Monday, August 21, 2006

Solar Breakfast Part 2: Using the Global Sun Oven and El Solito Together

My sister's family is in Canada from Ireland for more than a month, so I am going up to Uxbridge Ontario each weekend to visit with them.

This past weekend I finally got to make that solar breakfast of bacon and eggs for the whole family that I've been wanting to do. The weather was perfect for it, and I came prepared.

I used my parabolic "El Solito" solar barbeque to fry up the bacon and sausage first. You have to pour out the excess grease and water from the pan to allow the meat to crisp up. This also helps prevent heart attacks and excessive weight gain. My brother in law Desmond just could not believe that solar energy was capable of crisping his bacon and sausage. He's a believer now.

Because the focal point of a single parabolic cooker acts like a single stove top burner in full sun, producing "sun flames" we had to prepare breakfast in stages. First bacon and sausage. Next the eggs.

In order to prevent the meat from cooling off, as the laws of thermodynamics say that hot things like to do, I pre-heated my Global Sun Oven, and placed the bacon and sausage in the hot Sun Oven as they were cooked to keep them warm for the table.

If you kept bacon in a hot convection oven for a half hour, it would dry out and overcook. Basically there's far too much energy being directed at the food in a convection oven, so timing the food's stay inside the oven chamber is one very important key to successful cooking. Extending the food's duration inside the Global Sun Oven is much less critical. Inside the Sun Oven, just enough energy is going into the food to keep it hot, but not overcook it or evaporate all the moisture out of it, as would be the case in a large convection oven being used to heat up a small dish like bacon. With a convection oven you're wasting most of the energy you're paying for by heating up the mostly empty space inside the oven, and often your kitchen too. With a solar oven, you're capturing the right amount of free energy to do the job, and no more.

The Sun Oven kept the bacon hot, moist and juicy - with all of the nice crispy bits intact - for between 10 minutes and a half hour, depending on the batch.

Let's put it this way: if solar fried bacon can satisfy my Irish brother in law, who puts butter on roast beef and likes his bacon done just-so, it can satisfy anyone.

Breakfast was served, and there was much rejoicing.


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