I decided to do an experiment on hard boiling eggs using the SunOven. I saw a video of it being done and figured I would test it out since boiling a large pot of water to hard boil some eggs out here in Off Grid Homestead land is a pain. It usually means I have to use $$ propane $$ since I don’t have my Biogas system up yet. So I then have old eggs piling up.
Why don’t I give them away? Because my friends and most of my family are NUTS! They freak from the thought of all the bugs and maggots that the free range chickens eat. They think it is unsanitary and prefer to eat store bought eggs where the chickens eat GMO corn and soy all day and live in tiny wire cages. I have shown them the difference between a fresh free range egg (super orange yolk and thick standing up white) and one from their refrigerator (pale yellow yolk and runny white). They use those differences to prove something is wrong with my eggs because they don’t look “store bought”. My mom does take a carton when I bring them into town, but she doesn’t eat many eggs and often my niece has brought a carton of store bought eggs over because she fears what my chickens eat. Ugh.
So here are pics and my testing results.
3:45 pm Pulled SunOven out of the box and brought outside to a picnic table. Outside temp was 65 F.
3:50 pm Temp was about 52 degrees inside the oven when I opened the reflective panels. My inside storage room is cool this time of year.
3:55 pm I finished messing around with the adjustable tilt leg behind the oven and glanced inside and was surprised to see the temperature was already at 100 degrees F.
3:57 pm OMG already 150 F. Do I have a defective thermometer? LOL. Put eggs inside and yes it felt warm.
* Note: The true recommended procedure is to use the old fashion pulpy egg cartons and tear their lids off. That way you can get at least 2 dozen cooking at once. Do NOT use the modern Styrofoam egg cartons. Excessive heat and Styrofoam does not mix. The reason you need to use the egg cartons instead of just throwing them in a black pan is because anywhere that two eggs touch you will get that green or brown spot on the egg white. Not attractive if you are making deviled eggs, but it is perfectly edible if it does happen. I didn’t want to tear the lid off my only paper egg carton so I just laid some real old eggs there. I need to get to the feed store and buy some cartons because I have dozens and dozens of eggs to hard boil to get caught up.
4:00 pm Almost 200 degrees F !! It has now exceeded my previous max temp in my crappy homemade solar cooker which I only felt safe using for dehydrating since I was worried about food safety at such low temps.
4:07 pm Around 240 degrees F. One of the old eggs laying in front is oozing boiling liquid out of its base pores where it had sat in a styrofoam egg carton that got some rain in it. I suppose the shell weakened there. But hey, we have “boiling”!
4:30 pm Just went to check after one finger typing the above on my tablet. Inside temp is 260 degrees F. Noticed some condensation on the inside of the glass probably due to the bad porous egg letting off moisture. I would wipe it off but I don’t want the temp to drop down when I open the glass. The sun has already dropped lower in the sky and I should really be tilting it further but with it being windy and sort of wobbly on that table I am going to leave it be.
4:45 pm Planned to take the eggs out to test doneness. But ouch! They are hot. So hot potato grabbed one and then closed down the reflectors while I wait for the egg to cool off enough to peel. Supposedly one of the big benefits of using the SunOven to make hard-boiled eggs is that even when using super fresh eggs, they will peel easily. We shall see.
4:55 pm. Whoops.. Soft boiled. But my dog enjoyed it. (And it was easy to peel). I opened up the reflectors and noticed that the internal temp had dropped to 180 degrees. So I guess I don’t have a defective thermometer. Besides taking down the reflectors I failed to latch the glass down which accounts for the rapid heat loss. With the glass sealed I assume that there would have been less of a temp loss even with the reflectors down.
4:58 pm. It took me a couple minutes to prop up the back tilt leg since my alignment was really getting off but the temperature had already climbed to 200 degrees.
5:01 pm. 230 degrees F.
5:07 pm Oh no! Sun behind a cloud.
5:10 pm. The sun is back and the temp is holding at 230 degrees. Per the built-in alignment sights I really should tilt down further but I can’t. I already have a jar of screws under the tilt leg and I just don’t want to jerry-rig anything else. (Did you know that jerry-rig doesn’t come up in my smart tablet’s spell check? How can that NOT be a word? My whole homestead is jerry-rigged. LOL. It is held together by hay strings, zip ties, and of course duct tape. I sure miss the good old days when hay bales had wire instead of strings. Man that wire was handy. Now I have to go searching for wire when I make fence repairs. Hence why my fence is held together with hay strings.)
5:30 pm. 253 degrees F. The sun will soon be blocked by my trailer but I am too lazy to move the SunOven to a new area. I plan to just leave it set up where it is and wait until 6 pm to check another egg. They claim that food usually doesn’t burn in the SunOven because all contents are at the same temperature. You get burning on a stove because it’s the concentrated heat under the pan that causes the food to stick and burn. The well insulated and sealed SunOvens can also continue to cook food once the sun is gone or blocked. So I will stop watching these eggs and get some more Mallow for the rabbits. They love it!
5:45 pm. 252 degrees
6:00 pm. 240 degrees. Pulled another hot egg out to test but this time I used a glove and resealed the glass cover. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? I was going to use the more accurate term for a female dog but I am trying to stay G rated. LOL
The glass was REALLY fogged up with moisture this time so I did wipe it out as I removed the egg. One of the older white eggs in front had split adding to the previous moisture. I suspect some of the temperature drop was attributable to the moisture build up on the glass in addition to the dropping sun.
Success!!! Perfectly hard-boiled eggs! I have closed the reflectors but am leaving the eggs inside to protect them from the dogs and feral cats (who now know that yummy treats keep coming out of that box).
I am very happy to see that my dogs will eat the hard boiled eggs. In the past my other dogs would gobble up the old raw eggs that I broke into their feed bowls. But my current dogs freak if I put raw egg over their dry dog food. They avoid any kibble that has been slimed by the egg white. Now that I know this works so well, I am going to clean out all the egg hiding locations of my free range chickens and hope they will use the nest boxes more. Plus my dogs, cats, and chickens will get some added protein in their diets from healthy free range eggs. I used to break open raw eggs for the chickens to eat but read that it can cause them to start breaking open and eatting their own eggs. Hence why it is recommended you hard boil the eggs before feeding them back to your chickens. Crush the shells for them also, or dry some for yourself. Crushed egg shell is a far better calcium supplement than you get out of a bottle. You can also mix powdered egg shells into your homemade tooth paste to improve tooth health. That will be a future post.
Update: 8pm. I lifted the reflectors up to check the internal temperature since it had been dark for over an hour and was getting cold. Since I had remembered to latch the glass down, the temperature was still hot at 180 degrees F.
Update 3am: Just for fun I just checked the temperature and it was down at the bottom of the guage which is 50 degrees, the lowest temp it will show. Outside temp is 49 currently. So it did lose the rest of it’s heat sine I last checked at 8 pm.
My next egg experiment will be to dehydrate my excess eggs to make my own powdered eggs that I can add to my preps and use in the winter when the hens stop laying since they don’t live confined and under artificial lights. Stay tuned!
Do any of you have secret recipes or methods you use on your excess eggs? Let me know in the comments below. I have never tried pickled eggs, but who knows, maybe I will blog about it. LOL