to include the following.

In looking around the internet, I was surprised to see how much the prices for the Global Sun Oven varied from dealer to dealer. I found it at one place for $205 but then they tacked $45 onto that for shipping. This was the lowest initial price, so that was a no go. Finally, I found it on one site for $235 delivered and almost went for it. I might add that I also found them for $350!

Then I decided to call the makers and learned that I could become a "dealer" and set my own price! If anyone is interested, I will sell them for $225 delivered to your door (lower 48 in the US only). I'm not really setting up a business here, I just want anyone who wants one of these ovens to have one. If you would like a Global Sun Oven, look around the internet and if you can find a better price, please buy one from that dealer.

You won't be disappointed, this is a fine product.

If you can't find a better price and want to get one of these Global Sun Ovens, drop me an email.


Suzanne LD Wannabe said...

Wow, you have been cooking up a storm. I'm amazed that your new solar oven is able to do all the breads that you've tried. I've always thought of solar cookers as being kind of a "crock pot" device, but with the insulated box and glass door, this seems much more like a real oven. (I guess OVEN is the key word here, duh.) They have a great little video on their website showing how to set up and "focus" the oven. You get a real feeling for the quality and ease of use.
Your price is awesome too and I will be buying one from you in a few months after I recover from replacing my 23-year old microwave and stove that are being delivered today. Your research and product reviews are awesome!! Thanks for sharing.

Vernon "Vito" Johnston said...

Nice Kate...I look forward to someday having a GSO cook-off with you. Hopefully, I can make it to New Mexico in my 35' RV Bus. Do you ever make it to California?...Vernon