The Survival Mom » Solar Energy http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Fri, 29 Aug 2014 06:00:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The new Global Sun Oven review http://thesurvivalmom.com/the-new-global-sun-oven-review-and-giveaway/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-new-global-sun-oven-review-and-giveaway http://thesurvivalmom.com/the-new-global-sun-oven-review-and-giveaway/#comments Sun, 23 Jun 2013 23:48:21 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12009 When asked which solar cooker oven I recommend, I always mention the Global Sun Oven. It was the very first solar oven I owned and it shows plenty of wear and tear. It’s more expensive than other versions, but its Read More

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new sun oven

When asked which solar cooker oven I recommend, I always mention the Global Sun Oven. It was the very first solar oven I owned and it shows plenty of wear and tear. It’s more expensive than other versions, but its designers came up with creative solutions to common issues that made solar cooking more challenging than it needed to be.

I talk about the benefits of solar cooking and the importance of having a back-up method for cooking and heating water in this episode of The Survival Mom Radio Show.

Now, this oven has been re-designed with a few more bells and whistles and the interior can now easily handle a 9×13 pan, which is the most popular size baking dish, at least in my house! The All-American Sun Oven is available only in the U.S., and it makes cooking by the power of the sun easier than ever.

First, the oven is 20% bigger. It can accommodate that rectangular baker you love and bake 2 loaves of bread, side by side. This improvement is a very welcome one.

The oven’s glass door is thicker and has a better sealing gasket. Together, these improvements will provide hotter cooking temperatures and, more importantly, shorter cooking times. The All-American Sun Oven’s page says that this new version of their oven will cook a 2 1/2 pound roast in 1 hour, 20 minutes and a chocolate cake in 35 minutes. (Be sure you pre-heat the oven by setting it out in the sun at least 15-20 minutes before you place your baking dish inside.)

Once I learned how to align the Sun Oven with the sun in order to maximize the cooking power of the sun, it was easy, but the All-American makes it even easier with an E-Z Sun Tracker. With a glance you can determine if your oven is situated properly. This will help your food cook more quickly.

If you’ve been looking at solar ovens and wondering which to buy, the All-American Sun Oven is a winner.

I’m excited that for a limited time, you can buy the All-American and save up to $70 on a package that includes:

  • One  All American SUN OVEN®
  • New SUN OVEN® eCookbook & Emergency Preparedness CD featuring 600 recipes, hundreds of pictures, video clips and much more which has been developed by Cook’n, the award winning and #1 best-selling recipe organizer.
  • Multi-Level Dehydrating & Baking Rack Set (set of 3 racks w/1 roll parchment paper)
  • Two Easy Stack Pots w/interchangeable enamel and a glass lids
  • Multi-Fuel Water Pasteurizing Indicator (WAPI)
  • Two Loaf Pans
  • Free shipping within Contiguous U.S.

Check out the new All-American Sun Oven!

 

 

 

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DIY Solar Cookers http://thesurvivalmom.com/a-b/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-b http://thesurvivalmom.com/a-b/#comments Sat, 22 Jun 2013 10:54:28 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=11950 Guest post by Rambo Moe This is a guide to different kinds of solar cookers. I’ve worked with these fun little devices myself, on models used by NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) to help feed the poor in Africa. Solar cookers are Read More

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Guest post by Rambo Moe

This is a guide to different kinds of solar cookers. I’ve worked with these fun little devices myself, on models used by NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) to help feed the poor in Africa.

Solar cookers are cheap to make and need only sunlight to cook food or purify water. With all the direct sunlight Africa receives, this is a good fit. They also reduce deforestation, and the hazards that come from having wood stoves in densely populated areas.

But solar cookers aren’t just for the poor. They are a fun DIY project that can increase your energy independence, giving you another option for cooking food if you ever lose power. They’re helpful if you spend a lot of time in the wilderness as well.
Let’s take a look at how they work, and the different kinds of solar cookers you can make.

The 4 Principles Solar Cookers Use to Cook Food

There are 4 principles incorporated by solar cookers to reach temperatures high enough to cook food. They are:

  1. The Greenhouse Effect: Like a greenhouse, a solar cooker lets thermal energy (sunlight) into the device, and does a good job at keeping it there.
  2. Concentration of Sunlight: Like a magnifying glass, solar cookers collect sunlight and direct it onto a small cooking area.
  3. Heat absorption: The cooking area is often made a dark color, so once the sunlight is directed there it absorbs it and heats up.
  4. Insulation: With all that heat focused onto the cooking spot, it is important to keep it there and not have it escape the device.

