Slow Cooking (with a Solar Oven) for a Sluggish Boat

Heather McCarthy has been cruising with her spouse, Dan, and their three daughters, the “McMermaids” since 2011. These are typically currently cruising the Florida Keys, Dry Tortugas, plus the Bahamas onboard s/v Jullanar.

Right here, Heather answers a few pre-determined questions about how exactly solar cooking has opened up a whole new suite of cruising food options for her family.

The McMermaids (Calypsa, Jelena, and Marina) are preparing to solar-cook white rice and chocolate-chip blondies. Summerland Key, Florida.
Photo taken by Heather McCarthy.

What kinds of foods can you prepare within solar oven?

I enjoy prepare dishes into the solar range that i’dn’t dare cook on my galley’s 2-burner propane kitchen stove – foods that need long cooking times like rice, dried beans, roasted meats and vegetables, potatoes, stews, chili, etc. 

Personally I think great about saving propane and sparing every person from the “dinnertime sweat” by keeping the watercraft cool into the belated afternoon. 

Our sailboat doesn’t have a propane oven, so I utilize the Solavore Sport solar range doing ALL baking – bread, cakes, scones, muffins, snacks, pizza, pies, etc.  I have tried stovetop ovens with little success – some part of the dish usually burns off.  But the baked goods being released my solar oven never ever burn and so are constantly crowd-pleasers!

inside galley of s/v Jullanar, Heather is preparing a tiny, 4-pound entire chicken to roast into the solar range.
Photo taken by Calypsa McCarthy

The golden, juicy roasted chicken after 4 hours at 275°F in solar oven! My young ones said it was the greatest chicken they’ve ever had! Summerland Key, Florida.
Photo taken by Calypsa McCarthy

What forms of adaptations do you make towards dishes for cooking into the solar oven? 

A solar range chefs such as a crockpot or sluggish cooker (low heat, long cooking durations).  While the boiling point of water (212°F) is accomplished, hardly any water evaporation happens. 

That means as possible and really should add somewhat LESS LIQUID towards rice/grains, dried beans, chili, stew, and soup meals.  One cup of jasmine rice to at least one 2/3 cups of water ends up perfect for me every time. 

You don’t need to include a WATER to prepare hard-boiled eggs, corn-on-the-cob, potatoes, and other veggies that you could boil in a pot a water regarding the stovetop.

Are you able to bake bread inside?  If that’s the case, just how long does that just take?

Oh yes!  Bread baked within the solar oven is delectable!!! 

I have had very good results with fundamental white bread, cornbread, and a variety of sweet breads like pumpkin or banana breads.  We attempt to keep consitently the loaf size small, or distribute the recipe between your two black colored granite-ware pots to help keep cooking times shorter. 

Cooking times be determined by the inner temperature associated with solar range, which, needless to say, will depend on the sun’s intensity at that time.  For baking, i would like the solar range to be in its greatest temperature zone when I spot the dough into the range – at the very least 275°F. 

We accomplish that in two means:

  1. Pre-heat the range for 20-30 minutes,
  2. Make use of the reflectors – the more light rays diverted in to the range, the hotter it’ll get! 

Today, I cooked a small loaf of garlic and natural herb bread in 60 mins with reflectors on as well as an interior temperature of 300°F.  Everybody else on the dock was salivating while they could smell it baking!        

Baking bread into the solar oven is easy!
make use of bread loaf pan, split the dough between the two graniteware pots, or spot the loaf on a cookie sheet. An 11” x 17” cookie sheet fits well in my own solar oven, when raised up on two empty tuna cans. You’ll fit a muffin pan in to the oven this way too.
Summerland Key, Florida.
Photos taken by Calypsa McCarthy.

Just how long does it typically simply take you to definitely prepare a casserole, rice and beans, stew, etc.?  What time would you typically spot your meal inside oven?

Whenever calculating cooking times during the meals like these, make an effort to improve your mindset from “oven” to “crockpot.”  Think of just how your crockpot at home has time settings like 4, 6, 8, 10 hours – they’re comparable to solar-cooking times.  My crockpot at home cooks at 200°F on its “HIGH” environment.  At 275°F, the solar range cooks rice in about 1 ½ hours, roasts a whole 4-lb chicken in 4 hours, and chefs dried out beans (soaked overnight) in about 6 hours. 

So long as you begin thinking each morning in what you need to prepare for supper, it is possible to make sure that you have you sufficient time. 

