I’ve been asked about solar ovens several times since I began The Boat Galley, most recently when I wrote about ways to keep cooking heat out of the boat. And it’s a problem since I’ve only used one once, on a friend’s boat. But I have several friends who use them ALL the time. Their favorites:
I wanted to list some resources for readers who are curious about them. These were all written by cruisers and thus contain information useful to boaters:
- Sailing with Totem: Cooking with a Solar Oven by Behan Gifford
- Cruising World: “Keep on the Sunny Side” by Susan Detwiler
- The Adventures of Sailing Vessel Macha: “Solar Cooking” by Sarah
A few notes:
- Solar ovens are really useful in areas where it’s hard to get propane refills, such as some parts of the South Pacific (or where it’s hard to get whatever other type of fuel your stove uses)
- Also great in particularly hot climates
- I assumed they’d be primarily used for stews and things that required long slow cooking. While they are great for that, I also learned that you can bake most items in one and cook veggies, too. The GoSun can reach temperatures up to 450° F. and cooking times are very similar to conventional ovens. The Solavore uses lower temperatures and cooks more like a slow cooker.
- Eliminates the risk of fire that any stove or grill has
- Very “green” option, using no petroleum and putting no greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere
- Not that useful in areas that tend to be cloudy, even if it gets hot there. You need to be able to at least see your shadow.
- You don’t have to sit with the food and watch it — you can go ashore and do other things
- The pictures below show just how different the Solavore and GoSun are.
- Many solar ovens are fairly large, which means they can hold quite a bit but are tough to store. The GoSun is considerably smaller and also will reach hotter temperatures — but you can’t cook nearly as much in one.
Got any tips for others looking to start cooking with the sun? Please add them in the comments.