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Top-class chefs work hard to achieve the succulent tenderness so easily obtained in a solar oven. When the world learns how to do this simple cookery, it will fall completely in love. Try corn on the cob for your first solar cooking attempt. Just take off husks, wrap in aluminum foil, and leave all day in your solar oven. You won't believe the taste!

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Solar-Baked Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

Enough to make 12 to 15 cookies, fitting on one standard cookie sheet.

Preheat your solar oven to 200 to 250 degrees F

Boil briefly 1/4 C raisins in a tiny amount of orange or apple juice; let sit in juice. Strain well before adding to recipe.
Chop 1/4 C walnuts

Mix together in a medium bowl:
1/4 C butter, softened (grass-fed is best)
1/4 C brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp real sea salt

Mix together in another bowl & add to first bowl:
1/4 C + 1 tsp whole wheat flour that has been dry-fried in a skillet for a few minutes until hot to the touch but not browned
2 TBSP wheat germ or 1 TBSP each wheat germ and flax seed meal
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp allspice or cinnamon
1/16th tsp nutmeg

Add to first bowl and mix evenly:
The drained raisins and the walnuts
1/3 C instant oats (uncooked)
1/3 C old-fashioned oats (uncooked)

Drop by soupspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, preferably black, in rows to make 12 to 15 cookies. Put into solar oven and cook for about 10 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet 180 degrees around and continue baking until cookies are springy, not mooshy, to the touch, about 30 to 40 minutes at 225 degrees F.

Garlic-Soy Sauce Marinade for Meats

For two steaks, four pieces of chicken, or approximate equivalents

If time allows, pre-heat a casserole and its lid, or a baking pan (with or without lid), in the solar oven. Alternatively, simply place the marinated meat, frozen or not, into the pot and put into solar oven in early morning.

Mix in a medium bowl and stir rapidly:

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP olive oil

The meat can be frozen or thawed, but should remain in the fridge until the last minute before preparing. Rinse all the surfaces of the meat well in running water to remove microorganisms. Dry. Add the meat to the marinade and toss all around to coat all surfaces. Let meat marinate in the cooler as long as you like, or cook it immediately.

Bake in solar oven at 180 to 280 degrees F for a few hours.

One can use open or covered pots or casseroles. The differences are that the covered ones retain the moisture better, while the open ones get the meat heated up more quickly. We like to use a shallow, covered casserole, leave the lid slightly ajar for the first couple hours until the SO is hot, and then put in in place. Another choice is whether or not to use a rack to keep the meat up out of its juices. A few trials with different pots and procedures will soon show you which way yields the best results for your outfit.

If your SO reaches and maintains at least 180 deg F, and you leave the meat in for several hours, it's almost certain that it will be thoroughly cooked. However, if there's been clouds or other interruption to the heat, or if your SO gets much under 180, you will want to double check your meats with a meat thermometer.

To measure internal temperature, put the tip of the meat thermometer into the approximate center of the meat, but not on the bone. You can either leave the thermometer in the meat while cooking, or put it in after awhile to check for doneness. When the thermometer reads the appropriate temperature for your meat, it's done! See temperatures listed below for doneness of different meats.

Solar-cooked meats often appear redder than meats cooked at higher-temperatures. This is due to the non-destructive nature of solar cooking ~ the coloring in the meat has not been greatly altered, nor have the protein, the enzymes, or the other valuable nutrients. Red color does not mean that the meat is not cooked.

Doing Potatoes

Our SO stays at about 225 degrees F. At that temperature, large unpeeled potatoes do not seem to get soft, no matter how long they cook. But they will get soft if put into a dark, covered pot with a half inch of water at the bottom, and cook all day in SO at around 225 +/-.

Doing Tender, Heathful Rice

Mix together in dark pot and bring to boil on regular stove:

3 cups water
2/3 cup short-grain brown rice
2/3 cup short-grain white rice
1 tsp wheat germ (can omit)

Put on tight-fitting cover and place in SO that maintains around 200 deg F or higher. Remove after half an hour and keep covered at room temperature. Put back into SO about an hour before serving time. If left all day in SO, rice will become pasty. Alternatively, simply mix the above proportions in pot, and put directly into SO, removing when rice hits desired doneness. Needs to be checked, or it can get pasty.

Doing Beans with Help from Stove

Cover beans with plenty of good unsalted water in the evening, and soak in refrigerator overnight. Alternatively, boil the beans briefly, and then either soak for an hour at room temperature, or soak overnight.

Add more water if necessary, so that water level is well above level of the beans. Bring again to boil on stove, then while still hot, put into dark pot or mason jar painted black. Be careful that the jars are not sitting on anything cold, or they can crack when you pour the hot beans into them. Cover loosely enough so that steam can escape, and put into SO, preferably one that maintains 220 or higher. Leave all day. If not tender enough by evening, simply boil them a bit more.

We welcome any suggestions with specific temperatures, times, and procedures for getting beans soft!

Doing Beans Solely by Solar

Good luck! But any way you do them, they're going to be good, nutritious, and environmentally friendly. Many people just put them into the solar oven, in water to cover, in a dark pot with a good lid, without any presoaking or preboiling. Pre-salting them makes them stay harder.

Adelle Davis, world-famous biochemist, author, and consulting nutritionist in the 1950's to 1970's, virtually foretold the solar-cooking future.

Quoted from the chapter, "Slow Roasting," in Davis's bestselling cookbook, Let's Cook It Right:

"It cannot burn; it needs no watching; vitamins and proteins cannot be harmed at such low heat; almost no fuel is needed to cook it. One might say that it cooks itself.

