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Sun Ray Cooker 11/30/10

The Sun Ray Cooker harnesses the power of the sun for a clever low-energy cooking solution.

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South Africans are known for their innovative and clever inventions – including everything from the Kreepy Krauly to the CAT Scan – and there are continuously new products hitting the market.

I was recently sent some information on the Sun Ray Cooker, a slow cooker which harnesses the power of the sun to cook food. Considering how many days of sunshine we enjoy each year, this low energy invention seems like a very useful creation indeed.

According to founder Herman Warren,the Sun Ray Cooker is “the safe, no-smoke, no-fire method of open-air cooking [that] brings a new dimension to outdoor living.”

Working best between 09:00 and 16:00, the Sun Ray Cooker harnesses the power of the sun to cook food without using electricity – and could not only be something that is useful to take on camping trips or haul out in the garden, but I imagine could serve a purpose in poor communities where people rely on gas or open fires for their cooking needs.

According to the Sun Ray Cooker website, you can cook anything from mielie meal to meringues and there is enough space to cook for up to 6 people at a time. One of the only things that you have to do though, is ensure that you cook with black pots – or wrap your pots in black foil which you can buy with the cooker. The black covering further absorbs heat, and so helps with the cooking process.

Herman says,”Users get into the habit of popping a meal into the cooker, leaving it out in the sun and going to the shops or gym. They then come back to a naturally cooked and nutritious meal. Solar cooking becomes part of the lifestyle. You plug into the great power-point in the sky and the sun does the rest.”

I also came across a post by Angela Day, who tested the Sun Ray Cooker by cooking a stew:

I tried it out to make a beef curry. I browned the meat on the stove before putting the curry in the solar cooker. It took 2-3 hours to make the meat meltingly tender and the potatoes and carrots were soft but firm and did not go mushy as would have been the case on the stove top. There is no evaporation of liquid so you end up with lots of delicious gravy.
I was surprised to find I needed oven gloves to remove the saucepan, it was that hot. The cooker reaches a temperature of 150°C, according to Warren, which is high enough to kill any pathogens and put any of my contamination fears to rest.

“The traditional South African braai will always have its place in the sun,” says Herman, “but solar cooking is a clean, convenient and eco-friendly alternative.

According to the prices on their website, here is a list of prices.

  • Sun Ray Cooker™ Price Point R850

A versatile solar cooking box that harnesses the power of the sun for all of your cooking needs. Solar Cooking in a Sun Ray Cooker is easy, fun, natural & nutritious. The units are ideal for use at home, at picnics, while camping or in the event of a power failure.

  • Sun Ray Cooker Foil™ Price Point R30

A specially designed reusable foil that may be wrapped around non-black baking tins, casserole dishes or small to medium sized pots to facilitate cooking in the Sun Ray Cooker solar oven.

  • Sun Ray Cooker Plate™ Price Point R65

The Sun Ray Cooker Plate is placed in the Solar oven ten to twenty minutes prior to placing pots in the Sun Ray Cooker to “pre heat” the unit and facilitate faster cooking times. Pots can then be placed on top of the Sun Ray Cooker Plate. It also is a useful aid when the solar cooker is used for baking.

  • Sun Ray Cooker™ Combo Price Point R899

Get yourself fully “kitted out” with a Sun Ray Cooker, Sun Ray Cooker Foil and Sun Ray Cooker Plate.

For more information:

Tel: + 27 (0) 82 560 9791



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Laura Cooke is the editor and creator of the Veggie Bunch website and community.

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2 Responses to this article

Roline November 30, 2010 Reply

This is very interesting, eco-friendly, and a wonderfully ‘natural’ way of cooking food. But I don’t think it is very practical for people who lead working, busy lives between 9am and 4pm and who live in urban centres. I live in a flat and although always keen to play my bit for the environment, this product would not work in my limited space. Hypothetically, even if I had the space, I can’t imagine it working for me, as I would have to get up extra early to prepare a meal mainly of starch, such as pap or rice, and still come home to prepare veggies etc. Are there any guarantees that the rice, for example, would cook 100% (not too dry, not too mushy) without supervision? I think this product would work well in communities that have limited access to electricity and can cook their main meal for lunch, but I am not convinced that it is a cooker for a medium-high LSM bracket.

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Herman November 30, 2010 Reply

Dear Roline,
The Sun Ray Cooker is like soap, whether you are on an upper or lower rung of the LSM ladder you can still use it, effectively I might add. The interesting thing about the product is nothing burns in it and it’s very difficult to overcook anything. There is an even rise in temperature to approximately 150 degrees in the cooker, and the cooking process is similar to the effect of boiling an egg, if you will, where the water helps to create a more uniform temp around the egg that prevents burning/overcooking. Regarding your rice concern/question, if the rice you seek to cook takes 1.5 hours to cook and you only get to it in five hours, provided it’s in pot with a tight fitting lid your rice should be fine (& not overdone, mushy, etc. I might add). In addition, since there is enough room in the cooker for two or more pots you can prepare a starch, vegetables, meat, etc. simultaneously. The Sun does most of the work & you can get on with the other aspects of your life, knowing your meal should be ready when you return. The time it takes you to prep your meal for cooking isn’t any more than it would be if you were cooking it on a traditional stove, so there really shouldn’t be a need to get up extra early because you’d like to use a Sun Ray. Provided your flat has an area such as a patio/veranda that gives you outside access to direct sunlight during the day you could easily incorporate a cooker into your meal preparation arsenal.
Finally given that nearly 10% of household electricity consumption/expense relates to cooking, using a Sun Ray Cooker can help save on your electricity bill & pay for itself in the short to medium term.

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