this ten panel system is much bigger than needed for a basic simple
house. I started out with two panels and a set of (two 6 volt
batteries making a 12 volt system).
I worked that for about four or five years. Then I decided I
wanted to get a computer, get a refrigerator, and do some things that
I couldn’t do when I had the small system, which was plenty adequate
for a radio, and lights, and (a recharger for small batteries).
THE BATTERY BANK
is the battery bank for storage of the electricity that is formed by
the (solar) panels. It
comes down (through the wires) from the panels into (the batteries).
Each of these is a 6-volt, golf cart or wheel
chair type battery … they give a long slow deep draw as opposed to
automobile batteries which are built to give a quick start but they do
not have the duration. So
you need deep (cycle) batteries.
You can get more expensive (batteries) that last better. (My
batteries) have to be replaced every seven or eight years, but they
work quite well. There is a governor to keep them from overcharging.
From here the electricity goes into an inverter than changes
(the electricity from 12 volt dc) into regular (120 volts ac.)
alternating current. (The
whole house is on alternating current and uses standard equipment)
except for a direct draw of the 12 volt system into refrigerator
(which uses 12 volt dc for higher efficiency compared to ac
in from the battery bank outside, the heavy cables come in to the
inverter. This is a (Model) 2012 Trace (inverter) which changes the 12
volt dc to 115 volt ac. And
then (the electricity) leads back out into the master panel and into
the various (regular) circuits in the house.
is a digital volt meter which tells me how much charge I have. It will
give a ring if (the batteries get) over charged or under charged.
(Essential equipment is near the volt meter). I keep my keys to the
battery box here. I keep a pair of (wire) cutters (here) in case I
have to break some (line). Anyway,
these (have) insulated handles (to protect from shock). There is a
note pad that periodically I keep the records of what is happening
with my whole system. (I
consider the on-going record to be essential to equipment
started out to be a passive solar greenhouse which means glazing, (and
mass), and black stuff and plants. And as it grew … it was
originally brown at the top and gray on the sides because that makes
it hot, you see. And then
after some years I thought, well, it is always overheating.
I am having to dump heat. And since solar energy can either
make heat or photosynthesis, (I thought) why don’t I cut down on the
heat by increasing the photosynthesis?
So I painted the whole thing white!
The plants love it.
I designed this (area) to be a place that I could do a mural. I could
draw in (dark) greens and reds and browns. I could make a pretty
mural. We don’t have to do black (to add heat). But it turns out I
don’t need (the extra heat) so I just put a geranium there instead.
understand that this foundation is a regular house foundation.
Outside has 2 inches of insulation going down 24 inches, so
that when the heat is in this earth (in the floor of the greenhouse),
it can’t dissipate easily out. It is insulated in here. The
cinderblock wall is insulated outside.
The roof is well insulated.
It is double-paned glass.
So it is a solar box.
of the problems at our latitude is that you can’t have the back of a
greenhouse too deep (or the back plants) don’t get enough light (and
reach for the windows). So I had the ceiling left open (for a little
less than half of the depth of the room giving room for shutters to
slide) so that I can have a lot of sun and then at night I have the
shutter(s) here that I can close.
Now that protects from chilling out in the winter time.
It also protects from overheating if I am away and can’t take
care of (extra ventilation if it is needed).
have had a number of different shutters. I started out with plywood
shutters, masonite shutters, (paneling), Styrofoam. (Some of them were
very heavy and awkward.) And
then one day things were falling apart and I thought well, I’ve got
to get something up there for a little while until I can get it fixed.
So I took 1 x 2 (inch
frames) and wrapped them with regular poly (sheeting and slipped them
in place … temporarily) … and they lasted three years. Besides, they are real light weight and easy to run back and
forth on what is roof edging. Just
that little trim that goes over the top of roofs, turned upside down,
makes the runners … very cheap. (Overhead glazing must be opaque,
like fiberglass, or plastic. Overhead
clear glass will overheat a greenhouse, even burn out the plants.)
one of the things you have to have with any greenhouse is good
ventilation (so I put in a west window opposite the door). This
greenhouse is facing south with (only) a west window (it has no East
exposure) – not ideal. I
should have an east window – but it didn’t fit it into (the
rectangular shape of) my plans (because that is most economical).
