Are you the proud owner of a SUN OVEN®? We hope you are prepared for emergencies when the power to your cooking appliances is interrupted. There are many situations when we may need an alternative to our ovens and cooktops. The SUN OVEN® is an efficient option in disaster situations and in everyday use, too.
So, having purchased one, have you opened the box to examine and prepare it for use? The All American Sun Oven® ships with a
set of pot and pans that are lightweight graniteware that heat up quickly. The baking pans are non-stick. What did you get? Have you washed them and started using them? They can be used on a conventional stove or campfire as well. When you first open the package, set it up outside and preheat some soapy water. Steaming this inside the oven will prepare it for use. Once you’ve prepped the oven, why not go ahead and cook something? Our website is jammed with recipes to use. The three drying racks make wonderful supports with parchment paper to hold cookies while they bake.
Are you planning a trip this summer? Will you be cooking? Take your SUN OVEN® with you. It can be used to keep food cool until you’re ready to cook and works great if you’re camping in a no burn area, where campfires are prohibited because of drought.
Look at using your SUN OVEN® as a challenge. How many times can you use it in a week? Take the time to listen to the videos on our website and become familiar with it’s set up and use. Remember familiarity will save you hours of guesswork during stressful times. With the longer sunlight hours of summer and lots of fresh foods available to cook, save some electricity in your home by cooking with solar energy. SUN OVENS® are not just for emergencies. They can be used every day. What is the most unusual thing you’ve cooked in your oven? Send your week’s list to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to reading your mail.
There are Alternative Grains to Wheat
In an effort to have a more healthy diet, many people have incorporated whole grains into their meals. Whole grains consists of three parts:1. Bran, containing a small amount of protein, three major B vitamins, trace minerals and insoluble dietary fiber. 2. Germ, the baby plant, contains a large share of B vitamins, some high quality protein, trace minerals and some fat. The germ is often separated from the flour in milling to extend it’s shelf life. 3. Endosperm, the source of white flour, makes up the largest share of protein, carbohydrates, iron and B vitamins. It is also a source of soluble fiber. This whole food keeps you feeling full longer, keeps your blood pressure under control, balances blood sugar, and stores well.
There are more varieties of whole grains than just wheat. When you shop in the bulk section of your grocer, you will find many choices. Don’t be overwhelmed by the variety, it’s a good thing to have choices. Whole grains pick up flavors from whatever they’re cooked with and are easy to cook, many within 20 minutes. Those that take longer, can be cooked ahead and refrigerated for up to five days, or frozen and reheated. Pre-soaking them over night will also shorten cooking times. This primer will help you understand their features.
Amaranth - has been cultivated for 8,000 years by Aztecs. It must be cooked to be digested and can also be popped like popcorn. Amaranth has 13-14% protein and contains the amino acid lysine. To cook bring 2 cups liquid to boil, add 1 cup grain, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Yields 2 1/2 cups. Season it with olive oil and herbs or serve it as a cooked breakfast cereal like oatmeal. Grind two tablespoons and add to basic bread flour or pancake batter for added nutrition.
Buckwheat - is not a grain cereal but rather related to rhubarb, so it is considered a fruit seed. It is gluten-free for those who are sensitive to wheat or other grains. The component rutin strengthens capillary walls. Nutrients in buckwheat may help control blood sugar and manage diabetes. It is a good source of magnesium, which relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow. To cook boil 2 cups of liquid, add 1 cup of buckwheat kernels and simmer for 20 minutes until tender, Yields 4 cups. Its nutty flavor goes well with hearty vegetables like mushrooms or carrots. It works well as a filling for stuffed peppers, also.
Millet - not just for birds, this tiny gluten-free grain is a food staple in India, Africa and China. It is high in magnesium and aids in nerve and muscle function. Tastes like a cross between quinoa and corn., cooks in about 30 minutes, and requires no pre-soaking. Toast it in a skillet for 4 minutes to enhance its nutty flavor. To cook boil 2 1/2 cups liquid, add 1 cup millet, cover, simmer for 18 minutes and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluffing it with a fork gives individual grains. Cook it with more water and stir frequently to make a creamy, porridge type dish. It can be added to cornbread or muffin mixes or served like mashed potatoes.
