by Texas Homesteader
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Heat for cooking, heat for melting, heat for dehydrating – it’s all digging into your wallet! 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.
(Note: Some links in this post are for further information from earlier posts I’ve written. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click them and buy something (almost anything, not just the item noted) I could receive a small purchase. But the price you pay will NOT change. It’s an easy way to support this blog without anything coming out of your pocket. So click often! Thank you!)
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. One of the most energy-intensive acts in a home is producing heat.
So 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 buy it in pretty large quantities. So it’s not uncommon for the bottom of the jar to start crystallizing before it’s used.
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
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
Last year I bought this * 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.
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, the 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.
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!
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?
Looking For More Solar-Cooking Recipes?
- Emergency Preparedness On The Homestead
- Using FREE Solar Energy Instead Of Kitchen Appliances
- Meatloaf In A Solar Oven
- Cheesy Chile-Chicken Casserole
- Boneless Breaded Pork Chops
- SW Chicken w/Seasoned Brown Rice
- BBQ Pork Sandwiches
- Homemade Marinara Sauce
- Pumpkin Bread
- Chunky Apple Cinnamon Bread
- Baking Bread In A Solar Oven
- Cooking Hard-Boiled Eggs In A Solar Oven
- Baking Potatoes In A Solar Oven
- Brewing Tea With The Sun
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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