Can Old Sol Help You Cook in a Blackout? Yes!

We know it's coming. It's just a matter of when. We know blackouts will occur this winter due to storms. And it doesn't look like physical attacks on the grid are going to end anytime soon.

That's why it's so important to know how to cook food when the power is out. You need to be able to heat water if you're home in a blackout. And the same is true if you're in the woods camping or hiking. Or if you have to evacuate due to a crisis.

If you're prepared, it won't be a problem. On most days there's a round, yellow thing in the sky. It's also large. About 1.3 million Earths could fit inside it. But it's also some 93 million miles away. Still, it will help you accomplish the task at hand.

Not all by itself, though. The sun is 27 million degrees Fahrenheit at its core. But its rays cool considerably during their eight-minute, 20-second journey to Earth. They might feel warm on your skin. But they're not hot enough to cook food or boil water.

Fortunately, those electromagnetic rays contain a great deal of energy. They cause the molecules in whatever they strike to vibrate. That's what generates heat. And solar cookers are capable of harnessing that heat.

Sun-powered ovens

There are a number of different types of solar cookers. They include solar ovens/box cookers and panel cookers. Plus evacuated tubes and parabolic solar cookers.

The solar oven or box cooker is usually about three to five feet across. It's basically a sun-powered oven. It heats up and seals in the heat. The open-topped box is black on the inside with glass or transparent plastic on the top. 

It usually has several reflectors featuring flat, metallic or mirrored surfaces outside the box. They collect and direct sunlight onto the glass.    

A pot of food sits on the black bottom of the box. Sunlight enters the box through the glass top. When light waves strike the bottom, the box heats up and the food cooks. 

Variety of choices

Panel cookers incorporate different elements of box cookers and parabolic solar cookers. They use parabolic reflectors above a box-type oven.

Evacuated tube solar cookers use a double-wall glass tube for the cooking chamber. The space between the glass is created as a vacuum. 

Many people prefer parabolic solar cookers due to their ability to achieve higher temperatures and their portability.

A parabolic solar cooker uses curved, reflective surfaces to focus sunlight into a small area. The evacuated tempered glass tube traps every bit of heat-producing light that hits it. In a moment I'll tell you about a great one.

No noise or smoke

Temperatures inside a parabolic solar cooker can get very hot. But it's cool to the touch on the outside. So, you can safely handle it with your bare hands when it's at full temperature.

The sides fold out to reveal two parabolic mirrors. These "wings" grab every bit of sun and focus it on the glass tube.

A parabolic solar cooker does not need batteries or electricity. Because it boils water, it protects you from parasites such as giardia.

It doesn't need any flames or fuel. You don't have to be concerned with gathering wood or sticks. And it doesn't produce smoke or make noise. So it allows you to keep your location covert.

What to cook with it

What can you cook with a parabolic solar cooker? Hard-boiled eggs and hot dogs come to mind immediately.

But you could also cook an omelet or vegetarian couscous. Or oatmeal and a wide variety of soups.

As well as mashed potato flakes and instant rice. Plus stovetop stuffing, ramen noodles and bulgar wheat.

Not to mention pastas that cook in less than four minutes. Such as artisan pastas and instant grits. 

When to use it

When are the best times to use a parabolic solar cooker? They're great for camping, boating and hiking. 

As well as picnics, your job site or tailgating. Or just sitting on the sidelines while your kids or grandchildren play.

Cooking food such as hotdogs, eggs and freeze-dried meals is one way to use a parabolic solar cooker. But there are many others. Including… 

  • Heating water for hygiene needs
  • Keeping liquid hot for hours for coffee, tea, cocoa, gelatin or baby formula
  • Melting snow for drinking or other usages
  • Pasteurizing water
  • Killing giardia, cryptosporidium and other waterborne bacteria

4Patriots Sun Kettle 

If your water supply is affected by an outage, your city might declare a boil advisory. That's due to contaminants that could be in the system.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to boil water when you lack electricity is with a solar cooker. And as I promised, I've got the perfect one for you. 

It's the Sun Kettle from 4Patriots. It works quickly and quietly and needs no cords, batteries or flames.

Its parabolic mirrors trap the rays of the sun, which are then focused on the tempered-glass tube. It will get your water boiling in just minutes.

And that will provide you with water for drinking or warm food to eat. You can prepare coffee, prep a warm washcloth and administer first-aid. And it will keep liquid hot for hours. All with the free power of the sun.  

Here's how to get yours…

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