Can I Solar Cook in the Winter, and Should I?

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...Can I and should I Solar Cook in the winter?

When the weather is hot outside many people will try to avoid having to turn on the oven or stove to do any cooking in order to keep the heat down in the house.

When its cold outside most people do not think about cooking their food over a fire or on a grill out in the back yard, since they would prefer the extra heat in the house.

In an emergency situation though many will not have the luxury of choosing where, when or how they cook, they will have to do so by any means possible. So, the more prepared with more cooking options one is; the better
off will be your situation.

I would like to look at one particular method of cooking in the winter that most people would not consider very reasonable.

Solar Cooking in the winter would seem to be contrary to any common sense judgment.

Why would one want to solar cook outside when one can use their wood, gas or electric stove/oven inside, to give additional heat to the home, while accomplishing the necessary task of daily cooking?

I would like to offer one main (and very good) reason why one would choose to solar cook even in the winter.

The first and biggest reason would be to save and conserve your expendable and limited fuel supplies, whether they are propane, wood, charcoal, generator or any bio-mass fuel source.

When you are without the traditional convenient means of obtaining and replenishing your regular supplies of electricity, wood or gas; all of the daily fuel needs of a household will quickly diminish your stores of fuel you may have accumulated for these important needs.

Many people who stockpile and store fuels take in to account only the need to cook with such, but they do not consider that they will also need to heat water for bathing, cleaning, washing as well as fuel for heating their current living quarters.

These needs will quickly deplete your stores of fuel and leave you with few options to meet your basic needs.

On the other hand, solar is an unlimited supply of power for a variety of uses and needs and especially so for cooking. Of course all you need is a bright sunny day. And, in the winter many places do have a certain amount of those bright sunny days, even in the northern climes.

With a modern, well built solar cooker(s) one can cook all of their food effectively and quite efficiently.

Cooking in the winter can be accomplished very easily, though it requires more condensed and tighter planning and execution to do so due to the shortened days and limited availability of sunshine. Your ideal time for cooking during the shorter winter days will be between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM, even though one can stretch those times somewhat depending on what is being cooked and what kind of solar cooker is being used. (Summer time will permit solar cooking from as early as 8:00 AM to as late as 6:30 PM)

Of course the further north one lives the shorter the days (available sunshine) will be in the winter.

Some people wonder about the outside or, ambient temperatures effect on solar cooking.

It can be 15 below freezing and if you have a well designed, built and insulated solar cooker; it will attain temperatures of 350 F and more.

Where I live, I have solar cooked probably 300 of 365 days a year, year around.

This last October, up through January, I have been able to solar cook almost ever day, whether it is a small item or meal or a full course meal.

Of course some winters are stormier and cloudier than others, and when they are, on days that are cloudy; then is when I will use my traditional methods or expendable fuels for cooking.

Right now solar cooking is an energy and money saver for our family.

Read more about Wintertime Solar Cookint

Read more about Wintertime Solar Cookint

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February 7, 2012  •  10:39 AM
i would like know what added insulation to your box solar cooker did ya needed for cooking in the northern winter climate . i see your picture of bread cooking in january snow. great way of saving fuel.
February 7, 2012  •  01:48 PM

That particular solar cooker that you saw in the photo, the box style solar cooker, has a food grade insulation between the inner metal box interior (the oven) and the outer ABS plastic exterior box.
This allows for a good insulating factor which helps to retain the accumulated heat for longer periods of time.

If you did not have an insulating material you would lose most of your heat quite quickly through conduction and radiation which would make it more difficult to solar cook.

Many people successfully use paper, cardboard, wool, cotton, hay etc. and other non-toxic materials to insulate a solar oven. These materials won't create any noxious off-gassing as will thing such as fiberglass, Styrofoam etc.

Yes, Solar Cooking is a great way to save fuel, even in the cold winter it can be a very useful tool.

Thanks for your comments.

PS, I will be posting some more information on how to successfully use a solar cooker throughout the year.

August 16, 2012  •  05:37 PM
The SUN OVEN or solar cooker you saw has built in insulation. Its very well insulated and comes standard from the factory. We have they listed at at the lowest prices we could find. Awesome product, wish we could say we built it :) None the less, the gentleman is right, cooking in the winter is a snap as long as the sun is out. I GREAT way to save fuel. A preppers must have if you ask me. Emergency preparedness made easy,