Global SunOven Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What can I cook in a SUN OVEN®?
A: Anything you can cook in a conventional electric or gas oven and most things you can cook on a stovetop can be cooked in a SUN OVEN®. You can bake, boil and steam, so the only foods you cannot cook are fried foods.
Q: Where are the SUN OVENS® manufactured?
A: The SUN OVENS® which are sold in North America are made in Elburn, Illinois. With the exception of the thermometer, all of the component parts used in the SUN OVENS® are made in the USA.
SUN OVENS® that are used outside of North America are often made in the country in which they are used.
Q: What is the cooking temperature range?
A: The SUN OVEN® will reach temperatures of 360 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking temperatures will vary depending on the brightness of the sun and how often the oven is refocused to follow the sun.
Q: Will food prepared in a SUN OVEN® taste the same as food prepared in my conventional oven?
A: The food tastes much better! SUN OVEN®cooking allows many of the natural flavors of food, which get baked out in conventional ovens, to remain. The slow, even rise in temperatures in a SUN OVEN® gives the complex carbohydrates time to break down into simple sugars allowing subtle natural flavors to emerge. Sun baked-foods stay moist (the natural internal juices do not bake out) resulting in a superior, moist taste and much less shrinkage.
Q: How long does it take?
A: Cooking times are close to the same as those in a conventional oven. Because the sun sometimes goes behind clouds, cooking times can vary. At times it may take a little longer. The factors that affect the cooking time are: the quality of the sunlight at the time you are cooking, the types and quantities of the food being cooked, and how often the oven is refocused. A good rule of thumb is to add 10 to 15 minutes of cooking time for each time the oven door is opened.
The amazing thing about using a SUN OVEN® is that it is almost impossible to burn food; and sun-cooked food does not dry out. This enables food to be cooked for a longer time at a lower temperature or in less time at a higher temperature, without affecting the quality of the food.
There are two ways to cook in a SUN OVEN®. If you refocus the oven to follow the sun every 25 to 30 minutes, cooking times and methods will be very similar to cooking with a conventional stove or oven. Or a SUN OVEN® can be used for slow cooking, much like a crock-pot. You can prepare your dinner, put it in the SUN OVEN® and point the oven toward where the sun will be approximately halfway through the time you will be gone. Leave, and come home to a tasty, slow-cooked dinner. If you run late, there is no need to worry; the SUN OVEN® will keep your food warm, moist, and fresh for hours.
Q: Does a SUN OVEN® require special pots and pans?
A: No, but dark, thin-walled pots with lids work best. Dark pots change the light from the sun into heat energy. Shiny aluminum pots and pans cause light to be reflected out thereby reducing the oven's temperature. Glass casserole dishes with lids also work well.
With the exception of bakery goods, everything cooked in a SUN OVEN®should be cooked in a pot with a lid. Lids hold steam in the pot. If a lid is not used, the steam will fog the inside of the glass and reduce the temperature. For baking cakes, breads, cookies and pies, dark cookie sheets and baking tins work best.
Q: Can more than one thing be cooked at the same time?
A: Yes, the SUN OVEN® has been designed to accommodate baking two loaves of bread at a time. Several flat pans can be cross stacked to enable several layers when making granola or cookies. Two small stackable pots can be used on the leveling tray. The leveling tray can be removed to increase the usable area inside the SUN OVEN® and allow larger stackable pots or pans to be used. (It is important to note that if the leveling tray is removed, pots and pans should be placed on a trivet, not on the floor of the oven. To cook evenly, there must be air flow all the way around the pot. A trivet will allow enough air to pass under the pot to ensure an even heat.)
Q: Does food need to be stirred?
A: No, stirring to prevent scorching is not required when cooking in a SUN OVEN® due to the fact that there are no hot spots. The temperature of the food and the pot remain the same and rise evenly. It is almost impossible to burn food in a SUN OVEN®.
Q: Will food brown when cooked in a SUN OVEN®?
A: In full sun, bread baked in a SUN OVEN® will brown. To insure a brown crust every time bread is baked, a light mist of water can be sprayed on the dough just before it is placed in SUN OVEN®. A dark lustrous finish on breads can be achieved by using an egg-or milk-wash on the dough before baking.
When poultry is baked in a SUN OVEN® in a covered pot it does not brown. A golden brown surface can be attained on meats and poultry by sprinkling a small amount of sugar over them. Paprika is also useful for creating an appetizing appearance.
Q: How difficult is it to focus a SUN OVEN®?
A: Focusing a SUN OVEN® is very easy. All that is required is to watch the shadows created by the oven. When the shadows are even on all sides, the cooker is directly focused. The built-in leveling leg on the back of the oven allows for easy tracking.
Q: How often must a SUN OVEN® be refocused?
A: The need to refocus depends a great deal on what you are cooking, the time of day, and the temperature you wish to maintain. A good rule of thumb is to plan to readjust every 30 minutes to maintain maximum heat. At noon the sun is high in the sky and moves quickly past the maximum focus point, creating the need to refocus more often. Later in the day you will not need to refocus as often. The SUN OVEN® is equipped with a built in Levelator, which keeps food level and avoids spills while being refocused.
Many meals can be cooked without refocusing. SUN OVEN® users often will put their ovens outside, focused for the mid-day sun, with their dinner in it when they leave for work in the morning. As the sun moves overhead, the temperature in the SUN OVEN® chamber slowly rises to a cooking level. As the sun passes, the food is kept warm and when they return from work they have a warm, sun-cooked dinner. (Keep in mind food will not burn in a SUN OVEN® and that the chamber is extremely well insulated, allowing food to stay warm for hours.)