Quinoa - Domesticated for human consumption 3,000 – 4,000 years ago, this ancient South American crop is high in protein. Available in three varieties, red, black and white, this seed has an earthy taste. Related to the beet and spinach family, it lacks gluten and can grow in dry soil. To cook boil 2 cups of liquid, add 1 cup quinoa, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Yields 3 cups. Serve as a side dish instead of rice or toss it in a vegetable salad containing sauteed cherry tomatoes, olive oil, basil and Parmesan cheese. Freezes and reheats easily.
Barley - a versatile grain, comes in both hulled and pearled varieties. Hulled, has had the outermost hull removed. Pearled has had the hull and the bran removed. It has a nutlike flavor and is chewy, like pasta in consistency. When fermented, barley is used as an ingredient in beer and other alcoholic beverages. Hulled barley takes about an hour to cook. This time can be shortened by pre-soaking overnight. To cook add one cup of barley to three or four cups of water (like cooking pasta). One cup will yield 3 cups. It is starchy and soaks up liquid like a sponge. Add it to a big pot of simmering soup. Barley’s fiber helps with regularity and intestinal health. Presoaking overnight with a tablespoon of yogurt in the liquid allows lactobacillus bacteria time to begin fermenting barley’s insoluble fiber. This fiber is food for these friendly bacteria residing in your intestine. Friendly bacteria populations keep your intestine healthy.
Teff - the smallest grain in the world, this nutritional powerhouse has been a staple of Ethiopian cooking for thousands of years. Teff has a mild nutty flavor and contains lots of calcium, protein and fiber. It is added to porridge, stews, pilaf or baked goods. It is gluten-free as well. To cook bring 3 cups liquid to a boil, add 1 cup teff, cover, and simmer 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Yields 2 1/2 cups. It can be eaten as a breakfast cereal or added to pancake batter.
Wild Rice - is a grass, the only native grain in North America, originally harvested by Native Americans in canoes. Wild rice contains the bran, endosperm and germ so it takes longer to cook than white rice. It remains chewy after cooking with a distinct nutty flavor. Cook like pasta in lots of boiling liquid, cover, and simmer 45 minutes to one hour, Yields 2 1/2 cups. Mix with brown rice, use in stuffing or serve with sauteed mushroom. This is a great addition to soups or salads with nuts and fruits.
Any of these alternative grains can be prepared in the SUN OVEN®.
Cook 1.5 – 2 hours until grains are soft. Be sure to add salt when cooking, it brings out the flavor. Resist the urge to stir the grains, just fluff with a fork when moisture is absorbed.
Billie Nicholson, Editor
If you are warned of an approaching wildfire, get your family together, then:
- Evacuate your pets and anyone with medical or physical limitations and young children immediately.
- Wear protective clothing.
- Remove any flammable materials like trash, lawn furniture and vehicles from around the house.
- Shut off any natural gas, propane or fuel oil supplies at the source. Check garden hoses and be ready to soak roofs, shrubs and trees with water within 15 feet of buildings.
- Close all windows and doors, and remove all flammable window coverings. Open fireplace damper and close the screen. Close outside attic, eaves, and basement vents. Close all shutters, blinds or heavy non-combustible window coverings to reduce radiant heat. Turn on outside lights and a light in every room for visibility in heavy smoke and distribute flashlights to all family members.
- Fill pools, hot tubs, garbage cans and any other large containers with water.
- Place a ladder against the house in clear view.
- Back your car into the driveway and close all windows.
- Disconnect automatic garage door openers so you can open the door without power, if necessary. Close the doors.
- Monitor news reports so you know the danger you’re facing. Prepare bug-out bags for evacuation and be sure to include your important papers and anything you “can’t live without”. Pack these items into the car.
- If you are told to evacuate, follow routes directed by local officials. Leave doors and windows closed but not locked. It may be necessary for firefighters to gain quick entry to fight fire in your home. The area will be patrolled by sheriff’s deputies or policemen. Fires can change directions quickly, be prepared to change your route if blocked.
