When To Use FREE Sunshine Instead Of Kitchen Appliances

by Texas Homesteader
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Want to use free sunshine instead of paying utility bills to run kitchen appliances? There are many ways to use FREE solar energy to replace some of your kitchen cooking. Sun tea, dehydrating produce or even solar cooking!

There are many ways to use FREE solar energy to replace your kitchen cooking. Sun Tea, Dehydrating Or Solar Cooking! #TexasHomesteader

(Note: Some links in this post will take you to other related articles for further information. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click and buy something I could receive a tiny commission.)

How To Keep Utility Bills Low

It seems utility bills are going nowhere but up. We’re all trying to watch those dollars carefully.

But there are easy ways to cut that utility bill other than just trying to keep unused lights turned off. How about using the energy of the sun to do what some of your kitchen appliances do for you?

Heat for cooking, heat for baking, heat for dehydrating – it’s all digging into your wallet in those hot summertime months! But there’s an option that often we don’t even think of that can save us some real cash. That’s absolutely free solar energy! 

Here are a few ways I enjoy using this amazing free resource to not only fill a need, but also save a few bucks.

How Does The Oven Affect Utility Bills?

One of the most energy-intensive acts in a home is producing heat. When you fire up the oven for instance, here are the effects:

      • Operating the oven costs a large percentage of your home’s utility bills,

      • Heat from oven transfers to inside space,

      • Air conditioning has to attempt to lower inside temperatures.

In the hot summertime I’m trying to keep cooking heat outside. Why not save the heat-producing chores to the sun – a free, natural resource. Here’s how I most often use it:

Brewing Sun Tea

Aaaaahhhhh Sun Tea.  There’s nothing quite as refreshing as coming in from the pastures on a hot summer’s day and enjoying an icy cold glass of sun tea. 

I fill a large repurposed picante sauce jar with water and add a tea bag, then set it in the sun for a few hours. And there ya go – Sun Tea brewed using only the power of the sun.

When the tea is brewed I bring it inside & dump it into my tea pitcher, adding another jar of filtered water, stir & pour over ice. Dee-Licious and oh so refreshing! 

And there’s no plastic to throw away or recycle like other drink options often have. My sun tea jar is simply washed & put in standby waiting to be used again and again.

The tea bag is put into the compost. It makes my crunchy-green heart happy.

NOTE: Some say if there are ‘toxins’ in the tea leaves that only boiling them will destroy those toxins. So if you have any concerns, skip the sun tea and opt for brewing it with boiling water instead.

For my family, I’ve made sun tea for years now and will continue to do so. But to each their own!

Dissolving Honey Crystals

I’ve also used free solar energy to heat & dissolve crystals that had formed in my honey. 

I use honey often but I keep it in pretty large quantities. So it’s not uncommon for the bottom of the jar to start crystallizing before it’s used. 

There are many ways to use FREE solar energy to replace your kitchen cooking. Sun Tea, Dehydrating Or Solar Cooking! #TexasHomesteader

No problem – a little time spent in the sun and this honey reverts back to it’s sweet pourable self with no further interaction from me! Now THAT’S what I call lazy smart!

Note: Keep Your Honey In GLASS Jars!

Now keep in mind if your honey is sold in those cute plastic squeezy-bear dispensers, it’s more difficult to melt the crystals safely. When I bought honey, I would only buy it in glass jars or immediately transfer from a plastic container to a glass one.

Now that we have our own apiary, our honey is stored only in glass canning jars. That way when it does crystallize (and real honey DOES crystalize!) it’s easy to use the sun to melt it back down to it’s liquidy sweetness again.

Using The Sun To Dehydrate Food

Several years ago I bought a * Sun Oven and I’ve been having a blast with it ever since. Mine came with the accessory package.


So one thing I use my solar oven for is to dehydrate garden veggie overages. No more wasted garden produce when it’s producing faster than we can eat it! I simply dehydrate the excess in my solar oven and store it in glass jars in my pantry.

You can dehydrate garden tomatoes in a solar oven and use no purchased energy. #TexasHomesteader

Dehydrated vegetables take up just a fraction of the space they did when they were fresh. And they take no additional energy to store like I’d have to use if I froze or canned them. 

I love to use this dehydrated produce during the winter when I’m making hearty stews & soups.

