Thursday, March 21

Mainstream EZ-3 Solar Oven

As you know, I've been cooking meals with the Global Sun Oven® for the better part of the past seven years and have been able to do anything in it that I do in my conventional oven. And, for those of you who prefer to have a larger more stationary oven that can stay outside, I feel I've done this with the SolarChief®. What's most important to me, though, is that you actually give solar cooking a try. The good news is that it's as easy as pie to have your own solar oven, today, in under an hour.

If you search online, you will find any number of solar ovens designed by solar cooking enthusiasts and, sooner or later, you'll find one you want to try for yourself. I said I would be showing a variety of solar ovens that I will be using at this year's Midtown Market on the Commons at North Hills Mall, and this is one of my favorites because it does the job.

Today's oven is one designed by Sharon Cousins and is called the EZ-3 Solar Oven. It's very easy to make and only requires a box with dimensions of at least 15"x15"x15", which is what I used for last year's exhibit. This year's larger decorated model was made from a Puppy Pad delivery box 15.5"x15.5"x19" and can hold this 2-quart teapot quite comfortably. The larger size creates higher heat. The only difference is that I clipped off the very top of the back triangle because I really haven't found that it's needed and it keeps the glazing cover from crowding the pots.

Because I'm missing a smart gene, somewhere, it took me until the last two months of market days to realize I could actually be using that oven, in addition to the GSO to, at least, keep me in hot coffee/tea/soup/? while sitting in the cold. Duh!

The EZ-3 you see on the far left was made from a smaller box and could hold a mug or quart-sized canning jar and I wanted to try the larger one so that there would be hot water available throughout the morning.

Found this wonderful GREEN teapot at the Thrift Shop for only $3 and decided to use that size for my next EZ-3. As soon as my puppy pad delivery arrived, I set to work. By placing the box on its side and cutting from corner to corner, I was able to get the height I wanted. What that meant was I would have to glue the inside flaps, which created a little bump but nothing to create a problem. Then I glued heavy-duty tinfoil across the bottom, the sides, and the extra front reflective piece. It looked like a cardboard and tinfoil oven – a perfectly serviceable oven!

But, I wanted to make it prettier. So, I found some extra cotton material and glued it to the outside. With the larger dimensions, the opening was way too big for the opened extra-large oven bag, so I decided to use some sewing plastic for the glazing. It works beautifully! The table was made for me by a very dear friend and the top rotates easily for following the sun. I adore it! By the way,  I'm not concerned about any toxic emanations because I'm using covered pots and it's pretty much gone by the third or fourth cooking session.

The temperature was 46°F and the winds at 9mph. Within 45 minutes, I had water hot enough to steep a teabag. I was hoping you could see the steam coming up from the cup but there was just too much shine all around. The handle was VERY hot and I'll remember to use a pot holder, next time! My plan is to keep water going all morning, so this was an outstanding exercise. That funny little thing you see over the spout is a 'cork' I crocheted with 100% cotton to keep steam and moisture from covering the inside of the plastic cover.

I have nothing against getting my from any of the surrounding restaurants, but that can eat into your profits faster than a teenager discovering you have an extra $20 bill! This is a powerful little portable oven and I hope you'll give it a try. If you don't have large boxes, why not make individual smaller ones and let everyone in on the fun?


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