6 Safety Tips to Consider when Using a Solar Oven
A solar oven can be a great way to save energy when cooking your favorite foods. In the right climates and environmental conditions, a solar oven can be very efficient and practical. Solar ovens are also relatively portable and useful in times when users are cooking away from the power grid, such as remote outdoor areas. However, as with any kind of oven, there are safety issues to be aware of with a solar oven.
Some Safety Issues for Solar Cooking with Solar Ovens
Here are some of the commonly reported tips for staying safe when using a solar oven.
- Stabilizing the Solar Oven – Some solar oven models can be vulnerable to high winds. Think about the placement of your solar oven to make sure it remains in place during the relatively long cooking times required for these devices.
- Temporary Blindness and Eye Hazard – The bright interiors or other parts of a solar oven may end up causing temporary blindness for users who look into the oven the wrong way. Lots of experienced “solar chefs” recommend wearing eyewear, such as sunglasses, while working around the solar oven.
- Avoiding Burns – Many solar oven models can get quite hot. Some models may not have the best insulators between the oven interior and handles or controls. Seasoned solar cooking enthusiasts sometimes also recommend using gloves to handle parts of the solar oven, or to remove dishes from it.
- Hazards to Children – A solar oven may be a difficult thing for even older children to understand. Make sure to limit the access to the solar oven for younger campers or other individuals in the cooking area.
- Pets – Domestic pets are always an issue if they have access to the kitchen. An outdoor kitchen is no exception. Besides shielding your solar oven from young hands, make sure it also remains safe from cats and dogs or other pets, as well as any nearby wild animals that may be tempted to try to get at what is inside.
- Food Safety – Those using a solar oven should always remain aware that this type of cooking device does not have the kinds of controls that are optimal for creating safe food temperatures when cooking raw perishables that need to be heated to a certain temperature. Making a thermometer a part of your solar cooking kit can help significantly. If the cook is able to document a high enough temperature for the right time frame, he or she will be able to be fairly certain that the food has been cooked thoroughly. Without this kind of measuring tool, good judgment is extremely important. Generally, a solar oven is great for foods that do not need to be actively cooked in an oven, while it’s not as good an idea for cooking the kinds of raw meats and animal products that need to be exposed to specific levels of heat. Always keep good cooking guidelines in mind for uncooked foods, and don’t rely on a cursory inspection of these foods. Instead, take steps to make sure they are cooked properly.
With the above kinds of precautions, solar ovens can be a very practical way to make a meal.