- If you’re in a car, roll up the windows and close air vents. Drive slowly with headlights on. Watch for other vehicles and pedestrians. Do not drive through heavy smoke.
- If you have to stop, turn the engine off, but keep headlights on for visibility. Keep windows and air vents closed. Get on floor of auto and cover yourself with a blanket. Call 911.
- If you’re caught in the open, go to a clearing. If you’re close to a road, lie down in a ditch and cover yourself with anything that can protect you from the heat.
- If you evacuated, don’t go home after a wildfire until you’re told it’s safe to do so.
- Hopefully your home is unharmed. Be sure to check roofs and attics for hot spots and sparks and extinguish them immediately. Check every few hours for a day.
- Use caution when entering a building and avoid standing water. There may be an electrical charge.
- Check all utilities and consult a professional if damage has been done.
Billie Nicholson, Editor
Due to continued drought, the possibility of wildfire continues throughout the western states. When fires burn through areas, some homes are spared and others are not. Is there a way to make your property more fire resistant?
One way to help protect your home is to create a defensible space around it. What does this mean? It’s a buffer you create between buildings on your property and the trees, grass, shrubs or any wildland that surrounds it. This space will slow or stop the spread of wildfire and protect your home from catching fire. Defensible space will also provide protection for firefighters defending your property. To create a 100 foot space, divide it into two zones.
Zone one is 30 feet around your house or any other structure associated with it. In this area work on a major clean up removing all dead plants, grass and weeds from your lawn. Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof and rain gutters. Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees and from your house. Remove any dead branches that hang over your roof. Move any wood piles out of this perimeter. Remove any vegetation that could ignite and spread to decks or patio furniture.
Zone 2 includes the next 70 feet outside Zone 1 to make a total of a 100 feet perimeter. Cut or mow annual grass to a maximum of 4 inches. Create horizontal and vertical spacing between shrubs and trees. Remove all tree branches at least six feet from the ground. Lack of vertical space will allow fire to move from the ground to the brush and then to trees. Remove fallen leaves, needles, bark, cones and small branches that accumulate to a depth greater than 3 inches. When you landscape, consider planting fire-resistant plants and place them strategically to resist the spread of fire to your home. Have multiple garden hoses that are long enough to reach around property.
Homes located up to a mile from wildland fires can be destroyed by flying embers. Here are some things you can do to harden your home to make it more fire resistant.
- Roof – the most vulnerable part of your home. Wood or shingle roofs are very flammable. Use composition, metal or tile. Block any spaces between decking and covering to prevent embers from catching fire.
- Vents - create openings for flying embers. Cover them with 1/8” to 1/4” metal mesh. Don’t use fiberglass or plastic because they can melt and burn.
- Eaves and Soffits - should be protected with non-combustible materials.
- Windows - can break from wildfire heat before the house catches fire. This allows embers to get into and ignite fires inside. Install dual-paned windows with one pane of tempered glass to reduce the chance of breaking during a fire.
- Walls - Wooden products on the outside of houses as siding materials are combustible and not recommended for fire-prone areas. Use ignition resistant building materials like stucco or other approved materials. Extend them from the foundation to the roof.
- Decks - should be made of ignition resistant materials. Keep combustible materials removed from beneath your deck. Use the same materials for patio coverings also.
- Rain Gutters - should be screened or have gutter guards installed to prevent gutters from accumulating plant debris. Keep them clean of dried leaves and pine needles.
- Garage - Have a fire extinguisher and fire emergency tools available. Install weather stripping around and under door to block embers.
Billie Nicholson, Editor
Are you growing your own vegetables and fruit or do you need to purchase them from grocery stores? The U. S. Department of Agriculture tests produce every year. Do you know that 65% of produce samples in recent tests contained pesticide residue?