Using these 4 principals, solar cookers can reach temperatures that sometimes match regular ovens.
Now let’s look at some of the different designs we can make.

3 Kinds of Solar Cookers

Parabola Cookers

umbrella cookerThe most effective models, these use the parabola shape to direct different streams of sunlight and focus them onto a single cooking spot. They can very often reach temperatures similar to that of regular ovens.

They are often used for large scale cooking, and pop up all of over the place in China.

Because of the shape of parabola cookers, they are difficult to produce, and as such are the most expensive. They also require some skill to use.

A cool, cheaper alternative is to turn an old umbrella, with its parabola shape into a cooker. For a step-by-step guide to making one, go here.

Box Cookers

A second option is a box cooker. Insulated boxes with dark interiors and transparent tops, these devices incorporate all four principals to cook their food. They can often reach up to 150 degrees, not quite oven temperature territory but good enough to purify water and cook most food slowly. To learn how to make one of these, go here.

Panel Cookers

The cheapest models (you can often buy one for under $5), they use reflective panels to direct sunlight onto a single cooking point. Food is often cooked in a black pot, inside or a sealed plastic bag, to maximize temperatures.

These are the least effective cookers, but can still purify water, pasteurize milk and cook grains like rice. To learn how to make one of these, go here.

How to Cook With a Solar Cooker

Solar cookers take longer to cook than regular ovens. How long they take depends on many factors, such as:

• The quality of the model
• The type of food you are cooking
• How much direct sunlight you receive
• The time of year
• Your latitude

Set your solar cooker up by 10 am to directly face the equator (south in the Northern Hemisphere, north in the Southern Hemisphere). This will maximize the amount of direct sunlight your cooker receives. Leave it alone to work its magic, checking back every hour to see the progress.

I hope you have fun with these solar cooker designs. I know I did!

Good luck and stay prepared!

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10 Great Collapse-Day Recipes for the Solar Cooker: http://thesurvivalmom.com/10-great-collapse-day-recipes-for-the-solar-cooker/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=10-great-collapse-day-recipes-for-the-solar-cooker http://thesurvivalmom.com/10-great-collapse-day-recipes-for-the-solar-cooker/#comments Sun, 09 Jun 2013 10:00:43 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=11870 Guest post by Heidi, who had way too much fun coming up with these recipe titles! You’ll appreciate these someday when the grid is down and zombies are walking up your front sidewalk! 1.  I Don’t Want to Bean Hungry Read More

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Guest post by Heidi, who had way too much fun coming up with these recipe titles! You’ll appreciate these someday when the grid is down and zombies are walking up your front sidewalk!

image by RJL20

image by RJL20

1.  I Don’t Want to Bean Hungry Bean Bake

2.  Lentil Me See If We Have Something To Eat Casserole

3.  Quick!  Cook All the Freezer Meat Stew!

4.  The Police Have “Desserted” Us, Peach Cobbler

5.  Crab All the Food At the Grocery Store
**Skip the frying pan and put some oil in your dish and lay the Crab cakes in it.
Then put in Solar Cooker until hot and heated or spread in a dish and use as a dip.

6.  Did Grandma REALLY Eat Chicken Foot Soup?
**Recipe is in second paragraph

7.  Dark Disaster Dream Bars
**Cook in Solar Cooker until it looks done, moist but not too jiggly

8.  A Loaded .22 Baked Potato

9.  Squirrely Friends Should Stay At Someone Else’s House

10. TVP (The Vegetarian Penne)
**Substite the beef with TVP if desired.

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Caution! You have entered a No Judging Zone! http://thesurvivalmom.com/caution-you-have-entered-a-no-judging-zone/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=caution-you-have-entered-a-no-judging-zone http://thesurvivalmom.com/caution-you-have-entered-a-no-judging-zone/#comments Sun, 14 Apr 2013 17:52:46 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=11579 Some of the very first foods I bought for my food storage pantry weren’t exactly health foods. I loaded up my shelves with cans of ravioli, Vienna sausages, and boxes of Cheerios, from GMO crops, I’m sure. My kids tastes Read More

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thSome of the very first foods I bought for my food storage pantry weren’t exactly health foods. I loaded up my shelves with cans of ravioli, Vienna sausages, and boxes of Cheerios, from GMO crops, I’m sure.

