Unleash The Sun’s Energy: How To Use FREE Sunshine Instead Of Kitchen Appliances

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Summer months in Texas are hot & humid that’s for sure. So I’m employing tactics to use FREE solar energy to replace some of my kitchen cooking to keep that cooking heat outside where it belongs. Things such as outside 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

There are easy ways to cut that utility bill that don’t involve 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 tasks in a home is producing heat, whether using HVAC, water heater or cooking.

Electric meter electricity power generator grid #TexasHomesteader

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 to compensate.

So during the hot summertime I’m trying to keep cooking heat outside. Why not save the heat-producing chores for the sun – a free, natural resource. 

Benefits of Cooking With Solar Energy

There are several benefits of using the sun to prepare and cook food outside:

Cooking outside and using the sun's free energy can save you money. #TexasHomesteader

Save money on heating fuel.

Save money on re-cooling your home

Uses a natural resource.

Environmentally Friendly.

Keeps heat outside instead of your living space.

Helpful when dealing with power outages.

Brewing Sun Tea For Free Outside

There’s nothing quite as refreshing as 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. 

Sun tea can be brewed outside to keep cooking heat out of your home. #TexasHomesteader

There’s no plastic to throw away or recycle like other drink options. My sun tea jar is simply washed & put away, waiting to be used again. The tea bag is put into the compost bucket. 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 Using Only The Sun

It’s not uncommon for the bottom of a honey 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

I use free solar energy to heat & dissolve honey crystals.

A little time spent in the sun on my picnic table and this honey reverts back to it’s sweet pourable self with no further interaction from me!

Melting honey crystals in glass jar on dashboard of car #TexasHomesteader

Sometimes I use the dashboard of my car parked in a sunny driveway to melt those honey crystals. Now THAT’S what I call lazy smart! 

Note: Keep Your Honey In GLASS Jars!

If your honey is sold in those cute plastic squeezy-bear dispensers, it’s more difficult to melt the crystals safely. Only buy honey in glass jars or immediately transfer from a plastic container to a glass one.

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 Outside

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 I use my solar oven to dehydrate garden veggie overages like these tomatoes. And who doesn’t love sun-dried tomatoes?

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

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. 

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. 

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! 

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 use my solar oven to make:

Solar oven cooking potatoes outside using the sun. #TexasHomesteader

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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11 thoughts on “Unleash The Sun’s Energy: How To Use FREE Sunshine Instead Of Kitchen Appliances

  1. Katy SkipTheBag

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

  2. 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~

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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, I do enjoy your blog.

  6. 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!

  7. 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. 🙂

  8. 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

  9. Pamela

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

  10. Candy C.

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


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