So I (put in a) west window.
I thought I would ventilate with that and give myself a little
bit of space up here to let the air out.
We put a solar chimney out there, which is simply an (open-ended
shaft), glazed on the south, painted black inside.
It just sits there and faces south and that is right over the
top of this vent. As
it turns out it draws the air so well I don’t open my window very
often. (The window only provides light from that direction.)
(The vent cover is opened and shut with a simple rope system.)
If it is a bad day, and I do not want to put too much cold in here, I
do it half-way, and at night in the winter I close it back completely.
did not chemicalize this soil when I started.
Now, (with) most modern buildings, the first thing that they do
after they have done the excavation is chemicalize all the soil so
that things won’t grow and insects won’t bother you.
But I did not have that done because I wanted clean soil for my
garden. (It has worked
fine except I absolutely must not put wood down on the ground as that
does bait termites in.)
(was) sub-soil. I brought
in potting soil and I brought in load after load of (horse) manure,
along with a lot of insects, (beetles and bugs) which I had to (catch
and put out) until they finally died out. But this then is a garden.
And in it are buried soaker hoses. And I keep the soaker hoses going so it takes care of itself
largely, except for the potted things.
(It takes) maybe five minutes a day just to come in and look,
and check if anything needs anything.
grow seedlings of course in the spring … flowers year round.
I also grow “boosters” for my salads. There is an herb, I
think it is savory, but there is some question about what it is … it
is a good salad taste. Collards, which give me a cabbage-type leaf by
just using (unintelligible) leaf.
There are cayenne peppers over there, but (they) are more
decorative than anything because I can only get 4 or 5 a year. Aloe
vera. And then there are
beets. The beets put up a
lot of greens. I just pick the big (leaves) at the outside. There’s
parsley, and lamb’s quarter, which around here is a weed (but) it is
a highly nutritious weed and very tasty and so I use it for cooked
greens and use it for salad greens.
And there is turnip over here. (I use turnip greens in salads.)
that is not a big salad (but it is nutritious and) it is big enough
for one person. When I
have (company), I have four tonight, I (add) lettuce from the store.
But this is where I will get my taste.
also have a tomato (plant) which doesn’t put out a lot of tomatoes,
but we get a little pickings (unintelligible) for taste, and that will
go in the salad.
this (greenhouse) is more than (for) nutrition.
This is a quiet place to just really thank God for nature and
be happy. I often just do
that. I just come in here. I use it for my prayer space, meditation
space, or just sitting down.
is an inverter that converts to 115 volts (ac) for the microwave, the
blender, the lights, and the food mill for grains.
This is the refrigerator. It runs on photovoltaic electricity
too, but it is tied in directly to (the) 12 volt (battery bank). So I
have no hook up with the (utility grid).
SOLAR WALL OVEN
is the solar (wall) oven. It
has got an inner insulated (oven) door and an (insulated) kitchen
cabinet door. This is the opening that goes through the wall.
There is a little throat there to put (the oven) farther out so
that it (extends beyond) the shadow of the eaves.
And the insulated door allows me to put whatever I want in
there. And it is wonderful! It
is like the top of the range, the wood range we used to have, where
you can put anything you want to cook gently and long term.
And I use it for other things too (that otherwise might be
boiled or treated with chorine bleach). I put my dishrags and pots
(and things that need sanitizing, like dishes if someone has a cold).
I put them in there and they steam and clean up.
I do teas, and brew broths, and all my (beans and) grains ...
when I am not playing around with other (solar cooker) designs that
are in the yard. (It will do fine meats and fish.)
(solar wall oven) is very handy.
It withstands winds and (during) intermittent snow storms and
rains storms, it may still hold enough temperature to keep cooking.
Port: Then I presume some of your solar boxes have been shipped all
over the world. (Correction: We shipped plans, not cookers.)
I believe so. Yes. Yes.
And the do-it-yourself plans for people to make their own have gone
many, many places…thousands of them.