My kids tastes have changed since then and we are eating fewer foods with gluten, more raw milk, and lots more produce, but when I first started with food storage, I bought what I could with a limited budget.

There’s a lot of judgmental people out there nowadays who loudly criticize moms like me who buy foods they deem to be “unclean”, for whatever reason. Maybe the foods contain GMO ingredients, maybe the honey isn’t local, maybe the meal contains high fructose corn syrup — it doesn’t matter to these militant moms. They’ll let you know, loud and clear, that you are a sub-standard mom and your children are in danger because you feed them fast food meals every now and then.

“What??,” they screech. “You aren’t growing your own organic foods and raising free-range chickens and then canning every last little tomato and carrot in purified water?”

“You fed that to your family for dinner last night? Ewwww! Do you know what that kind of food can do to a kid? No wonder your kids have _____”

Fill in the blank with anything from ADD to warts to allergies. Whatever the malady, you are to blame, in their eyes.

Well, I want you to know, just as loudly and just as clearly, that here on my blog and elsewhere, I have no intention of judging what you buy for your food storage or what you serve your family.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Plato

Yes, there are foods that are more wholesome and, yes, we should probably all be eating and storing them, and yes, every kid who wants a pony should have one!

Being a mom is a non-stop journey of learning new things, applying the good, ignoring the bad, and praying that, somehow, our kids turn out okay in the end.

But we all do the best we can, where we are, with what we have. One thing I’ve learned in just our first week of trying to eat as gluten-free as possible is that it can be pretty darn expensive! Right now, I can afford an occasional meal of $4.99/lb. GF pasta, but 4 years ago, I sure couldn’t have

Am I a better mom now that I’m trying to serve a lot more produce and “clean” foods than I was 4 years ago when my kids were chowing down on Vienna sausages? Do I love my kids more now than I did then?

Of course not!

I don’t want any mom, or dad, to feel like they can’t prepare their families for an  uncertain future just because they can’t afford more expensive organic, non-GMO, high-fructose-corn-syrup-free, gluten-free foods (is your head spinning yet?) or because they haven’t turned their backyard into an organic garden.

It’s downright depressing to try and measure up to someone else’s measuring stick when they aren’t walking in your shoes and dealing with your set of circumstances.

Always focus on doing what you can do, and let the militant mommies out there find someone else to pick on.

That’s all I have to say.

 

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10 Day Collapse-Day Recipes for the Solar Cooker http://thesurvivalmom.com/10-day-collapse-day-recipes-for-the-solar-cooker/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=10-day-collapse-day-recipes-for-the-solar-cooker http://thesurvivalmom.com/10-day-collapse-day-recipes-for-the-solar-cooker/#comments Thu, 08 Nov 2012 10:00:45 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10580 Guest post by Heidi. This list was a finalist in our list contest. The judges loved her creative recipe titles! One of your back-up cooking methods should be a solar cooker. You can make your own (plenty of directions online) Read More

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Guest post by Heidi. This list was a finalist in our list contest. The judges loved her creative recipe titles!

One of your back-up cooking methods should be a solar cooker. You can make your own (plenty of directions online) or take a look at the sturdy, but more expensive, Sun Oven.

1.  I Don’t Want to Bean Hungry Bean Bake

EBKauai

2.  Lentil Me See If We Have Something To Eat Casserole

3.  Quick!  Cook All the Freezer Meat Stew!

4.  The Police Have “Desserted” Us, Peach Cobbler

5.  Crab All the Food At the Grocery Store
**Skip the frying pan and put some oil in your dish and lay the Crab cakes in it. Then put in Solar Cooker until hot and heated or spread in a dish and use as a dip.

6.  Did Grandma REALLY Eat Chicken Foot Soup?
**Recipe is in second paragraph

7.  Dark Disaster Dream Bars
**Cook in Solar Cooker until it looks done, moist but not too jiggly.

8.  A Loaded 22 Baked Potato

9.  Squirrely Friends Should Stay At Someone Else’s House

10. TVP (The Vegetarian Penne)
**Substite the beef with TVP if desired.

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INSTANT SURVIVAL TIP: Light up the whole outdoors http://thesurvivalmom.com/instant-survival-tip-light-up-the-whole-outdoors/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=instant-survival-tip-light-up-the-whole-outdoors http://thesurvivalmom.com/instant-survival-tip-light-up-the-whole-outdoors/#comments Mon, 08 Oct 2012 10:00:57 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10367 Tonight we celebrated my sister’s birthday on a patio decorated with strings of lights. I commented to my husband, “I want strings of outdoor lights powered by solar.” So, I tracked down string lights that are solar powered. They’ll provide Read More

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image by Matthew Juzenas

Tonight we celebrated my sister’s birthday on a patio decorated with strings of lights. I commented to my husband, “I want strings of outdoor lights powered by solar.”

