Cooking S’mores With the Power of the Sun Using a Solar Oven

When the sun is shining, there are few things more satisfying than cooking with it. Whether you’re at home or in a remote location, solar ovens can be an invaluable tool for making delicious meals without polluting the environment. Cooking with a solar oven is easy and efficient for those who love to cook but want to do so responsibly!

Cooking S'mores With the Power of the Sun Using a Solar Oven

Cooking With The Power of the Sun

Many people understand the concept of passive solar for heating a home. Fewer realize it can be used to cook food and sterilize water.

Why is that so handy?

Solar ovens are primarily a tool for cooking and sterilizing water during emergencies, but they can also be used to supplement your stovetop. For example, if you’re making rice on the stovetop it takes about eight cups of water per cup of uncooked long-grain rice. That’s 16 pints or 128 fluid ounces! But in a solar oven, you only need a little bit of water to come up with the desired effect.

They are fantastic for camping too! You can set out your treat earlier in the day, let the sun do its magic, and enjoy a treat after that hike or kayaking adventure.

What is a solar oven?

A solar oven is pretty much what it sounds like. It is used to cook food and sterilize water. Most people do not even know they exist, but they are an effective way to cook from both an economic and efficient point of view.

How does a solar oven work?

The basic idea with solar cooking is to create a box-like structure that the sun heats up dramatically. If you have sat in a car in rush hour during the summer, you know the sun can generate a lot of heat. Instead of cooking you in a car, a solar oven focuses on food.

Solar oven materials

Solar ovens are made from a variety of materials including cardboard, wood and metal. The best solar oven is one that collects the most heat from the sun’s rays. It should have reflective surfaces on top and bottom to help it concentrate as much light energy into your food as possible!

A basic design for a DIY solar cooker would be a cardboard box open at the top and closed on three sides. The bottom of the oven should be black to ensure it heats up while reflecting as much light into the food as possible.

How to cook with a solar over

So, how do we cook with it? The box structure is created with dark paneling and then covered with a clear glass or plastic top after pots and food or water has been inserted. The structure is sealed. Much like a car, the sunlight beats through the clear top and heats the interior of the box. As the heat rises, it cooks the items inside. Yes, it produces more than enough heat to do the job. It really is as simple as that.

To be technical, the sun’s energy is captured by the black absorber panels and transferred via convection currents into your pot or container of food. The cooker will reach temperatures between 140°F and 350°F depending on how much sunlight is available.

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What do you use to cook in a solar oven

The best way to use a solar oven is by cooking in glass containers or cookware with tight-fitting lids, as this will retain the heat better than metal vessels. You can also put your pot directly on top of black absorber panels for faster results.

You should avoid using aluminum foil because it reflects light

Different kinds of solar ovens

There are three general types of solar ovens.

  1. A solar box works as described previously.
  2. A panel oven uses reflective surfaces to focus the sun on a pot to create heat and cook the material inside.
  3. A parabolic version is designed to focus the sunlight into the bottom of a concave area upon which sits pots.

There are variations of these three forms, but all solar cooking designs are derived from these basic forms. Today, we are going to make the first version: a solar box.

While cooking with the sun is fun and efficient, most people will never apply it in their homes because of obvious design issues. At a cabin or when camping, however, it is a perfect solution.

That all being said – we are sharing a fun DIY you can try to whip up your favorite camping treat!

How to make a solar oven

Here are a few simple things you will need to whip up your solar over to make the s’mores

Cooking S'mores With the Power of the Sun Using a Solar Oven
  • 1 box with an attached flip top lid (pizza box, doughnut box, shoebox, gift box, etc.)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic page protector or plastic wrap
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or straight edge
  • Pencil
  • Bamboo skewer

Of course you will need ingredients for the S’mores:

Pretty standard fare – the normal three things, unless you want to switch it up a bit with Reese Peanut Butter Cups, etc.

  • Chocolate candy bars
  • Graham crackers, broken into squares
  • Marshmallows

Mark the top of the box for the approximate dimensions of the window, leaving enough space along the edges to attach the page protector or plastic wrap. It doesn’t need to be an exact measurement.