Many people now make cardboard (solar cookers from) plans. (I believe
we were the first to make cardboard solar box cookers.)
We have cardboard plans. We also have plans for a wooden oven.
that, when we got into trouble talking about plans (for) two stoves?
This was in the early days. We
had not realized that (we did not have to provide plans for stands).
I cook on the floor, on the ground.
But if you want to, (you can) put it on a table, or if you want
to, put it on a push cart. Sherry likes hers on a wheel barrow
…although now she has sort of a doggy cart.
had not realized we did not have to (build the stands either). So we
had these two big wooden (solar) ovens up on pillars with rollers.
Oh, it was a lot of work. I am not a builder.
I just put things together and see if they will hold. So it was
we got them, and took them to Yuma. Because they wanted us to talk to
the Council of Governments down there and they were doing an energy
program and they wanted us to tell about it. So we took them down
there. It was a bad day (solar-wise)… Sort of a semi-overcast day.
We were doing chicken and rice.
We put it outside, (then) we went inside and did the talking
… the program. And then
we had (an interview with a) news reporter lady. We took her outside
and said “These are the stoves.”
She wanted pictures so we took her out to take a picture.
We looked in. The
chicken was done … smelled good … the rice was done.
She was oohing and ahhing, because it is sort of amazing.
was blabbing on…I talk a lot. I
said we have got plans for another cooker.
I described the plans for a different one.
I wanted to make one where I could pull the glass (to one side)
… instead of raising the glass up this way … because we had a
friend who was … there were really three of us to start with … I
wanted to pull the glass because she had arthritis so bad she could
not lift (the lid.) So I
had plans for that.
lady puts it out in the paper that we had plans for sale.
(She set the price at $1).
We got 110 requests (with $1. bills enclosed).
: 125 requests, and not a word on paper. Not (even) a sketch of
Not the slighted idea how you would make plans.
I bet your got them put together real quick, huh?
Yeah, but we did it.
We really felt with that response that we had to (because they had
sent money and the reporter’s reputation and ours was at risk.)
SOLAR HOT WATER HEATING
is the house water (heating) tank, the one with a slant face. You can
see that this is a similar design to the (kitchen sink heater) that is
in the front (of the house). This is a very low tech water heater.
Passive solar. (People often use one) as a pre-heater so that the water from
(a solar heater) goes into a propane or an electric heater.
If you have to raise the water temperature from 90 F to 120 F,
it takes a lot less fuel than if you raise it from 35 F to 120 F.
So as a pre-heater it is a great energy saver.
But I choose to use it as a stand alone, which means I do not
boost it. I use whatever
this is a heavily overcast day. We
are still in the morning and it has snowed already today …
so not good. Yet when we opened it you could feel a puff of
heat. (The tank) is warm to (the) touch.
I would say it is 75 F to 80 degrees F temperature there.
Even in mid-winter, (I get up in the morning and take a) shower
with not a chill. It is
just a neutral (temperature) kind of water.
This is an old electric water (heater) tank - stripped of its
insulation and painted black. The water from the well comes by gravity
feed into the bottom (of the tank). There is a pipe that leads that
water down to this end…that is the refill.
It gets hot, comes up and the water is drawn off into the house
from this top location. So
even if I draw a lot of water it mixes in, rather than cold coming
immediately out of here. It
(Clarification: Actually the water in the tank stratifies
rather than mixes. The less dense hot water floats on top. As
the cold water, which is heavier, comes in at the bottom oft the tank
to replace the water exiting the top, it forms a distinct layer
beneath the heated upper layer. Thus only hot water is withdrawn from
the top until it is pretty much depleted.)
is a needle valve that I had drilled and put in because there is
always gas in water. As it heats up, it comes off (and) you get a
pocket of air up here. Eventually ... if I feel it is not heating the water as well
as it might, I open this (valve) and let the air out so the hot water
comes all the way up to the top.
box around this (tank) is a simple basic (box), insulated sides, (45
degree) slant face for our latitude.
You see, I am at 34 degrees North latitude and that means a 45
degree angle is very functional here.
