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Reading on google I found that cooking with solar cookers preserves nutrients. But if the solar cooker reaches high temperatures, I don't know if that's true.

Also does solar cooking make the food more nutritious?

  • No cooking can add nutrients to food. However, cooking does make nutrients more readily available... independent of method. See the answer below. – BaffledCook Aug 5 '14 at 12:09
  • If you're using solar cooking because you're concerned with radio waves touching your food (and don't see the irony that light is another form of EM radiation) I would recommend that you visit the Space Weather Prediction Center before using your solar cooker. – Joe Aug 5 '14 at 16:30
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Also does it modify or make the food more nutritious with solar cooker.

Not more than any other kind of similar cooking by radiant heat, like baking. There is simply no mechanism by which that could happen. Let's examine some claims I found from Google:

from http://www.greenbuild.org/uncategorized/3-reasons-solar-cooking-is-good-for-you-and-the-environment/

Solar cooking doesn’t use smoke that can contain carcinogens or microwaves that expose your food to potentially dangerous radio waves.

An electric stove produces no smoke (if you don't burn the food), and natural gas produces very little smoke. Were there smoke emitted by the stove, the area around it would be covered in soot, and the flame would be yellow from the carbon (the main component of soot and smoke) heated to incandescence in the flame. Further, the biggest cancer risk from smoked foods is not the smoke, but the nitrates frequently used to cure them.

If microwaves emit dangerous radio waves, the sun emits far more. That's why it's so bright, and so hot. I suppose you could be harmed by the microwave's radio waves if you manage to turn it on without shutting the door. Then again, you can cook your hand in a solar cooker, too. Or a stove. Come to think of it, cooking involves potentially dangerous heat. Huh.

Also: Does microwaving destroy nutrients in food? (summary: no more than any other cooking)

Plus, when you cook in a solar appliance, the nutrients stay in the food and don’t leach out. That’s because you don’t use water in solar cooking. And, the temperatures in a solar oven are moderate – around 325 F – so nutrients aren’t destroyed during cooking at a high temperature like on a grill or over an open flame.

This is also true of many other methods of preparing foods: baking, grilling, microwaving, frying and, don't involve water. 325 F is not an unusual temperature for baking, and most other methods can be performed gently, if desired.


To summarize: there may be benefits of solar cooking (a big one: it requires no fuel), but nutrition is not one of them. There's no way sunlight can add more nutrition to food that wasn't there to begin. Any nutritional benefits are not as much from solar cooking specifically as they are from not cooking by some less nutritional method. For example, any cooking method that is not boiling will not have the possibility of dissolving some of the food's nutrition.

  • solar cooking requires fuel ... of course, it's 93 million miles away, and you don't have to add it yourself. – Joe Aug 5 '14 at 16:30
  • Uh... I have some issues with wording of some claims in this answer. You cannot answer this question (in my opinion) without discussing the concepts of bioavailabiliy and bioefficacy of nutrients. Heat processing can increase the nutritionally relevant forms of some select nutrients within the food, thus making the food "more accessibly nutritious" potentially. m.jn.nutrition.org/content/137/4/1097.long pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf0115589 – Little White Lithe Aug 6 '14 at 10:25
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    @LittleWhiteLithe Yes, cooking (or "heat processing" as you call it) can alter the bioavailability of nutrients, and chemically alter food, for better or worse. However, there's nothing special about solar cookers that does this better than any similar method, like baking at similar temperatures. – Phil Frost Aug 6 '14 at 11:04
  • You categorically state that there is no mechanism by which the solar heat processing could make the food more nutritious, which I feel is not accurate. Tangentially, being outside could(hopefully should) lead to a little endougenous vitamin D synthesis. Vit D status being important for calcium absorption from your food. m.ajcn.nutrition.org/content/88/2/541S.full – Little White Lithe Aug 6 '14 at 11:14
  • @LittleWhiteLithe just edited. – Phil Frost Aug 6 '14 at 11:16

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