Is It Possible To Cook Food Using Only The Heat Of The Sun?

globe with thermometer
globe with thermometer - Piyaset/Shutterstock

Foodies who've been sweltering through hot summer weather in recent months may feel a bit fried themselves. But could they use these scorching temperatures to cook a meal or fix a snack — without the help of any traditional ovens, stoves, or other appliances?

The answer is often yes, even if there are some important things home cooks need to keep in mind. One classic technique involves making cookies or other baked goods inside a car parked in the sun with the windows up. When the thermometer reaches 95 degrees Fahrenheit outdoors, the surface of the car dashboard can rise to nearly 160 degrees in just one hour, with the temperature continuing to increase even higher over time. That's substantially lower than most baked goods recipes are designed for. However, those with the patience to wait an extra hour or more may find the longer exposure is enough to make up for the lower temperatures.

Read more: 14 Egg Hacks We Wish We Knew Sooner

Successful (And Unsuccessful) Solar Cooking Strategies

cooked and uncooked eggs on sidewalk
cooked and uncooked eggs on sidewalk - Karenfoleyphotography/Getty Images

Enterprising chefs who don't mind some assembly can use a simple solar oven to harness the sun's energy. A basic design involves a medium-sized box lined with aluminum foil and a cast-iron skillet. Food goes in the skillet, which is then covered, and the box gets closed and left in the sun. One expert who emailed with The Takeout credits the cast iron's ability to gain and maintain heat, while the cardboard and aluminum foil further insulate the oven's interior. Using this setup, reaching temperatures around 180 degrees Fahrenheit is possible. One TikTok user shows how cookies will bake inside a car if it's hot enough.

However, the old trope of cooking an egg on a hot sidewalk appears far less successful. Open-air concrete is unlikely to reach the adequate temperature to cook the egg, partly due to concrete's lighter color, which absorbs less heat. Those who insist on trying might have better luck using a pan sitting on the sidewalk or cooking on a darker surface like asphalt.

Regardless of how done any sun-cooked food may appear, it's also critical to keep food safety in mind. When in doubt, use a food thermometer to ensure the internal temperature has reached proper levels, which range from around 160 degrees Fahrenheit to 210 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the item. Other than that, cooking food using the heat of the sun can be a fun, no-sweat experiment to make those scorching days a little more bearable.

Read the original article on Mashed.