Cooking with the sun

A couple of years ago I was the president of the “Parents Association” at my daughter’s school.  This was a two year position, (that actually slid to two and half), and entailed a lot of work, mainly raising money for the school.  However, the “Centro de Padres” was lucky enough to win a grant which we used to learn how to build and use solar and adobe ovens.

With 15 other mothers we spent a year building solar and mud ovens, learning to cook with them, participating in workshops and demonstrations, and getting to know each other better.  It was a great experience, if not a bit stressful because it was a government grant with my name on it.  These are a few of the pictures I took to document the process.


Mothers learning how to make solar ovens with the teachers and students watching.


Students working with us. It was the first time many of them had used power tools, they had a great time.


The girls also had a go with the tools.


Getting dirty building the adobe wood burning oven. It uses wood more efficiently than an open fire.


Empanadas cooking in the oven.


All of us at the end of the project, me in the middle.

We all received a solar oven that we could continue to use in our own homes.  When you drive through the “pueblo” you can see some of them in use during the summer.

I have used mine for cooking, but also use it for dying wool, especially in the winter when the temperatures are lower.  I put hand spun yarn in jars, (or a big pot), with different leaves, flowers or onion skins.  The water does not boil and I can leave the wool “stewing” without worrying about over cooking.  It brings the water up to temperature very slowly, and then in the evening I leave it to cool slowly through the night.

We are now into autumn here and so last week before the temperatures dropped I cooked a black banana bread.  The recipe is from the internet, but it is just like one my mom used to cook when I was little.


Banana bread cooking in my oven.

It cooks at a low temperature for two and a half hours, but because the sun wasn’t strong it took longer and didn’t go as dark as it should have.  It was very sticky, (instead of moist), but still yummy.


Banana bread cooked in the solar oven.

17 thoughts on “Cooking with the sun

  1. […] have two solar ovens which I made at my daughters school, (more information here,  In the summer I use them for cooking, but when the sun isn’t very strong they are perfect […]

  2. Sue Newstetter says:

    I love the solar oven project. Could you please tell me where I could find the plans for the ovens and stands? I am also a knitter and love the wool dying you are doing with your solar oven. I hope you see this post!

  3. Shirley Ross says:

    I want the instructions to build the solar oven on wheels. Is there any way I can buy them, please?

  4. Cindy says:

    What kind of glass was used? Thanks for posting your projects!

  5. Angela says:

    I enjoyed this article. What a wonderful experience you’ve had. Can you please provide the instructions, supplies and cut list to build the solar oven?

    • Hi Angela I am glad you enjoyed the post. Im sorry I don’t have any instructions for this oven. Because it was made as a school project, most of the materials came precut. There used to be some instructions on the internet, (I believe I had a link in one of my posts or comments) but it was 10 years ago, and I’m not sure if they are still available. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

  6. Tom George says:

    Wow! Solar Oven on wheels.

    The manual and video is sure useful.
    I guess in summer time it should take less time to cook.

  7. Carolyn H says:

    Nice, but how about sharing the directions for making one?


    • This project was over 10 years ago and in the comments above I posted a link to the organization that taught us to build the ovens.

      Unfortunately the man who taught us died two years ago and the links may no longer work.

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