"In slow roasting, the oven temperature is set approximately at the temperature you want the meat when it is done. ... Just as meat taken from a refrigerator will warm to room temperature, so will meat put into such an oven heat to oven temperature. Many warming ovens are adjusted so that a pilot light maintains a constant temperature of 165 degrees F., ideal for this type of roasting."
~~~ Let's Cook It Right, p. 56.

Years ago, I tried using my regular oven for this type of cooking, but was sorely disappointed by the dry, flavorless texture of the meat and never tried it again. Surely, Adelle was prohibited from describing the low-temperature "warming oven" any further. She had to state that low temperatures of 250 degrees be used in regular gas ovens, but this of course will dry out any meat if left for hours, unlike the sealed solar ovens, which retain all the moisture of the meats.

The following is Adelle's list of internal temperatures of various meats. Notice that the maximum temperature required is 185 degrees, with some as low as 140 degrees.

TYPE OF MEAT, followed by Internal Temperature at which meat is cooked, in degrees Fahrenheit:

Beef, less tender cuts
Rare, 135
Medium, 150
Well done, 160

Beef, tender cuts
Rare, 140
Medium, 155
Well done, 165

Chicken, roasting or stewing, 185
Duck, young, 185
Goose, young, 185
Ham, 165-170
Lamb, leg, 155-160
Lamb, shoulder, 155-160
Liver, uncut, 145-160
Mutton, leg or shoulder, 180-185
Pork roast, 165-170
Roast suckling pig, 165-170
Rabbit, 180
Spareribs, 180-185
Turkey, large or small, 180-185
Veal, standing or rolled roast, 180-185

Adelle's Slow Roasting Suggestions

Chicken: Salt chicken inside if desired; fill with stuffing*, brush with vegetable oil; insert thermometer into dressing at tail end. Set chicken on special rack with breast down.

Duck and goose, domestic: Stuff duck with apple, onion or buckwheat stuffing*; goose with apples, celery, and/or onions to be discarded before serving; insert thermometer into thigh muscle next to body.... Note location of fat deposits on goose before cooking. Each hour during cooking, barely prick the skin over fat deposits with a sharp-tined fork to allow melted fat to escape; remove fat from dripping pan with basting syringe to prevent discoloration. The French consider goose fat a great delicacy for use in general cooking [such as pates! -- KS].

Ham, whole or half, home-cured or tenderized: Wash well if home-cured; trim, leaving 1/2 inch of fat; save trimmings for seasoning; leave skin over shank, or more pointed end, cutting skin with kitchen shears into star-shaped or semicircular border; score fat into diamonds by cutting diagonally across surface; brush with dark molasses and put clove in center of each diamond; roast as in basic recipe. Serve with sauce made of dry mustard and fresh horseradish.

Lamb: Select leg, shoulder, loin, rack, or breast; have butcher remove oil gland from leg; bone and stuff leg if desired; or bone, stuff and roll breast; or make pocket between bones and meat in breast or shoulder roast for stuffing. Do not remove thin membrane covering leg or shoulder. Garnish platter with sprigs of fresh mint.

Liver: Buy 2 pounds or more of unsliced baby beef, veal, lamb or pork liver; make pocket in center of liver, stuff with onion dressing*, or roast without stuffing; cut 2 or 3 slices of bacon in half and put over top, holding them with toothpicks.

Mutton: Buy leg, shoulder, rack, or loin roast; ask butcher to remove oil gland from leg. Cut off all mutton fat and cover with slices of bacon held in place with toothpicks. Garnish roast and platter with fresh mint. Pork: Select fresh shoulder, leg, loin, or tenderloin; bone and stuff* shoulder or leg if desired.

Rabbit: Select a mature rabbit; stuff with rice and tomato dressing*, insert meat thermometer into thigh muscle next to body. Garnish platter with sprigs of parsley. Roast suckling pig: Should weigh 9 to 12 pounds; clean thoroughly, wipe with cloth, fill half the pig with rice or buckwheat stuffing* and half with onion dressing*; tie front legs together and pull backward; tie hind legs together bring forward; then tie all four legs together securely. Prop mouth open with a small uncooked potato. Insert thermometer into top of hip muscles; set with back up. Put on serving platter, place a small red apple in pig's mouth, fresh cranberries in eye sockets, and a wreath of parsley around neck.

Spareribs: Select 2 or 3 pounds of meaty spareribs; cut pocket between meat and bones and stuff with onion dressing or fill with sauerkraut seasoned with caraway seeds; or put dressing between two matching sections. Insert meat thermometer in dressing.

Barbecued or glazed spareribs: Use meaty, farmers' style ribs without stuffing. When ribs are half cooked, brush with sauce of 1/2 cup catsup, 1/4 cup each vinegar and dark molasses, 1 grated onion, 1/2 teaspoon each chili powder, freshly ground peppercorns, and salt. Continue to roast, applying remaining sauce every so often.

Turkey: Stuff with giblet dressing*, insert thermometer into dressing; roast preferably on rack with breast side down

Veal: Select breast, leg, loin or shoulder roast; bone, stuff, and roll if desired; cover with 1/4 inch layer of kidney fat if there is no fat on meat.

Venison, elk, moose, buffalo, bear, or other big game: Roast as a less tender cut of beef, cooking to medium or well done

Wild duck, grouse, pheasant, wild turkey, prairie chicken, or squab: Stuff with buckwheat, wild rice, or apple stuffing*. Insert meat thermometer into dressing or into thigh next to body. Roast duck to 140 deg. F, other wild fowl to 185 deg. F.

*Recipes for sauces and stuffings will be forthcoming after September, 2006, pending permission of Adelle's family and heirs

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