Cut the lid on three sides to create a flap in the lid. Fold the cut flap on the lid back.

Cooking S'mores With the Power of the Sun Using a Solar Oven

Line the inside bottom of the box with aluminum foil. Also, attach aluminum foil to the underside of the cut flap on the lid to reflect sunlight into the box.

Cooking S'mores With the Power of the Sun Using a Solar Oven

Attach the page protector or plastic wrap to the opening of the lid.

Cooking S'mores With the Power of the Sun Using a Solar Oven

Poke a hole through the lid of the box to lean against the cut flap to hold the flap up.

Cooking S'mores With the Power of the Sun Using a Solar Oven

Place the graham crackers inside the box with a piece of chocolate bar and a marshmallow on top. Close the box and position the box to face the sun with the flap up. The chocolate will melt quickly. The marshmallow will soften but it will take longer.

Cooking S'mores With the Power of the Sun Using a Solar Oven

When the marshmallow is soft enough, press another graham cracker square against the top of the s’more. Enjoy!

Cooking S'mores With the Power of the Sun Using a Solar Oven

Solar Oven Recipes

If this quick experiment gets you excited to learn more about solar oven cooking, there are a number of recipes and ideas you can find online. Pinterest is always a great place to look

Solar cooking is fun, efficient, environmentally-friendly, and lets you be in charge of your meal without relying on power or fuel sources.

There’s no reason not to try it out!

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The Best Must-Have Camp Cooking Gear: Utensils and Kitchen Aids

Most experienced campers know that mealtime is a lot easier when it is pre-planned and organized. This tip includes having the right cooking utensils and kitchen aids.

The Best Must-Have Camp Cooking Gear: Utensils and Kitchen Aids article cover image

Naturally, the best tools will vary with each camper’s cooking style. However, here are some items that most campers will agree are must-have camp cooking gear and kitchen tools that will make cooking while camping the best experience.

Must-Have Camp Cooking Gear: Utensils and Kitchen Aids

This isn’t about price. It’s about those items that are bigger than a bread box, such as ice chests and storage containers, essential to an enjoyable camping experience.

Big Kitchen Items for Camping

Novice campers will likely learn quickly because being well-organized means not ending up at the campgrounds without a necessary cooking utensil. Using some type of storage system allows campers to keep camping gear organized when not in use, but it also comes in handy when packing the car.

Plus, by keeping like items together with one section for things such as paper towels, napkins, heavy-duty foil and trash bags, another part for cookware and utensils, and so on, it means that a quick inventory of sections tells campers what kitchen items need to be replaced.

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Other large kitchen items that campers will likely find essential to their trip include coolers (check out the Coleman Party Stacker Cooler), a camp stove, and fuel (the Texsport Dual 2 Burner Propane Stove with Matchless Push Button Piezo Ignition Starter is lightweight and starts with a push of a button), charcoal and fire grate for cooking over the fire pit. Let’s not forget an assortment of pots and pans.

New campers may want to borrow cooking gear from friends before investing in many new cooking items. However, for those ready to take the plunge, don’t be without a cast-iron Dutch oven. This tripod wonder comes in several sizes and makes all the difference when cooking over an open fire.

And for campers who are really into the whole camp kitchen scene, for $100 to $200 Cabela’s Standard Camp Kitchen just might get their juices flowing.

Small Kitchen Items for Camping

Now that the large items are out of the way, cooking while camping is all about the small stuff; those things that most campers overlook.

From a strict preparation point of view, there is a variety of kitchenware that could come in handy, depending on the cook’s skill and technique. However, here are a dozen of the most critical pieces campers should have in their cooking arsenal:

  •   Measuring cups/spoons*
  •   Coffee pot/thermos
  •   Water container
  •   Cutting board*
  •   Colander*
  •   Tongs*
  •   Knives*
  •   Spatula*
  •   Cooking fork & spoon*
  •   Skewers*
  •   Peeler*
  •   Cooking mitts/potholders*

*Our budget-friendly tip? Hit your local dollar store for these items. Also, campers will want a set of dishes and eating utensils to enjoy their culinary accomplishments. Plus, don’t forget a good can opener (a personal favorite is the Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety Lid Lifter).