(The slant face of a cabinet-type water heater, in temperate
latitudes, should be angled above the horizontal by an amount equal to
the geographical latitude of the location plus 10 or 15 degrees. Our
choice of 45 degrees equals our 34 degree latitude plus 11 degrees.)
slant face has two layers of fiberglass glazing, and that is it.
I did have an (insulated), reflective cover. Never used it. I
thought I would use it to keep blizzards (snow) off. But I find I
don’t (need it). I just
ride out blizzards. Maybe
the water is cool for a while but its O.K.
is so far from the kitchen … maybe 40 feet
… maybe less … (that) I was drawing close to a gallon of
water to get hot water. Then,
I would turn it off and (it would) cool down (in the pipe) and I had
to draw that again. So for that reason I put in (another heater) very close to
the kitchen sink.
would think anyone using passive solar (water heating) might plan to
have a tank above each sink. A
sink in the garage could be done, or the shop, kitchen, basement,
(barns) could have their own direct draw. They are quite inexpensive.
You have to have the shell of course.
You can get these (tanks) …
this (recycled) tank cost me $15 … I think the other one was
$10 … and labor.
is real easy to set it up. This back panel, insulated, simply fits
into a (recess) here (and fastens with turn keys).
(main) water heater at the back is too far to bring (hot) water to the
kitchen. I (hate to) waste water. So I made this one very close.
It is made of a (used) 20 gallon RV water tank – ($10,
stripped and) painted black, and inside an insulated box, with a
glazed face. If I were doing this not for display I would put it right
above a sink (on the roof properly reinforced to carry the weight –
perhaps 1000 pounds) and then with less that a pint of water (drawn) I
get as warm as I have. It
is very comfortable. In
the winter, (the air) can be really cold, and yet in the morning I may
have 70 degree water. Even 50 degree water beats 35. (These are
sunrise temperatures. It heats up higher during every sunny day.)
And when the sun is out (in the summer time) I have (water) too
hot to touch.
GETTING THE SOLAR TECHNOLOGY OUT THERE
was when we realized there is a need … a recognizable need (for
solar equipment) beyond the curiosity (stage), beyond just showing
(and telling), (beyond) the fact that the
sun will do these things is very interesting. These were made in the
early days of the solar age.
consider that we are making slow progress.
There has been an awful lot of talk for decades (that)
“The sun will do these things.”
“Good potential here.”
“It will do this, it will do that, it will do the other.”
But what we did was we made a thing that (really) would do
(something useful) … (one that would cook.) Therefore we made a step
from theory to practicality. And
at the moment we made that step, we got this outpouring of interest.
It was a step from playing to a beginning of helping.
A step in the growth of solar that here was an accessible thing that
would (use) the sun (…economically).
(With our designs, we moved solar cooking out of laboratories,
away from high tech, into the home.
Therefore we were helping break down the barrier to the use of
DR. ROBERT METCALF
fact, Dr. Robert Metcalf in (Sacramento,) California ordered one of
our big wooden models. That
was almost mistake. It
weighed 80 pounds and we didn’t know how to wrap it.
We got three or four big cardboard boxes, and we wrapped them
over and held them with tape. And we couldn’t pick it up!
We got clothes line and tied around it in four directions.
We were really working even to get it to the bus station to
ship it. We stopped
several times and thought, “This is nonsense.
We can’t do this. I mean this is crazy.
We’ll never do this again. But we have got the commitment
now, we’ve got his check here.
And we will do this one. No
we got this down to the Greyhound (bus) station and they took it over
to Sacramento. And he
opened it up. He is
expecting a toy. Here is
this full sized cooker … this was in 1978, I believe. He put four big pots in there. He looks at that and takes out
his first (cooked) pot and
he realizes that this is really something he wanted to devote his life
to. And as a
microbiologist he could see the need for the ability to sterilize and
pasteurize as well as cook. And
every summer for 17 years now their family has been fed out of that
same cooker. When I go over there to visit, there is Ye Olde Solar Box
It is still there.
It was a miracle that we ever got it shipped.
. And Bob is still (cooking in) it.
That (cooker) went where it was supposed to go.
THE WATER SUPPLY
is a water supply from a home well which is 250 feet deep.
