Which is the best kind of solar cooker?
The short answer is that pretty much all of them are good cookers, but there are some that stand out above the others in design, quality, capability and durability.
Of course the answer to which solar cooker is best can also depend upon ones own cooking needs and customs.
What a solar cooker is capable of can also define its usefulness and worth.
If a person loves to cook Wok style, or sautee or even deep fry and grill, then a solar oven would not be as functional since it works best for stewing, baking, steaming and cooking similar to a slow cooker.
A Parabolic solar cooker,
or concentrator cooker, like the Solar Burner, the Sun Power Cooker, Cookup200 etc., functions just like a burner plate on a stove top, and a proper sized parabolic can cook just as fast as your electric or gas stove top burner, thus allowing for the ability to deep fry, grill, pressure cook and so on. You can even pop popcorn.
A box style cooker, such as the Global Sun Oven or the Sport or the Suncook, can be used for baking breads, cookies and cakes, stewing, roasting, steaming and it works especially well for your slow crock-pot style cooking.
In all the years I have been solar cooking I have never had to use a knife to cut my solar cooked chickens because the meat falls off of the bones and we usually have to scoop the meat out of the juices with a fork.
Solar Panel Cookers
such as the Hot Pot and the Cook it,also function similar to the box cookers, but are even simpler in design and usually require less materials to make. And some solar panel cookers can rival the cooking abilities of the solar box ovens depending on your design and materials.
Solar Panel cookers are used in many areas of the world where the poorest are able to cook with the power of the sun at a minimal cost in materials and construction effort.
So, which is the best kind of solar cooker to have for all around cooking purposes?
With a box, or oven, style solar cooker you can cook pretty much any food you can think of, you just dont have the ability to deep fry or pressure cook.
(With a solar oven though you can cook bacon and ground burgers etc. its just a bit slower than a parabolic so its almost like pan frying but no quite.)
Many people, in order to cover all of their cooking needs and abilities, will acquire at least two solar cookers, one of each style,which enables them to have stove top (parabolic) capabilities and slow cook and baking capabilities (solar oven)
This allows them to greatly increase their cooking capacities allowing for more items and varieties to be solar cooked at the same time. For example you can deep fry some scones on your parabolic while the solar oven is cooking a pot roast with all of the
In our next article we will share information and comparisons of the many commercial solar cookers available on the market and which ones are considered the best.