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As we continue our series on SUN OVEN Essentials, we're going to talk about
pots and pans. The most efficient kind of pot or pan to use in the SUN OVEN
are these black enamel pots. They're very thin and they're dark. Keeping in
mind that in the Sun Oven, the entire chamber is the same temperature, so
the thicker the pot or the more mass you have, the longer it takes to come
up to temperature.
The reason these black enamelware pots are so effective is they're very
lightweight and thin and so there's not a lot of mass to heat up. But also
they're effective because they are dark and the dark absorbs the sun. So
these work the best out of anything that you can use in it.
Now keep in mind that anything you cook in the Sun Oven other than bakery
goods, you do need to cook in a pot with a lid on it. The lid traps the
moisture inside the pot and allows you then to keep the moisture inside of
it. If you cooked in an open pot, the moisture would escape from the pot,
it would fog the inside of the glass and it would decrease the efficiency.
A lot of people who cook in Sun Ovens like using pots that they already
have at home, something like glassware like Corningware or Pyrex. Now, you
can cook in Corningware or Pyrex. It'll work wonderfully. It will just take
about 15% longer to cook in glassware than it will in the enamelware. But
it works really nice.
So any kind of pot or pan that you have will work in the Sun Oven, but you
do want to be cautious if you're going to use a shiny pot, something that's
like stainless steel. That will reflect the light out of the Sun Oven and
decrease the efficiency in it a great deal. So if you're going to use
something like a shiny stainless steel pot, then what you'd need to do is
take a dark dish towel, put the dish towel over the pot lid so the light
doesn't reflect out, and then you can get away with using a shiny pot
inside the sun oven.
If you are going to use a dish towel it's important to use a natural fiber
like a cotton as opposed to a synthetic dish towel. A synthetic dish towel
might melt. Nothing will catch on fire in the Sun Oven. But a synthetic
dish towel could melt inside the Sun Oven.
Now again with the even heat, a gentleman was telling me recently that just
about every Sunday before he goes to Church, what he likes doing is taking
a pot roast or a roast chicken, putting it in the bottom pot of the Sun
Oven, taking something like an apple or peach cobbler and putting it in the
top pot, and then setting that inside his Sun Oven.
Again, the cobbler doesn't need a lid on it so he just sets the open top
with the cobbler on the top, and he sets the Sun Oven in the sun where the
sun is going to be about halfway in the time he's gone for Church. When he
comes home he has a cooked roast and dessert. He says it still amazes him,
and he's done it many times, that you can cook something as diverse as a
roast and a cobbler for exactly the same length of time at exactly the same
temperature and he'll still have them both come out perfectly.
So, again, anything that will fit in the Sun Oven will work. The leveling
tray does remove from the Sun Oven, so if you'd like you can then take it
out of the oven. If you take it out, then that expands the area. But also -
and I'm taking it out just to make it easier to see - if for example I
wanted to make multiple layers of brownies, I'm not limited to one layer of
brownies. I can cross-stack pots. So I could cross-stack pots and if I
wanted to I can make several trays of brownies by just cross-stacking the
Or, the Sun Oven is available with dehydrating and baking racks, and the
racks that work wonderfully for dehydrating also work if you want to make
multiple layers of something like cookies or flatbreads or quiches. You can
then stack these three high on the leveling tray inside the sun oven and
it'll allow you to make multiple dishes at the same time.
You can cook two loaves of bread. Now, the bread pans, even though they're
a little bit shiny, really don't make any difference because once the bread
rises it covers over the shiny pot. So it doesn't reflect the light out and
that works fine.
Now there are two ways to cook in a Sun Oven. One is, that if you refocus
the Sun Oven every 30 minutes, then your cooking time is going to be about
15 minutes longer than your regular oven or your stove top for each time
that you open the glass door of the oven. So if you refocus it every 30
minutes you'll keep the oven at a very high temperature and things will
Or, you can slow cook. Let's say I was going to make a chicken. I could
take a three pound chicken, I could put it in a pot and I could put it in
the Sun Oven, and if I refocus the oven every 30 minutes I could cook a
three-pound chicken in an hour and a half. Or, I could take a frozen
chicken and I could put it in the Sun Oven early in the morning, set the
Sun Oven facing south, leave for the day, come back at dinnertime and have
a roast that's cooked.
So I can let it slow cook all day, and if I'm going to do that then you can
use something like a cast iron pot or a Dutch oven. The nice thing about
using a Dutch oven or a cast iron pot is that if you are going to cook all
day, if you have the Sun Oven out and you know it's going to be sunny in
the morning, even if you lost your sun completely in the afternoon once the
Dutch oven has come up to temperature, the retained heat from the cast iron
will allow the food to finish cooking.
If you don't open the door of the Sun Oven, it's sitting inside the well-
insulated Sun Oven, the food will finish cooking even if you lose your sun
completely. So for slow cooking you can use a Dutch oven or a cast iron
pot. You can make up to an 18-pound turkey if you remove the leveling tray
and you put something like one of the wire racks from the baking and
dehydrating set on the bottom. Then you can put a turkey in a baking bag
and put it in the Sun Oven, and you can make up to an 18-pound turkey.
If you are going to cook in a baking bag, you don't cut any slits in the
baking bag. You basically tie the baking bag tight, the baking bag is
replacing your pot. So you tie it tight, and that will allow it to finish
cooking and doesn't make a mess with it.
So again, with the even heat inside the Sun Oven you can use just about any
type of pot or pan. Anything that's oven safe can be used in the Sun Oven.
So there are some things that people use in the microwave they wouldn't use
in their regular oven, and they shouldn't use those those in a Sun Oven.
But if it's oven safe, you can use it. RVers like using things like
silicone pans, so it's a matter of personal taste. Some will take a little
bit longer, and the rule of thumb is just add a little more time if you're
using a thicker pot.