Solar oven cooking

With the current fire danger set at ‘Extreme’ we have been looking for ways to reduce our use of any kind of spark or flame. It is recommended that no power tools, mowers and (of course) any kind of flame not be used on extreme fire danger days. Cooking can be a challenge under these conditions, even with using the hay box cooker to reduce the flame time for any given meal. So we eventually found an option; a solar oven.

When the air is hot enough to ignite from any random spark, a device that uses that heat to cook food seems like a natural progression.

After a lot of online shopping, we settled on a SunGo Fusion cooker, a solar cooker that has a largish capacity, works in cloudy conditions, is portable and as a bonus, can use 12 volt power to continue cooking after dark.

I ordered it and waited with bated breath for the package to arrive. When it finally did, we were both in a stretch f long work days, so the poor thing sat in it’s box for a week. At last today, I am at liberty to play with it. I opened the box and found a space-age solar device, a handy carry bag and three sweet little silicon baking pans.

I decided to test it out with some roast vegetables and baked egg.

I prepared the vegetables by cutting them into fairly small chunks (more surface area to cook faster) and drizzling with a garlic infused olive oil. Then I dumped them into the little baking trays, put them in the cooker and took the lot out into the HOT sun (it is 33 degrees C here today). The cooker itself is equipped with a little device that helps you to align it with the sun, I used that and got the ‘wings’ unfolded. Now we wait.

I put the vegetables in at 10:48am, at 11:36am I did a quick check to see if they were heating up (it was).

The vegetables were very hot and beginning to cook. At 12:28pm, I swapped the trays around a bit because the carrots and potatoes were cooked but the onion needed a bit longer.

At 1:28pm, lunch was ready. I made a drizzle sauce with olive oil, dijon mustard, roasted garlic and a splash of soy sauce. The meal was filling (very) and tasty.

This was a meal for one, so it cooked in a shorter time because there were less vegetables, but given the lack of attention while cooking, I feel it is a good way to make food.

I think I will try a family meal tomorrow, to see how it deals with a lot more vegetable matter.

We got a freezer!!!

The only thing I have missed living with solar power has been a freezer. Well… we bit the bullet and bought a freezer that will run off our solar.

It is a Haier 143 litre chest freezer that came up as a special at our local Harvey Norman shop. This was an unexpected purchase because we didn’t realise that solar friendly freezers existed. We bought it home and plonked it next to the newish fridge, plugged it in and away it went.

It uses 220 Watts per year which makes it a very economical freezer.

I plan to fill it up with prepared meals for those work nights we just don’t want to cook (all of them). I also hope to be able to freeze garden produce (when we have it) and buy frozen food when it is on special. I am actually quite excited about having this option for preserving food and I am off to watch meal prep videos now.

Hi friends,

I have been supporting a campaign calling for the federal government to support community-owned renewable energy projects in communities across Australia.  Tomorrow members of the campaign are meeting with Minister for Climate Change, the Hon Mark Butler.  They need a few extra signatures on their petition – can you support the cause?
 Sign the petition here –
 More information on community energy and why this campaign is so important can be found below.
 Thank you!


Right across Australia local communities are working hard to set up community-owned renewable energy projects to power their towns and buildings. But, like any new industry, they need financial assistance to achieve this. .

 We are calling on the federal government to establish a $50 million grant program to support the development stage of community renewable energy projects.

 By signing this petition you can help make community energy a reality:

Already, we’ve taken this petition to Canberra and recieved interest from all three major political parties. We met with the offices of the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition, as well as key ministers, MPs, and heads of key departments. We inspired the nations leaders with our message of communities across Australia taking practical action on climate change. Now we need to keep up the pressure!

 Why is this important?
Over 38 communities across Australia are developing community owned wind and solar projects, but only two are up and running. If the other 36 groups don’t receive start-up assistance soon, we risk the early momentum withering away.

 Community-owned renewable energy projects cut carbon pollution and bring new life to regional and rural Australia. Most importantly, they pave the path for an Australia powered by renewable energy that’s owned by everyday people, not big energy companies with vested interests in fossil fuels.

 The solution is simple: a new fund to help projects through the difficult early stages – from inception, feasibility studies, planning approval, all the way to becoming investment-ready. Economic modelling has shown $50 million could support 170 projects to the investment-ready stage over the next 6 years1. Support now could kick-start the community-energy sector and unlock over $500 million in community investment.

 With your support, we can unlock the potential for communities to invest in their own renewable energy future.

Solar Citizens · Australia
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