I quickly skimmed over the above posts and might have missed some things -- so if I am repeating anything that anyone has already written please forgive me.......
I find the EASIEST things to do are.....
1 - Find a CLEAR lidded oven glass casserole dish with little side handles on it and some cheap midnight BLACK cotton CLOTH (or some other NON-melt-able cloth -- polyester and the like might melt if they get too hot and they are I do NOT think they are "earth friendly" anyway!)
2 - Put your food in the casserole dish and cover it. Then drape the dish with the black cloth making sure that MOST of it fits tightly against the glass (especially the lid) like paint, using a little string if necessary. (If you wish, you can arrange the cloth so that you can have a little "peep hole" on the side of the dish so you can monitor the cooking progress though the clear glass without having to open the cooker and lose precious heat -- good for cooking rice.)
The heavier cookware such as cast iron WILL work -- BUT it will take MUCH longer to heat than a thin black metal pan. However, once the cast iron FINALLY gets hot, it will hold its heat MUCH longer than a thin metal pan. So, the best cookware to use REALLY depends on the circumstancesâ€¦â€¦
ALSO, on a few occasions I have used silicon cook wear in it -- and it did great!
I find the easiest things to cook are......
1- cakes, quick breads, bread (but be careful NOT to overdo the liquid measurements in the batter/dough since solar baking tends to hold in a little more moisture than conventional baking. Unless the cake batter (or whatever) is dark colored, I usually loosely cover it with a dark lid -- which holds in moisture.
2- rice -- (the peephole mentioned above really helps when cooking rice)
3- potatoes -- I usually loosely cover them with a dark lid or cloth while they are solar baking. Solar baked potatoes can be used hot for baked or mashed potatoes or chilled and diced for potato salad. HOWEVER, make sure you realize that the 2 basic types of potatoes will STILL have their distinguishing qualities -- whether solar cooked or conventionally cooked! (The waxy potatoes -- usually red-skinned ones -- will have a firmer, harder, waxier texture than the Russets or other similar types which have a softer texture.)
4- all root vegetables (which I cook covered without the addition of any liquid)
5- winter squash (usually loosely covered)
6- stews, casseroles, etc. -- covered, of course.......
However, things like green leafy veggies, broccoli, and green beans tend to turn white BUT they do better IN casseroles and stews, etc.
Tips on angling the solar cooker right......
Keep in mind that the light from the sun will change from low to high in the sky as well as go from east to west and the front of the cooker needs to be directly facing the sun so that the rays can directly hit ALL of the interior of the cooker AND directly hit the reflectors. Like Groundhogg said above, drawing an imaginary line from the sun to the cooker is very helpful in getting the angles right.
I tend to pay more attention to the east west direction of the sun than the vertical angle of it -- but BOTH are very important. I angle the height of the cooker to where I feel the sun will be at or very close to for MOST of the time the cooker will be in use that day. Sometimes, when I am in a hurry (and don't have time to fiddle with the height adjusting rod on the back), I simply stick a little board under the front of the cooker (gently pulling the cooker up with its handle) if I need its front to be higher for a little while.
For LOWER cooking temps......
I sometimes purposely slightly off-set the angle of the cooker! If find that doing this is very helpful for letting RICE steam (at between 200 and 220 degrees) AFTER it has come to a full boil at a higher temperature. If rice continues to cook at 300+ degrees AFTER it has boiled for a while, it might end up overcooked and even scorched on top by the time all of the water has been absorbed!
I know the above does not cover everything but I hope it helps!
I like your poll and I (naturally) checked the FIRST one -- (Have one and use it a LOT!!!)
Best of luck to you!
I believe we McDougallers can have a loud enough voice to influence enough people to cut back on livestock consumption/farming that we CAN have a positive impact on global warming -- if we REALLY try!