Basically ‘m going to prepare roast beef, pulled pork, or perhaps a entire chicken, I’ll need certainly to begin the cooking at about 10:00am, to give the meal around 6 hours of bright sunlight to completely cook. Sporadically, my children have begged for eating at 4:00pm, because supper had been fundamentally done in solar oven and smelled brilliant! Have you thought to!?!

When cruising with three kiddies gets a little crazy, we simplify meals by cooking package mixes like these within the solar oven. Listed here are “before” and “after” pictures of boxed rice and beans and country white bread. I destination baked items for a sheet of wax/parchment paper for easy reduction and clean-up. Summerland Key, Florida.
Photos taken by Calypsa McCarthy.

How frequently do you have to complete cooking a recipe on your own propane stove or propane range?

Within regard, solar cooking is really a bit like cruising – in the event that you make an effort to force things in less-than-ideal weather, less-than-ideal things will happen! 

Used To Do this once….  A week beforehand, I invited visitors over for Saturday evening meal of “solar-cooked pulled pork and rosemary scalloped potatoes.”  Well, Saturday finished up being fully a cloudy time, and pork didn’t prepare.  It returned within the refrigerator to attend for bright day, and now we ordered pizza for lunch! 

Simply watch the weather and choose sunny days (air temperature does not actually matter), and you’ll seldom (when) must complete a meal using propane.

whenever baking pizza into the solar range, our answers are great as soon as we brown the crust first. Then, add sauce, cheese and toppings, and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Summerland Key, Florida. Photos taken by Heather McCarthy.

How hot does a solar oven in fact get?

Our youngest McMermaid (8 yrs . old) cooking an apple cake in solar range. You can view your lid of oven is cool sufficient that she can touch it with her bare arms, while handling the pots in requires an range mitt – the pots and food are hot at around 300°F.

The Solavore Sport is engineered to withstand temperatures around about 325°F.  I like to keep close track of the oven heat measure, and when it begins to climb above 325°F (I’ve seen it do that on very hot, sunny Florida times), i simply take the reflectors off or turn the range somewhat far from the sunlight to create down the temperature.

Does the solar oven get hot on the outside?  Do you have to place one thing in oven in order to cook in your deck?

Whenever cooking, the black colored, external foot of the range feels hardly hot to the touch.  This oven’s thick insulation keeps the heat in, as well as the outside stays fun.  The lid can feel somewhat warmer, but we are able to still easily lay our hands on it. 

I’ve no anxiety about my children playing right near the oven, and I also can cook on my boat’s deck without any such thing in range. 

McMermaids cooking entirely on the foredeck of s/v Jullanar – Spanish rice and brownies! The surface of the oven remains cool to touch. The children simply had to “test” the brownies to be sure they certainly were done! Eau Gallie Yacht Basin, Melbourne, Florida. Picture taken by Heather McCarthy.

Can solar cooking take up a fire or burn off meals?

We can’t imagine a scenario in which the Solavore Sport could start a fire.  The common internal temperatures (225-275°F) associated with the oven are low sufficient it is extremely safe.  Even though a bit of paper unintentionally discovered its way in the range along with your meals, it would perhaps not get unstoppable (it’s easy to remember the common temperature where paper catches fire and burns off, because author Ray Bradbury known as his famous guide afterwards temperature — Fahrenheit 451). 

Likewise, the reasonably low cooking temperatures of the range prevent meals from burning. 

Trust me, I’ve tested this!  Once I first began making use of this solar oven, every thing cooked faster than we expected, therefore I ended up with a couple of over-cooked, yet quite edible, dishes.  Study From my experience….  Cookies bake FAST (20-30 mins), but, if left in too much time, they just turn dark golden and crunchy — nevertheless yummy! 

My best example is banana bread that we forgot about and left in for 4 hours (it cooks in one hour).  Whenever we tasted the golden banana bread, we understood one thing magical had occurred!  The bread wasn’t dried out or burned, however the sugars had caramelized!  This created a delicious, brand new, caramel-flavored banana bread! 

perhaps not burned! Banana bread kept into the range too long did not burn or dry up, nevertheless the sugars caramelized as a moist, delicious “new” flavor!

In which would you store your solar oven aboard?  Can you store it on deck?

I’m often asked questions about storage space!  Whenever bringing almost everything onboard, every cruiser has to carefully consider the value of the item versus the space required to store it.  We REALLY do — we’ve got five individuals cruising full-time for six months onboard a 29′ sailboat. 

In reaction, I adore this estimate from s/v The Red Thread’s web log regarding a wafflemaker… “The last thing we desired would be to consider down The Red Thread by hoarding unneeded nonsense. “HOLD IT – does not a waffle iron fall under the unneeded nonsense category?” you ask. Well, I Guess it depends how much you like break fast!” 

