This past weekend we went to Duck Creek, UT for church family camp. We brought along the Sun Oven to see how it would work in a camping environment. I was so so happy I brought it along because we were in a group camp site and our spot didn’t have a fire pit. We didn’t really need one for cooking because the organizers provided most of the meals. But I’m glad I had the Sun Oven for the few things that I did want to cook, bake and boil.
A while back I was watching this video about using black-painted mason jars to cook in the Sun Oven. I wanted to give it a try but didn’t have any non-toxic black paint and I didn’t want to mess with painting the jars anyway. I had learned that I could use dark dish towels to cover aluminum foil. So I thought that maybe I could put the mason jars in black cotton socks. I didn’t cut the socks or do anything different to them. I just placed the jar right into the sock. Since the sock was taller than the jar, I used the cuff of the sock as a handle to remove it from the oven. The cuffs were almost too warm to handle with my bare hand but cooled off quickly when removed from the oven. I think I’ll add the spare set of tongs from my pressure canning kit to my camping equipment and use those next time. And I’ll also add a small cork trivet so I have something to put the mason jar onto when I remove it from the oven.
I kept one of the mason jars filled with water in the Sun Oven almost the entire weekend and the socks never caught fire and didn’t melt. I had hot water most of the time except for very early in the morning. I might try this again with a half-gallon mason jar so I’ll have a larger supply of hot water. My only concerns with a half-gallon mason jar is finding a sock big enough to fit it. Maybe I’ll have to knit one for it. I could paint it black, but I’m still not sure I want to mess with paint.
After the hot water test worked, I decided to try “boiling” hot dogs in the water-filled sock-covered mason jar for lunch. It worked perfectly! And I was able to keep them hot in the mason jar in the sun oven for hours. When hubby returned from fishing at the lake, he enjoyed two piping hot hot dogs with ketchup! I was so proud of myself! Maybe next time I can put the hot dogs on and go fishing too. Then we’ll have a hot lunch ready for us when we return.
I actually did have one half-failure. I tried cooking a hot dog in its bun, wrapped in a paper towel like you would in the microwave oven. Well, the hot dog did cook, and the paper towel didn’t catch fire, but the bun was super dry and fell apart when I tried to eat it. I want to try this again but use a wet paper towel instead.
Next it was time for the frozen chocolate cookie dough test. Remember when I test baked them the first time? I had put aside some of the cookie dough in balls into the freezer for the camping trip. When I packed the cooler, I placed the sandwich baggie of frozen cookie dough balls in the bottom. When I took them out of the cooler two days later, they were still frozen. I popped ’em into the mini muffin tin and then into the Sun Oven. A couple of the families came over to see what I was doing. About 20 minutes later we all enjoyed hot chocolate chip mini muffin cookies and ice-cold Country Fresh powdered milk. Yummo! This will now be a staple in my camping menu!
I also tried warming a pre-package pastry in the Sun Oven. I took it out of its plastic wrapper and put it on a pizza tray that I’d brought along. I didn’t have it in the Sun Oven long enough to completely warm it, but I know it will work if I leave it in longer. Two pastries and the mason jar fit perfectly on the pizza pan. So I think I could put those on as soon as the sun comes up and have a pastry and hot cocoa breakfast in about 20 minutes.
I wish I’d taken pictures of all of this but I forgot “my” camera at home, I couldn’t charge my phone and I forgot that Joel had brought his camera. I will be making chili cheese dogs for dinner tomorrow night so I’ll take pictures to show you how I used the mason jars with black socks to cook the hot dogs. And I’ll try cooking the chili in the can with a dark towel over it. I must admit, I’m having a lot of fun testing the Sun Oven!
Oh, and I just discovered a lower priced solar oven is available for purchase. It’s called the SOS Sport and you can find more information about it here. I haven’t done any research on this particular oven, but wanted to let my readers know that there is another less-expensive option.
“Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place.
And the crowd sought Him and came to Him,
and tried to keep Him from leaving them;”
– Luke 4:42 NKJV