Solar cooking is not dependent on the ambient temperature, only the quality of the sunlight. On the day this picture was taken it was 28 degrees with snow on the ground. My Sun Oven still got up to 370 and I thoroughly cooked a stew.
Almost anyone can be a solar cook
Adapted from The Sunny Side of Cooking: Solar cooking and other ecologically friendly cooking methods for the 21st century:
You can use a solar cooker if:
- You live between 60° north and south of the equator, from mid-Canada and Russia south to the entire continents of South America, Africa and Australia.
- Between 60° and 40° latitude, it is possible to solar cook during spring, summer and fall.
- South of 40° (Salt Lake City, UT; Newark, NJ) year-round solar cooking is possible. In North America, the Southwest has the highest intensity of solar radiation. However, even cloudy places like the Pacific Northwest and New England are suitable for solar cooking part of the year.
- You have a sunny spot unobstructed by shade for at least 3 hours per day.
Solar cooking is even possible if:
- You live in an apartment or townhome (I live in a townhome)
- You are away at work all day.
- Traveling or backpacking!
During my first few years of solar cooking, I lived in a south-facing second floor apartment. I would carry my cardboard cooker, a used CooKit™, downstairs and set it up below my bedroom window, protected from stray dogs by an almost impenetrable hedge of junipers. I was able to look out my bedroom window to keep an eye on the cooker.
A solar cooker collects sunlight and transforms it into heat. Generally speaking, the bigger the cooker, the higher the temperature. Food begins to cook at only 160°F/71°C. The boiling point at sea level is only 212°F/100°C, and lower at higher altitudes (199ºF/93°C in Flagstaff, AZ). Even simple solar cookers easily reach these temperatures.