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A cool new solar oven

The Sun Oven is greening America and feeding people all over the world.

Cooking it old school. SUN OVENS International

Last night, the kids wanted pizza. My 30-minute pizza recipe calls for heating the oven to 500 degrees. I live in Houston. It is June. It was, shall we say, slightly warm in my house last evening. I do not enjoy heating the house just to feed my children.

I'm not sure a Sun Oven would solve my problems, but it is a cool concept, and a nice way to experiment with greening your footprint a little.

The Sun Oven can be used for anything you'd cook in a conventional electric or gas oven and most things you cook on a stovetop. You can't fry with it, although you can bake, boil, and steam. Cooking temperatures vary depending on the brightness of the sun and how often the oven is refocused to follow the sun, but generally speaking, you can cook at 360 to 400 degrees.

Cooking time is pretty similar to using a conventional oven, at least according to the manufacturer. You can refocus the oven to follow the sun every 25 to 30 minutes--but, sometimes clouds hide the sun, so... yeah. But on the bright side, it's nearly impossible to burn anything in this oven.

You can also use the oven as a slow-cooker. Prep your dinner in the morning, put it in the Sun Oven, and focus the oven where the sun will be at about the halfway point. At dinnertime, enjoy your slow-cooked meal.

You can buy one Stateside for less than $300, and part of the proceeds go to providing Sun Ovens to families in developing countries where resources are scarce.