Solar Cooking On A Boat (Pontoon or not)
Solar cooking on boats makes sense. After all, boats at sea are usually exposed to lots of sunlight, which is energy waiting to be used. However, in addition to being an obvious choice, it’s also a very convenient one especially when you have caught some fishes (If your boat needs some rod holders, check out our review of the best pontoon rod holders here). Cooking with solar energy can save money, resources and prove very accommodating for a variety of reasons.
Below, we explore in detail the advantages to solar cooking, and look at a few fun recipes for you to try. Solar cooking is, after all, a fun way to make food- and should be treated as such!
We love solar cooking, and we hope that by the end of this article, you will too.
- The Benefits Of Solar Cooking
- Solar Cooking: Equipment Needed
- Solar Cooking Recipes
- Solar Cooking: FAQs and Information
- Fun Facts
- In Conclusion
The Benefits Of Solar Cooking
There are many benefits to solar cooking, and below we examine a few main of the main advantages to using solar energy for cooking, as opposed to other alternatives:
- Solar cooking is a great alternative for boat owners who struggle with propane. Replacing propane, particularly when visiting countries with limited resources or availability, can prove stressful. Those looking to avoid stress will definitely benefit from solar cooking.
- Solar cooking is a great way to reduce excessive heat on boats. Cooking on propane stoves, in the galley, can generate significant heat on a boat that can prove uncomfortable for those in close proximity.
- Cooking with solar equipment actually gives food a crispy quality and a rich, delicious flavor. If you love experimenting with cooking techniques to enhance taste, then you may consider choosing a solar oven, in the interest of improving your meal overall.
- When cooking with a solar oven, you can leave food unattended, and carry out other activities. This is an excellent way to multitask, and to prepare food that doesn’t require much involvement on your part.
Solar Cooking: Equipment Needed
If you’re new to solar cooking, then you may be confused as to what, exactly, you need to in order to thoroughly cook your food. The main forms of equipment needed to safely and securely solar cook are:
A Solar Cooker
Solar cookers are available in three different varieties. You can opt for a box cooker; a curved cooker or a combination cooker (which combines both box and curved.)
The type of cooker you choose will depend on your needs. Boxed cookers are the more common form of cooker, that warm food slowly, at a relatively stable temperature. They don’t require much involvement, and you can leave box cookers unattended while you perform other tasks.
Curved cookers operate at higher temperatures, and cook foods faster. They are the more time efficient option, although they require much more supervision, because food is more likely to burn or catch fire.
The combination cooker features a curved, box design. It cooks food a little slower than curved, but much faster than boxed. It doesn’t require much involvement from you, other than the occasional check, and is usually more economical than either of the other two options.
Solar Cooking Pots
The best pans to use for solar cooking are thin, dark and shallow pots. These will absorb more sunlight; heat up faster and cook food more thoroughly. In the interest of retaining heat, we also recommend that you invest in pots with glass lids, as these will insulate the food while cooking.
Solar cooking pot covers are often used in conjunction with pots and pans. These are clear, heatproof bags that can be wrapped around pots, in the interest of insulating them further.
Solar Cooking Recipes
Solar cookers are best compared to slow cookers, because they use a low, consistent temperature to warm food. If you’re interested in preparing food using a solar cooker, then you can certainly reference slow cooker recipes, or convert your favorite recipes into ones that require a little more time and attention.
For your convenience, we’ve listed three easy solar cooking recipes, to give you an idea of what types of foods can be cooked in solar equipment. These are three suggestions for a main, a side and a dessert.
Recipe #1: Lemon And Dill Fish
- Fish steaks
- Pepper and salt
Rinse fish steaks and pat try.
Rub each stake with a knob of butter and place in a dark, shallow pan.
Allow to cook for an hour, checking a few times to ensure that each stake cooks evenly and thoroughly.
Once the fish is cooked, to the degree where it pulls apart flakily, season with a squeeze of lemon; a pinch of dill; salt and pepper.
Place slices of lemon in the pot, and brown. Serve alongside fish and brown rice (or another grain.)
Recipes #2: Slow Cooked Tomatoes
- Fresh tomatoes
- Olive oil
- A selection of cheeses, particularly cheese that melts nicely
- Herbs and salt/pepper for seasoning
Chop the tomatoes into chunks.
Layer at the bottom of the solar pot, with a drizzle of olive oil.
Tear brad into chunks and layer on top of tomatoes.
Season the bread with herbs, spices and salt/pepper.
Add a layer of sliced or grated cheese and cook until melted.
Recipe #3: Applesauce
- Brown Sugar
Slice apples into cubes and place in solar pot.
Add enough water to cover apples.
Boil and simmer for 1-2 hours, or until soft.
Add brown sugar and cinnamon to taste, serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon on top.
Solar Cooking: FAQs and Information
Not many people are familiar with solar cooking, particularly for use on boats, which is why they may have some questions surrounding the process as a whole. Below, we seek to answer some common questions, and resolve any concerns you may have surrounding this form of cooking.
Is Solar Cooking Safe?
Solar cooking is perfectly safe, provided you cook meats and raw foods for as long as possible, and ensure that even when left unattended- you are still aware of the food so as to avoid fire or injury.
Will Solar Cooking Change The Taste Of My Food?
Cooking in a solar oven may give your food a slightly fresher, less charred flavor. We view this as a positive thing, although if you use a suitable amount of seasoning, there is usually no detectable change in flavor.
What Time Of Day Is Best For Cooking?
As solar cookers rely on sunlight, the best time to cook with them is in times of sun. This means morning, noon and early afternoon- typically between 9:00am and 3pm.
In the interest of proving just how wonderful solar cooking truly is, we’ve listed some fun facts for you to consider. While these all relate to solar cooking, they are certainly relevant to cooking on boats, and are intended to demonstrate the benefits that this form of cooking can provide.
Fact 1: You Can Build Your Own Solar Cooker
There are a number of packs that can be purchased, and used to assemble your very own solar cooker. Alternatively, you can buy the appropriate material and build your own from scratch.
Fact 2: Solar Cookers Can Be Used At Any Time Of Year
Provided there is sunlight, you can use your solar cooker at any time during the year. However, in winter, the sun will be weaker- and the food will therefore take longer to cook.
Fact 3: Solar Cookers Keep Your Boat Cool
Because solar cookers don’t rely on the burning of materials, they don’t radiate much heat, and therefore keep your boat cool throughout cooking.
If you plan to cook on your boat, particularly during long journeys, then solar cookers may present themselves as the ideal option. There are an affordable, convenient way for you to cook meats; vegetables and other grains without the need for propane or gases.