It is pumped by wind. See
the wind mill turning circles. It
works rather like a bicycle but it goes up and down and there is a
long 250 foot rod that goes down to the bottom and runs a plunger.
The water is pulled up and it goes either into the 1000 gallon
irrigation tank or (by) underground lines to this 500 gallon house
tank. And that is the total source of water supply for this area.
500 gallon house supply feeds into the house plumbing: kitchen, sink,
bathroom, shower. It also
goes into both of the hot water (heaters and waters the greenhouse).
And it feeds through a valve periodically into this (solar)
distiller removes the salts from the water.
It is extremely hard water and salts sbuild up in the water
that is (left) inside (the distiller), so you have to flush through 5
gallons (or) a little more every time it (has been) distilling, which
is every day that it is (sunny). It gets (the water) hot, (vapor goes)
up and condenses on the bottom side of the glass, runs down to a
trough here. A slight
gradient puts it into (the tube). Can you see it running now? From there it goes into a 20 gallon reservoir inside the
house where I pull off the drinking water into gallon (jugs) and take
it to the kitchen (for consumption and cooking).
distiller (spent water), which contains concentrated salts, is still
not too salty to be used for growing things.
And so I put it on this whole side garden (to grow) flowers,
salad stuff, herbs, this whole area ….
Oh, he has been incredible.
Dr. Metcalf is the gentleman who has done so much of the research for
water pasteurization which is (a) critical (contribution).
Yes. He is a professor of physical sciences.
But his major (interest) is microbiology. He had a master’s
student (who) did a series of pasteurization (tests using solar) boxes
… gallon (jugs) … (heating) times …
and laboratory studies of water at certain points.
(They) established (definitively) what was needed in order to
kill viruses, rotoviruses, bacteria, eggs, cysts, worms (in solar
cookers) … the whole spectrum.
fact, if you bring anything to cooking temperature, it is dead.
(Insert: But it does not kill the heat resistant spores.) So
you can (heat water) beyond the (pasteurization) temperature he
recommends, (but it is time wasted).
(Water) does not actually have to boil (even to pasteurize).
If it is 15 minutes at (170 degrees F), an hour at (certain
lower) temperatures. (Detailed
information and reprints of Bob’s publications are available through
Solar Cookers International, 1919 21st St., Suite 101,
Sacramento, CA 95814;
Phone number: 916 455-4499). (Using
solar energy is a) very simple, cheap way to pasteurize very
effectively. (There is
now a Water Pasteurization Indicator dubbed the “WAPI” developed
by and available from Solar Cookers International, which eliminates
the need for a thermometer.)
VARIOUS BOX COOKERS
are all variations on solar boxes.
This is the Kerr-Cole EcoCooker, which is our original
(manufactured) one, which is (no longer available.) We just lift lid
back and put your food in. It
is a very good cooker. Solar
Box Cookers International arranged to (make) one that would collapse
down and it will go into this size box (could be carried on an
airplane) … whereas that one does not collapse. This one is a
version of (the Eco Cooker) made from home construction plans.
And they all cook. Some better … nobody has beaten our
Kerr-Cole EcoCooker yet with (simple solar) boxes.
the production of this video, we participated in the identification
and development of a whole new line of solar cooker design … solar
panel cookers. These very simple units have been so successful that Solar Box
Cookers International changed its name to Solar Cookers
International so as not to limit itself to box designs.
The main effort of SCI today is in the promotion of panel
cooker technology in refugee camps and underdeveloped parts of the
like the flat top because they stack better. Plus, they look more
there are advantages at our latitudes in having a slant face. Dr. Paul
Funk, an engineer(ing) (graduate of) the University of Arizona, has
designed this very nice concentrating parabolic (cooker), which
internalizes the reflectors. It has (reflectors) inside.
In certain locations, like here, it is wonderful because it is
wind resistant. This
thing is heavy on the bottom and if the wind comes, it just scoots
around like that (without turning over). (External) reflectors tend
eventually to turn (cookers) over (in gusty wind). They are (all)
pretty durable, (yet ) nice and light weight.
They are all light weight. When you get to the wooden ones …
those are heavy.
pointing out models: Original … Portable …. Home-crafted ...