So, I tracked down string lights that are solar powered. They’ll provide outdoor lighting over a large area, such as a patio or a portion of a backyard. Sometimes you need larger spotlights or floodlights, but to illuminate a large area, these string lights will do the trick.

I’ve also seen string lights brought indoors and placed in large jars to serve as lanterns.

More and more, I’ve been adding to my stash of solar powered gadgets as well as small solar panels. In case of power outages, they’ll come in handy, and if we ever experience an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) or CME (coronal mass ejection), at least we’ll be able to have a few electronics, lights, and communication devices.

Always start with the simple, and for me, buying a couple of strands of solar string lights to be prepared for power outages is a great first step.

 

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INSTANT SURVIVAL TIP: In the Market for a Solar System? Buyer Beware! http://thesurvivalmom.com/instant-survival-tip-in-the-market-for-a-solar-system-buyer-beware/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=instant-survival-tip-in-the-market-for-a-solar-system-buyer-beware http://thesurvivalmom.com/instant-survival-tip-in-the-market-for-a-solar-system-buyer-beware/#comments Thu, 21 Oct 2010 04:32:52 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=5329 Many individuals and families are choosing to install a home solar system.  Some choose this as a way to ‘go green’, others want to have the option of grid-free power.  It’s tempting to jump on this bandwagon because what could Read More

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Many individuals and families are choosing to install a home solar system.  Some choose this as a way to ‘go green’, others want to have the option of grid-free power.  It’s tempting to jump on this bandwagon because what could be cleaner or cheaper than energy from the sun? All those rebates and other alluring offers from power companies and the government make it tempting to jump into solar head-first.

There’s a very good reason, however, to approach a solar system with caution.  What most consumers don’t realize is that most solar systems are tied to the electrical grid. When the grid goes down, your solar power disappears.  Typically, when a solar system is installed, one of the last steps is to connect the solar panels to the building’s electrical panel. Yes, you will get “free” solar power on days when there’s enough sun to generate that power, and when there’s not, electricity will flow into your home from the power company, but either way, your solar panels are hooked up to the same power grid as your electrical system.

Is there an option?  Yes.  Michael Cox of Survival Solar Systems says, “It’s possible to have a solar system wired separately from the grid through an inverter/battery bank, if you will.  They do not need to be tied to the grid to function.  The panels may be wired in separately from the grid power through an inverter or charge controller, storing the electricity in a battery bank and thus be autonomous.  It’s also possible to have a stand-alone system to certain outlets only through an inverter, then the power can go off at will, and you will still retain your solar electricity.”

He goes on to say, “Some set-ups even have two sets of electrical outlets next to each other, one side for grid power and the other side for solar.  In either case, no matter what the grid does will not affect you.”

So why don’t more people go for an off-the-grid system?  All those enticing incentives that make solar more affordable apply only to the grid-tied systems!  Solar energy can be a thing of beauty.  Just be sure to thoroughly research any system you’re considering if being off the grid is important to you.

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High-tech vs. Low-tech, it’s all good! http://thesurvivalmom.com/high-tech-vs-low-tech-its-all-good/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=high-tech-vs-low-tech-its-all-good http://thesurvivalmom.com/high-tech-vs-low-tech-its-all-good/#comments Tue, 13 Jul 2010 19:10:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=4544 In this world of modern day prepping, high-tech survival tools and gadgets are everywhere.  For example, the SteriPEN.  If you haven’t added one of these to your bug-out bag or camping gear, you really should check it out.  With the Read More

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In this world of modern day prepping, high-tech survival tools and gadgets are everywhere.  For example, the SteriPEN.  If you haven’t added one of these to your bug-out bag or camping gear, you really should check it out.  With the press of a button and a swirl of an ultraviolet-lit wand, you have water safe enough to drink!

image by Danny et Maryse

When you don’t want to carry around bleach for fear of leaks and don’t have time to boil water, the SteriPEN is worth the money.

