I’m thinking of getting one of these……
This is a solar cooking hot pot, available from Solarcookers.org. The main concept of a solar cooker is concentrating sunlight for use in cooking and purifying drinking water. This particular model can reach temperatures up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a more expensive model as it’s made of folding aluminum panels and includes the insulated pot - there are less expensive models, and you can even make one yourself.
To use these cookers, the food is placed in the pot and the pot is then enclosed in a plastic bag (oven bags work great for this and can be reused). The cooker is placed in direct sunlight until the food is cooked, which takes much longer than a direct heat source like fire.
You could build your own solar cooker, and it’s a good idea to brush up on the basic concept in case you’re away from home when a disaster strikes. A basic solar cooker can be made by covering cardboard with aluminum foil and adding a dark pot or heat absorbing bottom (you can even use soot from a fire to “paint” the bottom tray). If you live in a sunny climate like I do, you could utilize this cooker almost every day of the year. Heavy clouds, rain and extremely cold temperatures may prevent its use, but I think this is a worthwhile item wherever you live.
Rice, vegetables and even meat can be cooked in a moderately hot solar cooker. Water can be pasteurized at 149 degrees Fahrenheit. How do you know when it’s reached that temperature? Test have indicated that 2 liters of water takes at least 2 minutes and 4 liters takes about 5 minutes. You might want to experiment yourself with your own solar cooker and a thermometer. That way you can get a baseline about the length of time and keep this in mind during any emergency where a thermometer isn’t available.
Solar cookers have brought great relief to countries where fuel is scarce. This is a great tool to build and use during any disaster situation.