Besides all the regular ways we cook outside like propane grills, charcoal, wood fires… I built a solar oven.
Mine is very simple. I took a wooden planter that had sides sloping outward and lined it with aluminum foil. I cut a piece of glass to fit as a lid, then used duct tape to cover the edges for safety.
Sitting outside in direct sun on my patio table, this maintains about 350 degrees. I have a black enamel pot that fits well inside. I put food in the pot and let it cook all day. I have baked potatoes, made roast beef with vegetables, and soups. Use any crock pot recipe you like, it works much the same without the electric bill.
I love my sun pot, it is: 1) easy to make, 2) keeps my house cooler in the summer, 3) provides slow cooking with all natural ingredients, 4) uses no electricity to operate, and 5) the food tastes great.
When I lived off grid in Texas, this reduced my drain on the solar panels. In New Mexico it reduces my drain on the grid.
Passive solar energy users like sun pots are very inexpensive and lower your carbon footprint, but my favorite benefit is the reduction in base expense required for survival and less dependence on the market economy.
A friend said she thought it might be too much work. I laughed!
Imagine how many hours you worked to buy a stove; add in the hours you worked to buy gas, propane, or electric to operate it; don’t forget the hours you worked to pay for a propane tank or gas line to your house or connection to the grid; and never mind the taxes you paid on labor income which is taxed higher than investment income. The hourly cost of cooking on that system is so high I can’t calculate it.
I work very hard in the market economy. The money flows back out at an amazing rate and buys less every year. My return on energy expended has decreased dramatically since 2008.
My work in the natural circular economy has consistently given better returns on energy expended. Some of the work gives residual benefit, like the solar oven that took a little work to make but returns heat for cooking for years.
Is it dependable? When I was off grid in Texas, every storm brought power outages. My neighbors had a 3 day outage and I didn’t notice.
Will I ever completely leave the market economy? I doubt it.
Is total reliance on the market economy wise? Ask anyone who has been laid off, fired, retired, or disabled, how well the phantom economy treats them after endless hours of inputs. Build a sun pot and reap the benefit for decades.
Real wealth, not phantom wealth.