By Matt Wilson, Meike Schleiff, Ashley Burba, Scott
Rowland, Eric Davidson, and Kimberly Blanton
SENS 100
Spring 2008
The CooKit is the most
widely used type of solar
cooker in the world
Sometimes referred to as a
panel cooker
It was developed in 1994
by a group of volunteer
engineers; with the goal to
make it available for the
world’s neediest
CooKits are now
produced independently
in 25 countries at a
wholesale cost of $3-7 US
One does not have to move the cooker around
as much to follow the sun
The temperature is more even
The shiny, flat surface is less harmful for eyes
Requires no windows or insulation
It folds down nicely for easy storage
All you need is a large
piece of cardboard,
aluminum foil, a
cutting device, a glue
or tape to hold the
aluminum foil.
One can find the
dimensions online at
You will need a dark pot with a tight fitting lid,
an oven bag, or a clear glass bowl that can hold
the dark pot.
Set the cooker in direct sunlight away from
Place the pot of food in the bag or glass bowl
on the flat surface of the cooker.
One can leave the food in the sun for 3-4 hours
without having to ever stir it.
The CooKit is great for cooking rice and beans,
baking bread, and pasteurizing water.
Soak about 1/2 pound of pinto beans in water overnight. Drain the beans and add fresh
water to cover the beans by about 1/2 inch. Add a pinch of salt- some chopped onion, a little
garlic, and a slice of bacon if you like. This all goes into a covered dark pot and is cooked
ALL day in the solar oven. If you notice the water has boiled away, just add more hot water.
They are done when they are tender.
Inside a dark, covered pot place 2 or three medium size, whole potatoes- any type. No need
to preheat the oven. Let them bake all day in a slow oven of about 250 degrees F. Here is
where you can set the oven due south and just leave it alone while your are at work or
playing. Garnish them however you prefer or just eat them plain.
1 cup brown rice 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups water Place ingredients in 1-quart dark pot with lid
in 250-275º solar oven for 1 hour or until done (water absorbed).
Slice 4 onions. Add the onions and 1 can of beer to a covered pot. Simmer in the solar oven
until the onions are tender. Add uncooked BRATS and continue cooking for about 45
minutes or until the sausages are done. Serve as is or heaped onto a bun!
For more complex recipes, ask Kimberly
Haybox cooking
has been used for a
long time. The basic
idea is to bring a pot
of food to boil, then
put some form of
insulation around it.
The heat in the pot
will continue to cook
the food.
Fuel savings of 20%-80%,
depending on the food and
the amount cooked
This is a very appropriate
technology where there is
limited wood for cooking
Works great in tandem with
solar cooking
Can be used when it is
cloudy or dark
May be more culturally
Design isn’t too critical, although
some haybox cookers are more
efficient than others.
Ideas of designs:
One cardboard box inside
another with insulation between
Baskets filled with insulation
with cloth around the pot
Sleeping bags (make sure they
don’t melt)
Large pillows
A pit dug in the ground, with
Beanbag chairs (we used to do
this in the Philippines!)
Suitable insulation
could include:
Straw, sawdust,
vermiculite, wool,
cotton, feathers, rice
hulls, banana leaves,
newspaper, etc.basically anything
insulating that won’t
Generally, cooking times are a bit longer, around 2-3 times the normal
cooking time. Examples of cooking times:
One last thing: since less water is evaporated away in retained
heat cooking, you should use about ¼ less water than usual.

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