After analyzing the data from USDA and FDA tests, the Environmental Working Group has produced a Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ containing test results from 48 popular fruits and vegetables. This report classifies those with the most pesticides as the “Dirty Dozen PLUS™”. The most contaminated fruits are Peaches, Apples, Nectarines, Strawberries and Grapes.The vegetables include Sweet Bell Peppers, Hot Peppers, Spinach, Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, Snap Peas, Potatoes, Celery and Kale/Collard Greens.
Of note, all the nectarines and 99% of the apples tested positive for at least one form of pesticide; and a single sample of grapes tested positive for fifteen pesticides. The average potato sample tested more positive for pesticides by weight than any other food. If these are favorites on your list, consider buying organically grown. Kale/Collard Greens and Hot Peppers tested positive for pesticides that are toxic to the human nervous system.
The report also includes a list of produce with the least pesticide concentration, they are referred to as the “Clean Fifteen™”. The least contaminated fruit are Avocados, Pineapples, Mangoes, Kiwi, Papayas, Watermelon, Grapefruit and Cantaloupe. The veggies include Onions, Cauliflower, Asparagus, Sweet Peas, Cabbage, Eggplant and Sweet Potatoes. Avocados were the cleanest and over 80% of pineapples, kiwi, papayas and mango had no pesticide residue.
Use this report to shop smarter as you enjoy healthy fruit and vegetables in your diet. Remember to peel or wash them well before eating.
We are often asked for suggestions about preparedness cooking on overcast days and would like to introduce you to the Cloudy Day Cube Stove, a simple, low-cost-solution. The Cloudy Day Cube Stove can cook your food with a wide variety of different fuels and weighs less than one pound.
Sun Ovens International has made a bulk purchase of the last of the American made Cube Stoves. They are now available at a reduced cost as a backup for your SUN OVEN®.
On days when rain or overcast weather hide the sun, the Cloudy Day Cube Stove is a great solution. The stove is designed for quick, convenient setup and use, and in addition to preparedness cooking, is ideal for camping or hiking. It has been engineered to maximize burning an assortment of different fuels including twigs sticks or wood, charcoal briquettes, Sterno cans, alcohol, solid fuel tablets or QuickStove Fuel Disks.
The Cloudy Day Cube Stove is made of durable aluminized steel. It can be used in 7 different positions to accommodate different needs, such as cooking fast or slow, or cooking in a large pot or small cup.
A Cloudy Day Cube Stove can be used in conjunction with your SUN OVEN®. A meal can be started on the Cube Stove and when it is half way through cooking, put into your SUN OVEN® to complete the cooking process as it would in a Wonder Box or retained heat cooker.
For a limited time, while supplies last, you can purchase a Cloudy Day Cube Stove Kit with two QuickStove Fuel Disks for less than $30.
Conditions that cause floods include heavy or steady rain for several hours or days that saturates the ground. Flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area.
Many times flooding occurs when you least expect it. This is the kind of emergency where your bug-out-bag should be
packed with a minimum of 72 hours of supplies and ready to put in your car for evacuation. Make sure you pack some cleanup clothes, hat, sturdy shoes and your camera to document damage when you return.
Listen to your area radio and television stations and a NOAA Radio for possible evacuation warnings. When a warning for your area is issued, go to higher ground and stay there. It’s a good idea to plan this route ahead of time. If you come upon a flooded road while you are traveling, turn around and go another way. Traveling at night, it is hard to recognize where the road is or isn’t. In a recent flood in Pensacola, we had a road wash away leaving a 25-ft. drop!
Return home only after officials have declared the area safe. Before entering your home check for downed power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other structural damage. As you enter, check ceilings for sagging or other conditions that might lead to a collapse. If you smell or hear hissing gas, leave immediately and telephone the fire department. Don’t take children into hazardous areas.
The first thing to do is contact your insurance agent to file a claim. Make sure you have the name of your insurance company, your policy number and a telephone or email address where you can be reached at all times. An adjuster should get back to you within a few days. Meanwhile, take photographs of any floodwater in your home and begin the process of saving personal property.
Make a list of damaged or lost items. These can be added to your home inventory, which already contains the purchase date and value. Take photographs of any items that need to be discarded. Do not turn on electricity until an electrician has deemed your property safe. Mold is the enemy. Remove all wet items immediately. During cleanup, you should wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and boots.
