Solar Cooking Hints - Solar Cooking Safety - Solar Cooking FAQ
There is very little different about cooking in a solar box apart from doubling cooking time and leaving water out when cooking fresh vegetables or meats. All foods are cooked in dark covered pots except for roasting nuts and some baking. Use your own recipes and spices. By making small adjustments in time or the amount of water, your favorite foods taste as good or better than ever. The following approximate times are for 4-5 servings. Increase cooking times for larger amounts.
COOKED DRIED CEREALS AND GRAINS - (barley, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, wheat) : 2 hours. Start with usual amount of water. Next time adjust to your taste. If your sky conditions are less than ideal, you may have better luck if you preheat the water and grain separately, as suggested for pasta. This is especially helpful if the grain is either very slow to tenderize (brown rice, hulled but not pearled barley) or gets mushy easily (quinoa, millet). To learn about using barely-sprouted grains and beans, which take to sun cooking very well, see Sprouting seeds and grains.
VEGETABLES - Add no water. Artichokes: 2 1/2 hours; Asparagus: 1 1/2 - 2 hours; Other fresh green vegetables: 1-1 1/2 hours. If cooked longer they will taste fine but lose their nice green color. Beans - dried: 3-5 hours. Usual amount of water, can be soaked ahead of time; Beets, Carrots, Potatoes and other root vegetables: 3 hours. Cabbage, eggplant: 1 1/2 hours if cut up. Eggplant turns brownish, like a cut apple, but the flavor is good; Corn on the cob: 1 - 1 1/2 hours. The corn kernels will fade slightly if left longer in direct sunlight. The husk will hold the moisture in and protect the kernels naturally. A clean black sock can be put over an ear of corn to help absorb heat for faster cooking time. Squash, zucchini: 1 hour. Will turn mushy if left longer.
EGGS - Add no water. Two hours for hard yolks. If cooked longer the whites turn brownish, but the flavor is the same.
MEATS - Add no water. If cooked longer they just get more tender. Fish: 1-2 hours; Chicken: 2 hours cut up, 3 hours whole; Beef, Lamb, etc.: 2 hours cut up, 3 - 5 hours for large pieces; Turkey, large, whole: all day
PASTA - Heat water in one pot and put dry pasta with a small amount of cooking oil in another pot, and heat until water is near boiling. Add hot pasta to hot water, stir, and cook about 10 minutes more.
BAKING - is best done in the middle of the day (9 or 10 am - 2 or 3 pm) Breads: Whole loaves - 3 hours; Cakes: 1 1/2 hours; Cookies: 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Do NOT need to be covered. Avoid bottom crusts - they get soggy. Black socks can also be used to cover foil-wrapped garlic/herb breads. Takes awhile for the heat to work through, but with the sock to dull the foil it eventually will, and the sun makes wonderful fresh garlic bread.
SAUCES & GRAVIES MADE WITH FLOUR OR STARCH - Heat juices and flour separately, with or without a little cooking oil in the flour. Then combine and stir. It will be ready quickly.
ROASTING NUTS - Bake uncovered. Almonds: 1 hour, Peanuts: 2 hours.