How to make a solar oven from spare parts in an emergency

In a true emergency situation, how would you prepare and store food? If everyone is planning on cutting down the few trees surrounding their neighborhoods, then our country will quickly become Haiti.

If you are not familiar with the irreversible destruction that is caused by deforestation - then I highly suggest you drop everything and check out Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed (this is a non-affiliate link) from your local library. This book highlights the demise of Easter Island and Haiti from deforestation. It also shows how Japan sprung back by importing wood products and forcing the populace to replant their national forests - and so much more.  It's a great springboard for how the world truly functions. This will of course lead to you wanting to read "The Next Decade," "The Great big book of Horrible things," and "The Fatal Shore." If you embark down this prepared to have your mind blown and your world turned upside down.

But back to preparations....

People lived without electricity for millennia. Sure, it wasn't as easy as we have it now, but it can be done. My own mother grew up without electricity or running water and she's not that old.

I suggest you get a good book that teaches the basics of canning/food preservation, root cellaring, saving seeds, trapping and preparing animals, and thermos cooking (I found one that was published in 1905 and read it cover to cover. If I can find the title, I'll put it here.)
Deadfall trap diy
A deadfall trap made with silverware!

The purpose of this post was to get you thinking about the parts you would need to build a solar oven, solar heat panels, and/or a solar dehydrator - specifically: how would you build a solar oven from parts you have at home.

The basic premise of all solar cooking gear is to trap the sun's energy, keep the heat in an "oven" system, and to maximize the amount of energy being captured.

To trap the sun's energy:
You will need something heat resistant and clear - this can be a glass pot top, an inverted pyrex bowl, a piece of plexiglass, greenhouse film, or glass from a window.

To maximize the sun's energy:
You will need something to reflect the sun's energy and black items to absorb as much heat as possible - these can be sheet metal pieces used as reflectors, cardboard or wood wrapped in aluminum foil, mylar pieces (from old balloons, bags, emergency space blankets, chip bags, etc). You can use black cookware, tin cans painted black, and mason jars painted black.

To create and "oven" environment to keep the heat you trap (like a greenhouse):
You will need something to preserve the heat. This can be a box, a box inside a a box with insulation in between (shredded paper, straw, rocks/pebbles/sand, etc), two pyrex bowls surrounding a black pan that will create airspace that will hold heat, an "oven bag" to surround your cooking vessel etc.

Solar oven made with a box, aluminum foil, old window, black  pot with clear lid, and rack
Solar oven made with a box, aluminum foil, old window, black  pot with clear lid, and rack

You probably have the basic building blocks right in your own home. You just need to use your imagination and experiment:

Boxes (wood/cardboard)
Aluminum Foil, Mylar balloons, chip bags, or emergency blankets
Sheet metal
Cooking pans
Pyrex bowls
Glass pan lids
Glass clocks (take the glass domed lids)
Old Gas grills - to use as a box, if stainless to use as a reflector, if black to use as a cooking vessel
Terra Cotta pots
Sand/Pebbles/rocks/shredded paper/hay/straw
Solar oven made with the top of an old stainless steel grill, pyrex bowl, black bowl, clear glass lid, and window glass.
Solar oven made with the top of an old stainless steel grill, pyrex bowl, black bowl, clear glass lid, and window glass.

You can google almost any of these items and find solar ovens made by very creative people.

Now is the time to think of a solution. If we ever have to live without modern conveniences, we need to preserve what made our country great - the ingenuity of our people and the natural resources we were given. Do not let our country become Haiti or Easter Island!


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