If you have a basement full or nearly full of water, pump out 2 or 3 feet of water each day. If you drain it too quickly, the pressure outside the walls will be greater than the pressure inside the walls, resulting in cracks or collapse.
For general cleanup, follow a three-step process.
- Remove mud – shovel out as much as possible, then use a garden hose to wash away mud on hard surfaces. This should include metal heating ducts. Remember to disconnect the furnace first. Discard any porous materials since they are contaminated.
- Clean – scrub surfaces with hot water and a heavy-duty detergent. Clean from the bottom to the top.
- Disinfect – Use a solution of ¼ cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water or a product that is labeled as a disinfectant to kill germs. Don’t mix cleaning products as some combinations give off toxic fumes. Your house should be thoroughly cleaned and dry before you move back in.
Flood soaked dry-wall must be removed. Plaster and paneling can perhaps be saved if thoroughly dried. Air should be circulated in the wall cavities to dry studs and sills. What about insulation? Styrofoam can be hosed off; fiberglass bats should be thrown out if muddy, but can be reused if thoroughly dried. Loose or blown-in cellulose or fiberglass must be replaced.
Mold will grow in only a couple of days if the temperature and humidity are high. Bedding, rugs and clothing should be taken outside to dry as soon as possible. Open your windows and use fans to ventilate the house with outdoor air or use an air conditioner or dehumidifier. Mold can be removed from hard surfaces but not from porous surfaces like paper, drywall and carpet padding. These items must be removed and discarded. Wear a two-strap (n-95 rated or better) protective mask to prevent breathing mold spores.
To remove mold, first vacuum or brush off items outdoors to prevent spreading spores inside. Vacuum with a HEPA filtered vacuum to remove loose mold and spores. Then scrub using a stiff brush with a non-ammonia detergent. Structural wood may need to be sanded to remove all the mold growth. Then disinfect with a bleach solution diluted 1 cup per gallon of water. The surface must remain wet for 15 minutes to successfully disinfect. Then rinse with clean water and rapidly dry the surfaces. Provide adequate ventilation during the disinfecting and wear rubber gloves.
Discard any carpet or rugs if they were wet or damp for more than a couple of days. If sewage-contaminated water covered your carpets, discard them for health reasons. To clean carpets, drape them outdoors and wash down with a hose. Use a disinfecting carpet cleaner on soiled spots. Dry carpets and floors thoroughly before putting them back in place.
If you have hardwood floors, remove a board every few feet to reduce buckling. Clean and dry the wood before trying to repair it. If you have wooden subflooring, the floor covering must be removed to allow air to dry the subflooring thoroughly. This may take months.
Wooden furniture worth saving should be dried indoors to prevent warping by the sun. It can be wiped down with turpentine to remove white spots that may develop on damp wood. Wipe dry and polish with wax or furniture polish. Throw away water soaked mattresses and pillows. Wash bedding in a bleach solution as recommended on the label. Treat clothing and other washable textiles with stain removal products before washing.
Flooding contaminates or damages everything it touches. For more details on cleaning and what to save or discard, see Flood Recovery and Cleanup.
Billie Nicholson, Editor
There is a limit to how much water we can store. In addition to the small containers in our bug-out bags and car, we also set up a 55 gallon drum. At 8.3 lb. per gallon that 457 lb. container will be in place until it’s emptied. We recently rotated a water container that was set up seven years ago. When opened the water tasted sweet with a hint of chlorine, and was clear and sediment free. To empty the drum, we created a syphon by pulling a vacuum on a hose with our Shop Vac to start the flow. Once emptied, we washed the 55 gal. drum, then placed it on untreated wooden 2x4s to keep any chemicals in the cement floor from
leaching through the food-grade plastic container. Keep in mind that bleach now comes in two strengths, 5% and 8% sodium hypochlorite. We have 8%, so we added 12 oz. into the drum before filling it with water. Once filled to the top, we sealed and labeled the container “water” and included the date. To further protect the barrel, we placed a piece of finished wood on top to serve as a flat surface for storage.