Slant-faced with internal reflector(s).
olde push stick. This is
like (the oven) we sent to Bob Metcalf, made (with) our wooden (Patio
Solar Cooker) plans, (which we still sell).
It is a very basic (solar box).
It was designed so you can take the kind of wood that is
produced in our lumber industry, and cut square cuts, and put it
together. So it avoids
having to rabbit and it avoids having to cut angles.
(It is an) insulated box (with) double glazing.
I glue a little (lift) tab on the top glazing and just set it
in there because I don’t want to trap moisture in there I can’t
get out.. It does very well. (I can lift the top piece of glass to
clean since it is) not sealed in. (Home-crafted wooden framed double
panes always seem to trap moisture.) This thing never tips up.
(The glass is) perfectly safe and can last for years there.
the bottom is again a black tray.
It is (placed) up on some (spacers) so it is lifted off the
bottom of the oven. The temperature that this one gets … it has maximized at
354 F … but more or less in the 300 F range. The others … 275 F to 300 F for the hand crafted ones.
Slightly lower for the portable, but it is nice to be able to
carry one on an airplane. The
Eco we know it is going to hit 300
F on any good day.
DOWNDRAFT SOLAR FOOD DRYER
(solar food dryer) was built as a prototype in 1985 and I have used it
every year since. You can
see how the air flows through the intake where it drops the sand and
silt, (flows) up through the (heat) collectors, into the top of the
cabinet (where the trays are arranged in two stacks). (The warm air)
heats a metal plate (forming) the top third perhaps of this wall.
Which, on the other side, (of the metal) heats air (in the
exhaust chimney) which causes a rising column.
This (exhaust chimney) is air tight except for an intake at the
bottom, (between the cabinet and the exhaust chimney).
So the only place when this exhausts that it can get refilled
is from the bottom. You get a little vacuum there.
(Since the cabinet box is air tight, the only way the air can
be replaced is through the solar heaters.)
pocket of hot air has heated the chimney and it also begins to draw
down through the food, picking up moisture, getting heavier, cooling a
bit. And as it reaches the bottom, the exhaust chimney takes it out.
That is a real advantage because in your updraft dryers, your heat
flows up through your food and out an exit (at the top).
(Heat) can go up into the food down a number of times during a
cloudy/sunny, “on again - off
again” day (without ever exiting at the top).
(This encourages spoilage.)
your down draft dryer, if it is sunny, you have your exhaust vent
working and your (warm air) flow(ing).
If (there) is not enough heat here to start the exhaust (flow),
your heat (pockets at the top of the cabinet and) does not get into
your food. And therefore,
you have reduced spoilage. And (the safe drying) is also based, I think, in part on the
fact that there is no stagnant portion (in the drying cabinet) here.
(So there is practically never a problem with mold.) So you have
better food preservation.
alternative theory on why a down draft dryer works so much better
holds that when warm air is introduced at the top of the
cabinet and is forced to pass downward through the cabinet, it necessarily
does so very evenly. As a result all the food on the trays receives a
fair share of the drying action. An updraft dryer, on the other hand,
introduces the warmer, dryer, lighter air at the bottom, which
allows it to rise in an uneven fashion. There is nothing to prevent
the air from forming vertical rising channel which favors a column
within the cabinet, bypassing much of the food. This causes uneven
drying in which some food may spoil from being held warm but still
moist for too long a time.)
down to the lower drawing: this is a schematic of the floor.
It is based on a 4 x 8 sheet of quarter inch plywood. Could be harder; could be something else. Whatever you want.
It has the exhaust vent, the area for the trays, the area for
is important to see these collectors not as the big block but (each)
as a shallow tray coming up this way, independent of each other.
This one takes in air (and) gives it out to the cabinet. This
(east) one starts with the early morning sun … takes in air and
gives it out warmed into the cabinet.
And then in the forenoon, you get both of these (east and
south) working. This one
(the east collector) drops off and you get these (the south and west
collectors) in the afternoon, and this (west one works alone during)
the final part of the day. It
won’t work if (the collectors) are not separated because if they are
all in one cluster, your heat will migrate from the heating side and
chill out on the cold side and never get into your cabinet.
is the air intake (coming) from the (solar) collectors.