Q: Will I need to be concerned about getting burned when using a SUN OVEN®?
A: The only parts that get hot are the oven chamber, the cooking pan and the glass door. Proper care must be taken to use hot pads when opening the door and removing food. The entire exterior of the oven, including the reflectors, does not get hot and remains safe to touch.
How long will a SUN OVEN® last?
The estimated life of a SUN OVEN® is 15 + years. With proper care it should last a lifetime.
Q: Do I need special recipes to cook in a SUN OVEN®?
A: The SUN OVEN® reaches temperatures comparable to that of conventional ovens; therefore no special recipes are required.
Q: What are the dimensions of the SUN OVEN®?
A: The size of the SUN OVEN® is 19'' x 19'' with an average depth of 11''. The total weight is only 21 pounds. The back of the outside outer box is 14" high and the front of the outer box is 9" high. The back of the oven chamber is 11" high and the front is 7" high, with an average depth of 9". The door opening for the oven chamber is 14" in diameter. When opened the reflectors are 32" in diameter.
Q: What materials are used in the construction of a SUN OVEN®?
A: The following materials used to make a SUN OVEN®:
Reflectors Anodized aluminum (which will never oxidize, rust or corrode)
Outer shell ABS plastic
Bezel Poplar wood (kiln dried)
Inner shell Anodized aluminum
Door Tempered glass
Between the aluminum inner shell and the plastic outer shell there is a thick batt of food grade fiberglass insulation.
Q: Can I use a SUN OVEN® in the winter?
A: Yes, a SUN OVEN® can be used on a clear winter day. The most important factor in using a SUN OVEN® is the brightness of the sun, not the outside air temperature. Often, a 40-degree, clear, low-humidity day will allow food to cook faster than a 100-degree day with high humidity. The SUN OVEN® has been used very successfully at the base camp of a Mt. Everest expedition where the temperatures are often well below zero. There are, however, more cooking hours available in the summer than in the winter. In the summer, it is not unusual to cook from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, whereas during the early winter, effective cooking is limited to 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Q: Can aSUN OVEN®be used to dry or dehydrate foods?
A: Yes, a SUN OVEN®makes an excellent solar dryer. When the latch (which holds the door shut for cooking) is turned inward and the glass door is set on top of the latch, moist air can escape and the temperature inside the oven will remain low enough to keep the items being dried from starting to cook.
Q: Are SUN OVEN® used in countries outside of the United States?
A: Yes, SUN OVENS International, Inc. is involved in solar cooking projects in deforested countries on 5 continents. We have been innovative in developing methods of placement, training, and marketing to assist in the positioning of over 34,000 family sized GLOBAL SUN OVENS® in the U.S. and more than 100 developing countries, and 250 large VILLAGER SUN OVENS®in deforested developing countries. We are striving to develop and implement comprehensive solar cooking programs which will radically decrease the developing world's dependence on fuel wood and dung as the primary cooking fuels, while benefiting the environment, raising the standard of living, and improving the health of the poor worldwide. Domestic SUN OVEN®saleshelp finance these endeavors.
Q: How is The Global Sun Oven used as a crock pot?
A: Global Sun Oven users often put their ovens outside, focused for the mid-day sun, with their dinner in it when they leave for work in the morning. As the sun moves overhead, the temperature in the chamber slowly rises to a cooking level. As the sun passes, the food is kept warm and when they return from work they have a warm, sun-cooked dinner. [Keep in mind food will not burn in The Global Sun Oven, and that the chamber is extremely well insulted, allowing food to stay warm for hours - even after the sun is low in the sky].
Q: Is The Global Sun Oven safe to operate?
A: Yes - relatively speaking. The only parts that get hot are the oven chamber, the cooking pan, and the glass door. Only average care used with any cooking process must be taken - use hot pads when opening the door and removing food, etc. The entire exterior of the oven, including the reflectors, remains safe to touch.
Q: How does The Global Sun Oven actually work?
A: The black surfaces on the inside of the oven captures the sun's energy focused by the reflector panels and transforms the suns rays into a wave length that cannot escape from the oven chamber.
When a The Global Sun Oven is focused directly into the sun, the interior of the oven is heated by the sun's energy. Direct and reflected sunlight enters the oven chamber through the glass door.
It then turns to heat energy when it is absorbed by the black inner-shell and levelator. This heat input causes the temperature inside the oven to rise until the heat loss of the oven is equal to the solar heat gain. The light energy absorbed by dark pots and the oven's dark interior is converted into longer wavelength heat energy. Most of this longer wavelength radiant energy can not pass back out through the glass, ensuring more efficient cooking.
Q: How does The Global Sun Oven help build the Green Movement?
A: The Global Sun Oven is used worldwide. Currently they are being used in over 125 countries around the world. In many of these countries, they are purchased unassembled, and the final assembly is completed on location. This reduces the overall cost of the ovens and shipping while creating jobs locally.
The demands of massive population growth, and inefficient conversion of wood to charcoal, have outstripped the developing world forests ability to regenerate.
The ecological effect of gathering and burning wood fuel is very burdensome and has a far-reaching negative global impact. These global trends will lead to environmental destabilization - leading to deforestation, - leading to global warming.
Science strongly supports the fact that deforestation for agricultural and fuel use is changing weather patterns, causing soil erosion, and depleting plant and animal life.
The Global Sun Oven offers a powerful solution to the effects of deforestation, and can have an enormous positive impact on the everyday life of millions of people in developing countries by improving their nutrition, health, and quality of life.
Product Manufacturer: Sun Ovens International
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