Billie Nicholson, Editor
Reproduced from Practical Action
Practical Action is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that uses technology to challenge poverty in developing countries. Registered in the United Kingdom, they find out what people are doing and help them to do it better. Through technology they enable poor communities to build on their skills and knowledge to produce sustainable and practical solutions – transforming their lives forever and protecting the world around them. Practical Action works directly in more than 45 developing countries across the world. They have an extensive library of simple techniques to solve survival problems.
In hot climates, food doesn’t stay fresh for long. Tomatoes go off in just two days. After four days carrots and okra are rotten. With no means of preserving their crops, poverty stricken families have been battling hunger and even famine.
One ingenious solution is the zeer pot. Using this simple technology, the same vegetable can last for up to 20 days. This all natural refrigerator offers families, who already succeed in food production, their right to food preservation and really can help to improve their everyday lives; for now and for the future.
Zeer Pot – Simple technology that brings fresh hope
The zeer pot is a simple fridge made of local materials. It consists of one earthenware pot set inside another, with a layer of wet sand in between (about 2 inches). As the moisture evaporates it cools the inner pot, keeping up to 12kg (~26 lbs.) of fruit and vegetables fresher for longer. Wet down twice daily. The pots should be covered with a ceramic lid or wet cloth. They should be kept in a well ventilated area but out of direct sunlight. The pots work best when placed on a metal frame for better air circulation. The average temperature drops 23.5 º F. below the outside temperature. Drier climates work best. They are often called the “desert refrigerator.”
Use a Zeer Pot to store fruits and vegetables
Deterioration of fruits and vegetables during storage depends largely on temperature. One way to slow down this change and so increase the length of time fruits and vegetables can be stored, is by lowering the temperature to an appropriate level. It must be remembered that if the temperature is too low the produce will be damaged and also that as soon as the produce leaves the cold store, deterioration starts again and often at a faster rate.
The ceramic refrigerator has proved very successful and it has been tested with a number of different vegetables. For example tests have shown that these foods can be kept fresh for the following amount of time:
Tomatoes – 3 weeks Okra – 2 weeks Rocket – 5 days Carrots – 20 days Meat – 14 days
In a short or long term interruption of electricity in the US, this could make a difference in preventing food spoilage as well as providing some variety in one’s diet. They are currently being used successfully in Sudan, Gambia and Nigeria, Africa. Consider adding this technique to your knowledge base.
Reproduced with Permission
The Zeer pot emergency refrigerator – http://4dtraveler.net/2012/05/11/the-zeer-pot-emergency-refrigerator/
Gambian farmers benefit from Sudanese fridge -
Summer time is grilling time. Food cooked on the grill has a totally different taste from indoor cooking. With more people cooking on their grills than ever before, the HPBA (Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association) offers the following tips for grilling safety. Remember that any time you work with fire, there is a chance of getting burned, so take precautions.
- When using a new grill, be sure to read the owner’s manual. If you assembled the grill yourself, you know where it is.
- Grills are for outdoor use. If used inside, the carbon monoxide accumulating from combustion can be fatal.
- Grills should be placed well away from the home, deck railings or overhanging branches.
- Use long handled utensils to avoid burns and spatters.
- Take care with clothing. Don’t wear dangly fabric on sleeves or aprons that can catch fire.
- Keep the fire under control. If you must douse flames with a light spritz of water, remove the food from the grill first.
- Place a splatter mat beneath your grill to protect your patio or deck from dripping grease.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Keep children and pets away from the grilling area.
- Clean your grill before use by brushing off the charred grease AND THEN wipe the grill down with a wad of wet paper towels. This step is critical to remove any bristles that may fall out of the grill brush. Grill bristles unintentionally ingested will result in a visit to the Emergency Room. The Center for Disease Control reports several cases each year of patients admitted to hospitals with complaints ranging from bristles in the tongue or throat to penetrations of the small intestine as a result of eating food with bristles embedded.
Billie Nicholson, Editor