The Pros and Cons of Solar Oven Cooking

It’s (almost) officially summertime. This means longer days, grilling out and perhaps making the eco-friendly move to invest in a solar oven.

If you’ve been considering it for a while now, but you’re not sure if it’s the best move, the “long story short” version is “Yes, it probably is.” Not only is it better for the environment, but being that a solar oven uses the sun as its primary energy source, this also means that it is not electric or fuel-reliant. In other words, after purchasing the oven, it costs absolutely nothing to run it.

OK, but nothing can be quite that perfect, right? There must be some cons along the way. It all depends on how you look at it. But, to be fair, here are a list a couple of pros and cons that you should consider before making your first big solar oven purchase.

Pro: It’s comparable in price. One of the main things that we look for in making any purchase is how much it’s going to cost. Well, let’s take a Camp Chef Camp Oven, for instance. The price for one of those will run you anywhere between $180-230. The price of Sport Solar Oven, on the other hand, is about $135 (plus around another $40 to ship). Yes, on the front end, it’s about even, but remember that with a solar oven, you’re basically just paying a one-time fee.

Con: You have to make sure that you get a good one. Although it’s a solar oven and you’re looking to get a good deal, you don’t want to skimp on making sure that it’s a quality product because you are going to actually eat the food that is placed with the oven. This is especially crucial when it comes to meat that you may place within your solar oven because undercooked meat can lead to bacterial infections and parasites.

Pro: You can actually make one on your own. This reason alone will probably get a lot of people hooked onto considering one. Yes, if you look on the internet, there are lots of sites (SolarCooking.org, for example) that will provide you with step-by-step tips on how to build a solar oven from scratch. It’s not super-expensive to get the supplies and it’s a great way to spend quality time with your kids as they help you make it.

Con: You will need to gauge your time better. Because solar ovens get their power from the sun, this means that it can be challenging, to say the least, to monitor the temperature and cooking times of the food that you put in it. Plus, you will probably have to go through a bit of “trial and error” before you create the perfect recipes for consumption. Another thing to think about is the fact that with an electrical stove, it’s usually pretty easy to make the necessary appliance repairs; however, with a solar oven, if it’s not working properly, the problem may not be as obvious.

If after reading all of this, you’re still on the fence about making a solar oven purchase, look at it this way: You can do the environment more good than harm by getting one. Just make sure to be patient, to be alert and to be willing to make a few tries at salmon or vegetable shish kebabs. Hey, it takes a minute even to get food in a traditional oven right, so don’t be in a rush. Summer is the perfect time to take your time…until you get it right!