Solar Cooking for Canadian Thanksgiving

Here in the Okanagan, autumn is usually sunny and stable after a short spell of dampness in September. This Thanksgiving weekend (mid October) the sky is blue and the air is clear and free of  haze. In other words, it is perfect for solar cooking.This is also our annual Fall Wine Festival.

We are using our Global Sun Oven to prepare a  pumpkin pie this year.  It’s also using a milk free recipe that my wife made up because she is dairy intolerant.

Roasting Pumpkin in solar oven photo
First the pumpkin was roasted. Snack Jack variety, from our garden.

 Solar baking and roasting is quite viable whenever you have sun.  And it works well even if the air temperature is cool, as long as the sun is bright. In fact we’ve used the sun oven in the middle of a Canadian winter on sunny days with great success.

Here we are showing the steps we used. First the pumpkin was picked from our garden, then roasted to get the meat cooked for the filling.

Then the pie crust was pre-baked using a recipe that did not call for any milk or butter.

The pie filling was made using the pumpkin flesh and then added to the shell and pie was put back into the oven to bake.

The cooking temperature was about 325 F, so not as hot as a regular oven. It took a little longer to fully bake, but the centre was tested with a toothpick and came out dry.

Baked pie photo
The pie is baked, filling is carmelized.

The end result was a pumpkin pie with a nicely carmelized finish. It tasted great and we recommend solar ovens to anyone that want to use solar energy to save energy.

We’ve checked our electricity usage and the most energy we consume in our house is when we use the electric stove. And we have one of the most efficient ones on the market. Cooking with solar can make a big difference to your electric bill, but it also keeps the house cooler in summer as you cook outside.

On the same day, we also used our solar stove to cook up a turkey breast. The stove works differently than the oven. It is shaped like an umbrella with highly reflective fins that when oriented using what would be the handle end to point to the sun, creates a focal point that concentrates the sun’s rays. This makes a very intense heat that can boil water in a few minutes. we used it to heat up a roaster with some water on the bottom and the turkey breast on a rack just to raise it out of the liquid. The breast was smothered in a paste of garlic, fresh sage, olive oil and salt and left to roast for a couple of hours, checking it periodically.