Same concept with all the solar range — I ADORE solar cooking, therefore I’m gonna make enough space onboard for my solar oven.  We derive great benefits from making use of and teaching others concerning the fuel-free, planet-friendly, time-saving power of sunlight!  So, for me, it is worth the area sacrifice.

My Solavore Sport range weighs 9 pounds and measures 12 ¼” high by 27 ¼” long by 17” wide.  The reflectors fold flat and fit well in the range because of the two pots.  I store the complete product in a pillowcase over the motor when stopped as well as on the aft berth when underway.  If you have a place on your own deck from the rainfall and sun, you might keep it there. 

When docked or anchored, we store our range in companionway together with the engine cover inside our 29’ Ericson sailboat. When underway, we store it on the aft berth. Summerland Key, Florida. Photo taken by Heather McCarthy.

I’ve brainstormed with clever cruisers about creative ways to
a) mount it such as a grill in the stern train (when not cooking, the range must certanly be upside-down to prevent rain or saltwater from getting in), and
b) suspend the range from davits or various other part of the motorboat enabling you to definitely turn the hanging oven while cooking to follow the sunlight. 

I’m sure fellow cruisers can come with other innovative storage solutions!

Would you make use of the solar range underway?  How can you deal with wind?

I favor to solar cook as soon as we are tied up at a dock, a marina, or anchored away.  I usually place the solar oven regarding bow of our sailboat or on the dock beside it. 

An aerial view of our range pre-heating regarding the dock next to our sailboat s/v Jullanar.

I guess you could use the solar oven underway, in the event that you discovered yourself in a stable situation such as a flat time on ICW.  I’d be much more inclined to cook fast, non-liquid dishes while underway – like cookies, which bake in 20-30 minutes.  I’dn’t desire to be cooking a soupy meal, if there was any potential for getting struck by a rogue revolution or an urgent motorboat wake that will result in the dish to spill.

Does Solavore sell an inferior solar range?

Great concern — I, too, wondered if it was feasible for Solavore to produce a smaller one-pot version, so I asked the CEO! 

At this time, the answer is not any, just because a minimum quantity of light rays are expected to have the range to cooking heat.  As created, the convex surface area regarding the lid gathers and concentrates enough light beams to reach adequate conditions.  Let’s say the top section of the lid ended up being reduced to half its present size to make the range half as big (imagine a one-pot version)… Reflectors will be a MUST, as well as will have to be two times as big to gather in and concentrate equivalent number of light rays to get the smaller range to cooking temperatures.  Huge reflectors are tough to stow and may not be utilized during windy conditions. 

So, the engineers of the Solavore Sport developed a design that balances size, effectiveness, storability, and cooking effectiveness.

Simply how much does a Solavore Sport cost?  In which can I purchase one?

For current pricing and shipping information and to find out more about Solavore’s humanitarian missions around the world, please check out Solavore’s website.   To ensure that you don’t miss out on any special sales or promotions, sign up to get the month-to-month newsletter and follow Solavore on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+.

Thanks so much the opportunity to share solar cooking with other other cruisers!

About Heather P. McCarthy

The McMermaids (Calypsa, Jelena, and Marina) with Heather and Dan McCarthy, Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida. Photo taken by Joe Holland.

Heather McCarthy of Jacksonville, Florida, has been sailing along with her spouse, Dan, and their three daughters, the “McMermaids” since 2011. In their first couple of years of cruising, this family-of-five traveled on s/v Marcalena, a small, galley-less 25’ MacGregor sailboat.

Throughout a two-week journey into the Florida Keys with this watercraft, Heather prepared dishes on her behalf family members on a shoreside campstove and dreamed of a solar oven that will allow her to snorkel all day long along with her household and return to a delicious-smelling, completely cooked dinner! She attempted (unsuccessfully) to construct homemade solar cookers, but, even after rounds of adjustments, her drippy, hungry kids simply kept finding its way back to crunchy beans and rice.

But there is no shaking the thought of solar cooking away from her head! She did the woman research regarding sailing/boating blog sites, discovered herself inspired by The Boat Galley, Ladies and Cruising, and Sailing Totem (“Seriously? Roast a complete chicken!?!”), and chose to get a Solavore Sport Oven – the model that kept popping up as “tough enough” for ship life.

Heather and the woman family are currently for a six-month sailing sabbatical onboard s/v Jullanar, their 29’ Ericson sailboat, dining on scrumptious solar-cooked food, whilst travelling Florida’s Atlantic shore, the Florida Keys, and Bahamas.

Their blog is at:

Discover more