And in true lazy-cook style, when adding to simmering soups the dehydrated veggies rehydrate right in the stock pot as my soup is cooking.

Solar Oven Uses The Sun’s Energy To Cook!

Of course the main purpose of the solar oven is to cook food and I’ve enjoyed doing just that all year long.

There are many ways to use FREE solar energy to replace your kitchen cooking. Sun Tea, Dehydrating Or Solar Cooking! #TexasHomesteader

There’s a more complete list of solar cooking recipes following this post. but I’ve made some pretty amazing pasta marinara sauce, BBQ pork and I even baked quite a few potatoes.

I was surprised to learn that it doesn’t take the heat of summer for the solar oven to work, food can be cooked beautifully no matter what the outside temps are as long as the sun is shining. All you need is a shadow.

So as long as the sun is shining, you can use a solar oven to cook – spring, summer fall or winter!

Solar oven cooking - potatoes #TexasHomesteader

And get this – I ‘boiled’ whole eggs in my solar oven without using any water! I cooked them right in their cardboard carton. How cool is that??!!

And of course I’ve baked bread, made casseroles and melted beeswax in my solar oven as well. I think it’s safe to say I love my solar oven #dontyathink??

Use Solar Energy For FREE!

There are lots of ways for us to use this free resource all year long!  What are some of your favorite ways?


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Looking For More Solar-Cooking Recipes?

You can see our other SOLAR oven articles here

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* A word about our Affiliate Link. We are currently enrolled as an Amazon Affiliate.  Occasionally I will insert an affiliate link into one of my posts if I think it may be of interest to you.  I  receive nothing from the manufacturer. But I love this solar oven & thought you might too. If you click on any of my affiliate links and buy something (almost anything, not just what was linked) I get a small referral percentage from Amazon.  But here’s the really important part – the price you pay for your items is UNCHANGED.

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12 thoughts on “When To Use FREE Sunshine Instead Of Kitchen Appliances

  1. Pam

    These are such wonderful ideas. I had never even heard of a solar oven before! I’m looking into that for sure! Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty.

  2. Katy SkipTheBag

    I haven’t made sun tea in a while. I should try it again! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Deborah

    Great way to use the sun! We’d like to start using solar power, hopefully one day.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      We looked into solar energy when we built our home here, Debora. Unfortunately there was no state incentive to help defray the cost so it was just out of our reach, financially. BUT we incorporated passive solar in the design of our home so we still get to use the power of the sun to reduce our utility bills. ~TxH~

  4. Amanda

    I purchased a solar oven a couple years ago. I was going to use it if I needed for purifying water in a SHTF time. But, the other day I boiled eggs in it. I have hens and took eggs out of refrigerator, 6 eggs, place in a cardboard egg carton (per sun oven instructions only card board) set sun oven up for optimal sun. It took 3 hours and well done eggs were the result. If the eggs are room temperature then only half that time. Also do not preheat. I want to do more with it this summer so I will be checking your posts out. T.Y. for your pioneer spirit and sharing.

  5. The Rural Economist

    I have made sun tea before, but my family likes its tea sweet and I never got it to work well. I have been looking into building a solar oven though and I think that would be awesome. Thanks for sharing on Rural Wisdom and Know How.

  6. Joyce

    I have thought about getting one of those sun ovens, it is nice to see someone using it, and happy with it. Living in Louisiana I should be able to do alot with it, Thanks for sharing once again on Tuesdays With a Twist, join us again tomorrow I do enjoy your blog.

  7. Christien du Preez

    Sun ovens are just wonderful. My son bought one recently, and baked bread, and made quite a few stews. and this year I will dry apricots and peaches. Thanks for giving that tip, as trying to keep the ants, birds and other away from my drying fruit is sometimes quite hard!

  8. Bethany the ngnrdgrl

    Really neat! I’ve always wanted to try a solar cooker. Not super effective here in Seattle, but we get sun occasionally. 🙂

  9. Diann @ The Thrifty Groove

    Great money saving tips here. I make sun tea a lot and we have created a solar oven and played around with it in the past. I never thought to put my crystallized jar of honey out in the sun before. What a “Duh” moment for me! LOL Thanks for sharing at TTF!

  10. Pamela

    What an interesting post! I was unaware there was a solar oven. I’m eager to try your suggestons.

  11. Candy C.

    My favorite way to use the sun is line-drying clothes! 🙂


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