I can feel the warm air moving through my fingers coming into
the cabinet. If the doors were closed, it would make a pocket of air
that would heat this metal sheet and cause a rising column on the
you see a black cage back there, that is an additional exhaust chimney
that I put in when I realized I had made (the original exhaust ) too
narrow. So it is a
change the theory.
doors are plug doors. They
are framed in such a way that they fit tightly into here because you
want this cabinet to be air tight.
Otherwise, you are not drawing the hot air down and out.
You draw through the door. So you need a plug door that is
rather tightly fit.
(food) has been (in) about 36 hours.
This, of course, is my hottest tray and it is cracking.
This is the tray on the bottom.
And it is not quite crackling but very close to it.
I like them to be brittle … I like chilies to be brittle dry.
The tomatoes are finished. Those
will be used chopped up in salads or put into casseroles or soups.
Or just eaten like fruit.
They are delicious. And
they are done.
DISPLAY OF SOLAR DRIED FOOD
is a collection of the food that has been processed for preservation
here. Much of it has been
done in that (downdraft) dryer. This
(tray) is all solid vegetables: corn, okra, carrots, tomatillos,
squash, broccoli. They go into soups.
They are great soups. There
are tomatos and peaches in here.
This was dried in 1991. It
still (has) vivid color and is in good condition in the February of
1994. I am keeping it
just to see how long it will stays in good condition. This has been
kept (in the dark) at room temperature … (70 to 75 degrees F).
my soup I also have tomatoes that are canned in the solar box oven.
Tomatoes and fruits (sour foods) can be done by just putting
them in (canning) jars tightening (the lid) and putting them in a
solar box. Things like
meats, (this is elk meat) and green beans have to be done by pressure
canner. (Use any fuel you can) to make the pressure.
Solar energy (can) do pressure canning and that is how those
lot of the preservation is fruit.
This is fruit roll. Apples,
raisins, peaches, apricots…any kind of juicy fruit dries beautifully
in there. Or dried fish. They
work excellently. This is a whole set of greens: chard, beet greens,
green beans, onion greens, turnip greens, kale, and beets. I use them
all winter long. I put
them in a pot with a lot of water, put them in a solar oven (until
they are cooked). Then I
pour the water off and that is a vegetable drink or water (to cook)
rice, or water for soup. And then I serve the greens over toast. And
they are good. (I use them to) keep a well rounded diet going (in the
winter), in addition to the (food from the) greenhouse all year.
you (use) the standard size (EcoCooker),
you can take a case of quart jars, fill them full of water, put
dome (canning) lids on (tight and) put them in (the oven.) And, if you
don’t paint the quarts dark, it takes 6 to 7 hours in Arizona sun to
bring (the twelve quarts) up to pasteurization temperature.
(Darkened quarts take 4 or 5 hours to bring it up to
pasteurization temperature.) But then you have got three gallons of
water (sealed in
pasteurized) containers with lids on.
You can take them anywhere you want to. You can carry them in
your back pack. You can put them in your truck.
You can put them on the shelf and keep them. For the United States people,
pasteurizing in quart jars seems like a very good way to go.
people build a deeper oven so that they can put gallon (jugs) in
there. You always cook better if you paint (the containers) black. If
you don’t want to (paint the jars) black, you have to take longer.
Metcalf has figures on how long it takes to do the gallons.
I have never built one of those big ones.
I have just seen the pictures and I know that it happens.
are other ways of pasteurizing (without using sealed quart jars). The tricky point is that once you get it pasteurized, (the
water) has to be kept clean. You
can’t get your finger over the edge, or stir with a dirty something,
or let the flies crawl in it. And
you have to drink it from a clean container.
So if you have it in a jar that is already sanitized, then it
is easy. (Each person has
their own jar and drinks from it replacing their own lid.) But
otherwise, you might put cups in your solar (cooker) until they get
too hot to touch, and knock down the microbiological growth that way.
Or in some way have (only) clean things touch the water from the point
of pasteurization to the point of (using it.)