Now, high-tech is great for some gadgets, but the Sun Oven is so low-tech, ya gotta love that, too.  Last week we traveled to Park City and beyond.  The Sun Oven was in the back of the Tahoe, and by the time we got home, it had been knocked around more than a few times.  All that abuse took its toll because yesterday I discovered that the glass door was slightly off center and unable to close completely.

Of course I panicked, but I shouldn’t have.  The Sun Oven’s very simple, very low-tech design allows the company to offer this warranty on their product:  fifteen years, based on daily use in third world countries.  I don’t think my little Sun Oven knows the first thing about abuse!  So, with a few quick twists of a screwdriver, that glass door was realigned, and my oven was as good as new.  Gotta love low-tech!

image by RJL20

So, which is better?  High-tech or low-tech?  I think they both have their place in survival and preparedness.  A tool like the SteriPEN simply makes the task of water purification easier than ever.  It would be a mistake to not have at least a couple of back-ups, but nevertheless, being able to purify water in thirty seconds is hard to beat.  A solar-battery charger would help insure its usefulness over the long haul.  If you’re more the mountain man type, don’t sneer too much at high-tech survival tools!  There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of a really cool gadget that makes life easier.

Survival tools that are low-tech are usually more simple to maintain, use and repair, and are often less expensive.  I strongly recommend that every household have at least one way to cook food and heat water other than their kitchen stove.  The Sun Oven is useful for that purpose while having the advantages of solid construction and being easy to use.  When you’re thinking about survival, low-tech is the best choice as a back-up to your back-ups.

If survival and preparedness are your goals, high-tech and low-tech are all good.


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Can your solar cooker do THIS?? http://thesurvivalmom.com/can-your-solar-cooker-do-this/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=can-your-solar-cooker-do-this http://thesurvivalmom.com/can-your-solar-cooker-do-this/#comments Wed, 17 Mar 2010 11:10:25 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=3556 I’ve been using my Sun Oven for every day cooking but this last week wanted to really put it to the test.  The Sun Oven website claims it can be used to cook hard boiled eggs without using any water.  Read More

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I’ve been using my Sun Oven for every day cooking but this last week wanted to really put it to the test.  The Sun Oven website claims it can be used to cook hard boiled eggs without using any water.  That was my first test.

On a sunny afternoon, I placed two raw eggs on the leveling tray in the oven.  The oven was hot, right at 350 degrees.  No directions were given regarding the length of cooking time, so I just figured I would break open an egg after 20 minutes to see if it was fully cooked.  To keep a short story short, the egg was perfectly cooked!  There

image by basykes

was no dark green ring around the yoke to indicate over-cooking, and the entire egg was soft but definitely hard boiled.  Impressive!

The second experiment involved a frozen chicken.  The president of Sun Oven, Paul Munsen, says that he puts a frozen chicken in his Sun Oven in the morning, along with some seasonings and vegetables, and the chicken slow cooks all day long until it’s perfectly finished by the end of the day.  Well, my chicken was well and truly frozen on the morning of the experiment.  I spread a bit of olive oil over the chicken with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, popped it in a covered baker and into the Sun Oven a little after 9 a.m.  I was running errands all day long, but when I checked on the chicken at 4:30 that afternoon, it was fully cooked and ultra moist.  Wow!

The Sun Oven passed both tests with flying colors.  (Did I mention what an awesome job it does with a pan of brownies??) 

 
 

 

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Survival Survey: Favorite Solar Gadget? http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-survey-favorite-solar-gadget/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=survival-survey-favorite-solar-gadget http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-survey-favorite-solar-gadget/#comments Thu, 11 Mar 2010 21:59:09 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=3511 Question submitted by Elizabeth Long There are lots of gadgets out there now that operate on solar power. My new favorite is the Everlite Solar Headlamp with the optional USB Charger. Those are going in our car bags. This will Read More

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Question submitted by Elizabeth Long

There are lots of gadgets out there now that operate on solar power. My new favorite is the Everlite Solar Headlamp with the optional USB Charger. Those are going in our car bags. This will let us each have a headlamp and a way to recharge our cell phones so we can continue to access all our survival apps, as well as text and make calls.  We also have some new solar lanterns, but I haven’t had a chance to try those yet.

So, what’s YOUR favorite solar powered gadget?

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