173 of 179 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2008
First use yesterday. Wash, DC area. Late winter, sunny. Ambient temp was high 50s to low 60s. Max temp of about 325, with the built-in thermometer showing 310 - 315 most of the 1.5 hours it was in use. Adapted a recipe from "Glorious One-Pot Meals" by Elizabeth Yarnell (available from Amazon) using an old one quart Pyrex dutch oven and doubling the cooking time.
The finished meal cooked up nicely. The original recipe called for 45 minutes @ 450 degrees. I'm an inexperienced cook, but interestingly, the lower temp and necessarily longer cooking time seemed to produce more liquid.
My one caveat is to follow the directions to pre-heat the oven and clean its interior well before your first use. The interior is plastic. I let the oven heat up a little, then ran a wet paper towel over everything. Off-gassing of the plastic that likely would have occurred had I followed the manufacturer's directions, instead occurred while my meal was cooking. Result was a slight plastic-y (and assuredly carcinogenic) taste in that first dish.
Good build quality, but clearly from a small factory. Not meant to be pejorative. In fact, I like the idea of the company being a small business, particularly in the U.S. However, we're used to perfect looking, assembly line manufactured, robotically assembled stuff and this isn't. The plastic shell appears to be custom fabricated. The other parts are off-the-shelf components that have been adapted for this use and clearly assembled by hand. Hence, you'll find exposed, untrimmed rivets and an entirely functional but somewhat roughly finished wooden frame to which the hardware is attached.
All in all, I like it and it's worth its purchase price -- generally between $240 and $300 depending on the retailer.
Works as advertised. Good build quality. Easily maintained temps above 300 degrees.
Plastic interior -- SEE BELOW!
23 Augusst 2008 Update -- after reading the comments on my and others' reviews, have double-checked and the interior is in fact metal. Nevertheless, follow the instructions and pre-heat a time or two before first use to allow the interior paint to finish curing, off-gas, etc.
Enjoy! Good stuff!
145 of 150 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2005
My mother first sent me plans for a solar cooker when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya back in the 1900s, but being young and foolish, I preferred to walk an hour to town for kerosene to light my little stove. (Heck, I couldn't cook, anyway.)
Being much older and a little wiser, I finally woke up to the idea of solar cooking. A parent at the school I work at donated the money to buy a Sun Oven, and my science class fired it up yesterday. I had never cooked in a solar oven before, so I was fully expecting some initial failures, which would be disappointing but instructive. I figured if it could heat up water, we'd bake brownies. The kids (7th and 8th graders) were unusually motivated to see this thing work. Some boys who have never previously volunteered in class eagerly peeled off the protective coating from the reflectors. We set the box outside facing the sun, and it quickly heated up to almost 300 degrees. It easily passed the water heating test, so other students mixed together my favorite brownie recipe (from Baking Illustrated), and into the sun it went. An hour later it passed the toothpick test, so the students tucked into moist, delicious brownies at lunch! It exceeded our wildest expectations for our first solar cooking attempt!
Today I've been experimenting some more, and I've cooked some brown rice (I'll use less water next time), a small loaf of bread (nicely browned crust in one hour), corn on the cob (no water necessary!), and an encore of the brownies. Everything has turned out very well, and all it took was turning the box every half hour or so.
301 of 321 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2008
I bought this oven over a year ago. Beware reviews written by people who are smitten with their new purchase. I was smitten too. I put it out there on the front lawn and it worked! It heated water, cooked food, everything came out great. It was magic. But then I began to notice that food that came out of the oven had a plastic kind of taste. Whatever the oven was lined with was contaminating the food with its smell...ugh! I cleaned and cleaned it, but nothing made it better. By the end of last summer, I was reduced to cooking everything in sealed mason jars to keep the smell off the food.
Then I visited my neighbor, the person who'd inspired me to get the oven in the first place. She showed me that the lining of hers was rotting and coming off. She said that the company had agreed to replace it. I was so disappointed. This was going to happen to all of them. I decided to hang onto mine and have asked a friend to replace the inner chamber with wood. I don't know if it's going to work or what, but I so enjoy solar cooking, I can't not try.
So please, try solar cooking. It's great. But not with this oven.
74 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2011
Works well, have reached 400 degrees on an April day in central AZ @ 5500 feet elevation, full sun.
You'll want to 'dry run' it in full-sun conditions 3 or 4 times before using it with food; as the enamel/paint they use to coat the interior bleeds into the food taste the first few uses.
Highly recommend, will purchase 2 more for family members.
72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2010
Global Solar Oven: I have baked cakes and bread so far. Everything has been done to perfection. Much easier than a conventional oven, and results are better. Only regret is that I waited so long to purchase one. Preheats much faster than a conventional oven, bakes evenly, and is close to normal cooking times. Well worth it !!
49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2011
I have two of these ovens (one for two years) and use them year round. They are like using an oven or a slow cooker. They are well made and are easy to use. The only thing you can't do in them is deep fry.