And there it is. Camping is all about being prepared. Whether that means the larger storage items or the smaller prep items, creating a camp kitchen that includes having the right camping cooking utensils and kitchen items is essential to creating a positive camping experience.

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The 5 Best Single Camping Stoves on Amazon

Camping can be a lot of fun, but when you plan to be out more than a few days? Hot food is good. That is why it is handy to have a great single camping stove for all of your warm meal needs.

The 5 Best Single Camping Stoves on Amazon article image

We scoured Amazon to find the best tools for the job so you could shop from your seat instead of fighting the crowds

Best Single Camping Stove List

The Coleman Portable Butane Stove is a stove built in an ultra-portable design that takes your camping adventure from “ready” to “go.” It is effortless to set up. 

Coleman Portable Butane Stove With Carrying Case

By directly attaching the butane cylinder, you can get cooking with just the turn of the knob as it features an automatic ignition. No lighters, no matchsticks needed, just turn.

With the Coleman Portable Butane Stove, you can cook well over 75 hours at 7,650 BTUs. 

It has a stable base, which ensures that whatever you are cooking does not fall off and also comes with wind baffles that protect your flames from going off. 

You can get The Coleman Portable Butane Stove here.

The 5 Best Single Camping Stoves on Amazon coleman single burner

Solo Stove Titan Pot 1800 Combo Kit

The Solo Stove Titan Pot 1800 Combo Kit is a uniquely designed stove that ensures that you get hotter fire with less fuel. Brilliantly designed with secondary combustion, this lightweight stove is highly recommended by survivalists, one of which is Discovery Channel’s, Matt Graham. 

The Solo Stove Titan Pot is designed to be extremely efficient as it permits unique airflow and features a double wall. 

Getting ready for your next camping trip and cannot make up your mind, try out the Solo Stove Titan Pot 1800 Combo Kit. You can get this stove here

Coleman Gas Camping Stove

This classic propane gas camping stove has everything that a camper is looking for in a camping stove. The Coleman Gas Camping Stove comes with two burners that provide a combined power of 20,000 BTUs.

Built to serve well in the harshest conditions, the Coleman Gas Camping Stove comes with a pressure regulator that will ensure that you get a consistent burn every time.

It features an adjustable wind-blocking channel and can run for up to 1 hour on high. 

The Coleman Gas Camping Stove delivers on performance, portability, and durability, which makes it a great camping stove choice for campers. You can try it out by purchasing it from here.

Coleman Portable Bottletop Camp Stove

If you are looking for a camping stove that is compact but does not compromise on performance, then you will not be going wrong with the Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove. 

This camping stove, which is extremely easy to pack and take on the go, features an 8-inch pan right above a burner that can serve up to 10,000 BTUs depending on how you adjust it. 

Built with PerfectFlow technology, the Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove provides you with steady heat while using the least fuel possible. 

It also comes with wind baffles that protect your flames from the wind while cooking your meal. 

The Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove is what you need if you want something with little prep time but excellent quality. You can get it here.

The 5 Best Single Camping Stoves on Amazon coleman

Camp Chef Explorer Double Burner Stove

Looking to get the best camping experience with great tasting food, then you should strongly consider the Camp Chef Explorer Double Burner Stove. 

This stove comes with a three-sided wind baffle that ensures that you get a steady flame throughout your cooking. Using the Camp Chef Explorer Double Burner with a twenty-pound tank, you can get 15 hours of cooking. 

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The stove is built durable and features removable legs, which makes it easy to store and setup. It comes with two burners that provide 30,000 BTU each, which is more than enough to cook whatever you want.

 Looking to have a camping feast, then try out the Camp Chef Explorer Double Burner Stove. It is available here

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