Cooking with the Power of the Sun
Photo: Christy Wilson, RD
Product reviewed: GoSun® Sport solar oven
When you live in the desert Southwest, there are no shortage of sunny days. One way to make the most of all the sunshine is to cook with it! I recently tried out the GoSun® Sport solar oven and was impressed on several levels. Not only was it easy to set up, the cooking chamber heated up evenly and quickly, and it cooked my foods as well as any conventional oven or grill. The best part was that instead of using traditional fuels like gas, charcoal, wood or electricity, my food was cooked to perfection with the power of the sun.
As long as there is sunlight, the GoSun® cooker can reach temperatures of more than 550ºF (290ºC) and can cook a meal in as little as 20 minutes. Unlike other boxy, bulky solar ovens, GoSun®’s slim design allows you to fold up the two aluminum reflectors that protect the tubular glass oven, and the metal stand serves as a handle for easy portability.
When I opened up the box, I loved the fact that no assembly was required. I simply removed the plastic wrapping from the reflectors and cooking tube, attached the wooden handle and washed the cooking tray. Important to note is that both preheating the cooker and placing cold foods inside of it can cause thermal shock that may damage the glass cooking chamber. Also, the rubber stopper at the end of the cooking tube has a small depression that allows steam to escape, so make sure that vent isn’t blocked and is facing upward.
I liked that the GoSun® Sport cooking tube heated up evenly and kept potatoes moist and tender, which helped maintain great texture, flavor and nutrition. The concave cooking tray allows for heating up liquids like coffee or tea, combo-textured food like soups, as well as solid foods like meat and vegetables. Also, the outside of the tube stays cool to the touch no matter how hot the inside gets. This feature is especially important when kids are around and curious about the unique-looking cooker that effectively and efficiently uses solar energy to cook up a variety of tasty foods!
On a warm, clear and sunny day, I prepared my Solar-Cooked Seasoned Potatoes. About three cups of diced potatoes fit well inside the tray. To ensure the potatoes cooked evenly, I cut them uniformly and avoided piling them on top of each other. I angled the reflectors toward the sun and within 10 minutes, I could hear them start to cook. I checked the potatoes at the 25- and 35-minute mark, and they were fork-tender — and screaming hot! — at 45 minutes, a similar cooking time to most conventional ovens or gas grills. Curious to know how the GoSun® cooker performed on a cool, slightly windy and cloudy day, I tried the same recipe, and it took an additional 30 to 40 minutes for the potatoes to cook, so note that weather will affect total cooking time.
Solar-Cooked Seasoned Potatoes
Makes about 2 cups of potatoes
- 1½ cups diced russet potato
- 1½ cups diced sweet potato
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, combine potatoes, garlic and oil.
- Combine all seasonings in a small bowl or jar and stir or shake to combine.
- Sprinkle seasoning mixture over potatoes and toss to coat well. Place seasoned potatoes into cooking tray, spreading evenly.
- Slide tray into cooking chamber. Be sure vent (depression) in the rubber stopper is pointing upwards.
- Bake about 40 to 45 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
Christy Wilson, RD, is a freelance health and nutrition writer, speaker and nutrition consultant. Based out of Tucson, Ariz., she is a nutrition counselor at the University of Arizona and at a local HIV clinic where she also teaches a monthly cooking class. Read her blog and recipes at ChristyWilsonNutrition.com and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.