68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2011
Food has a plastic taste, point blank, yes it does.
Unfortunately, the taste is the key factor in cooking food, bad food is one thing, but plastic/chemical taste? It is not acceptable.
****Edit ***I have made some covered dishes that have not had the taste, I tried to get as good a seal as possible. Stick to covered dishes and it seems to be fine, however, cookies, bread etc, still has the plastic/chemical odor & taste.****End edit******
I have read reviews all over the internet and plastic taste pops up everywhere with repliers being extremely defensive of this oven and blaming it on the user. They didn't "cure it" or they should have covered the dish!!! LOL.....the company itself shows you baking bread, uncovered!.....so, why would you cover your bread when you can't see it?
Also, I put it back on the "repliers/defenders", uhhhh, maybe you are in denial because of why I would be;
* I spent money on this thing
* I wanted it to work so bad
* It is a great way to cook
* Food retains all natural flavors etc
* No cost to cook
* GOING GREEN Baby! yeah and all that stuff
I received a few weeks ago, I cured it as the instructions said. Biscuits and cookies tasted like plastic/chemical. That was the first thing that came out of my wife and daughters mouth.
I did not want it to be that way but it was.
*Reaches cooking temperatures, mine reached 320 degrees. They claim up to 400. I am sure somewhere it does. i am in Georgia, its hot, and yes I did seal it good.
*Easy to use, yep, very easy to use, just adjust every 30 mins to sun, no problem.
*Price is OK....not too bad for function of over, however, see negatives.
*Small American Business
*Plastic/chemical taste in food!
******I cured it, cleaned it, covered it, you name it, plastic taste is still there, as two family members complain about, I never said anything to them, tried to make it ok. They could taste it, period.
* Taste is the most critical factor in cooking this food. The chemical or plastic taste is not acceptable.
I loved the solar cooking, I can't think of a better way to cook and retain natural flavors. Unfortunately for the Sun Oven, the residue of plastic taste will force me to move to a different oven. I will search until I find one without an odor or taste in food. Solar cooking is the way to go, surely someone makes one without the bad taste. If you know of one, let me know.
Sun Oven....You need to address this issue.
44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2012
We are going to bake something every day now with no more worrying about how much electricity our electric oven is sucking up.
I just talked with the manufacturer because I was only hitting 250 degrees and he told me how to line it up to the sun to hit 350 degrees (basically you make sure the wood edge near the handle plumbs down to its own shadow when you are looking straight down). I had the angle too high and he said most people go too steep (about 2 clicks too steep) and not too shallow. You can maintain a full 325-350 by tracking the sun every half hour.
He had a few other tips: 1. Spray some water on the top of bread so it will brown in addition to cooking. 2.Every time you open the lid the temp drops about 25 degrees and will recover in a few minutes, so don't open the door too often. 3.You can put a frozen chicken inside at 8am, aim it to where the sun will be at noon, and feast when you get home. 4.Cook things in dark enamel (available at Target) or cover with a dark cotton cloth. 5.Cover or bring inside when not using to save cleaning time.
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2011
I selected this oven for the high temperatures because I wanted to bake bread. I've cooked in the oven several times a week in April - bread, cookies, vegetables, chicken, rice, beans, and casseroles. I'm using Graniteware enamel pots. I did not use any pan for bread and cookies. The food cooks quickly and tastes great (except for the first few loaves of bread.) I love solar oven cooking!
The oven temperature quickly reaches 375+ degrees on sunny days.
It is easy to carry and setup. It is easy to focus on the sun horizontally. The vertical focus is not critical.
The price is fair for the oven.
Indeed, there is an unpleasant plastic odor! It was quite strong at first, and seems to have gone away now (or maybe I'm getting used to it.) The bread picked up the taste. I worry about contamination to the uncovered baked food.
The sheild is not removable, so it is not easy to clean inside the oven.
Food spills if you are not careful placing it on leveler tray that acts like a hammock.
Would have been nice to include two optional enamel pots that fit in the oven together. I couldn't find 2 pots that fit at the same time.
The rear leg used to adjust the height tilt is very awkward to use. The oven must be held up while simultaneously depressing the button at the top and pulling the leg at the bottom. The button gets easily "lost" and is difficult to get back into one of the holes to adjust the height.
These design flaws shouldn't be difficult to correct. I'm not sure about the odor, though.
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2006
I bought the cooker for a recreational farm I go to on weekends, but I tried it out first at a family member's house. I cooked a 4# chicken with carrots that was incredibly delicious. The chicken cooked down to the bone but stayed juicy. The next day I cooked steak tacos;...delicious, and in the same day cooked my nephew's birthday cake. That was the topper. My family members where so impressed they requested I leave the cooker behind. Now I have to send them a solar oven. Oh, and I cooked all that without disturbing the air conditioning in the house.