Solar cookers work by harnessing the rays of the sun and concentrating them in a small area. After a length of time, the temperature inside a solar cooker climbs very high and cooks the food. Usually, solar cookers require no power, and they rely on reflective surfaces or lenses to function.
Solar cookers vary in design, but many feature a chamber lined with reflective surfaces, such as aluminum foil and a clear, plastic or glass window, through which the sunlight enters. When sunlight passes through plastic or glass, its spectrum shifts, and much of the ultraviolet radiation is filtered out. However, this filtered light transforms into heat, which raises the temperature inside the solar cooker.
Alternatively, solar cookers are sometimes designed to work without an enclosed space. In such designs, the food is suspended over the reflective surfaces. The reflective surfaces concentrate the sun’s rays directly on the food in these types of solar cookers.
Solar cookers are often used by campers as they require no fuel or resources to operate, except for the sun. Solar cookers are also popular for dehydrating fruits, meats and vegetables to make jerky. Solar cookers are more effective in places with strong and consistent sunlight.