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(Photo by Bob McClay/KTAR)
MESA, Ariz. -- A Mesa woman said you can cook a nice hot dinner for your family.

Merry Bevill uses several solar stoves in her front yard to use the sun to cook pot roast, peach pie and more.

It's called solar cooking.

"Solar Cooking is cooking using nothing but the free energy of the sun as your fuel source," said Bevill.

Bevill has eight solar cookers, some of which she purchased, and some she made for herself. She noted that she has invested less than about $800 for the stoves. Many are made out of cardboard boxes. One uses an aluminum sun screen that can be purchased at any auto parts store.

She said it saves money on her electric bill, is good for the environment, and is kind of like cooking with your crock pot. "Basically, the sun comes in, gets the box hot, and it raises the temperature enough that it actually can cook your food," Bevill said.

One of the "stoves is called the Wonder Oven. "The Wonder Oven is like a giant pillow. It's full of insulation."

Many times she takes hot pots of food off of her stoves in the middle of the afternoon, but wants to keep the food hot until dinner time. "I put them in the Wonder Oven, and it's all insulated, and keeps it nice and hot until suppertime," she said.

Bevill said that you can solar cook your food outside regardless of what the ambient temperature is.

"They cook with these things on top of Mount Everest," said Bevill. "What you need is just a good insulated box. It's actually (the sun's) U-V rays that come into the box, and heat up the black interior. It's much like your car. You can actually cook cookies in your car in the summer. Did you ever get into your car and say ‘Wow! It's so hot that I could bake cookies?' You can!"

Bevill, who has a blog about solar cooking, will be giving demonstrations this Saturday in Mesa. She said she'll set her ovens up at 10:00 a.m. MST, but the actual demonstration will be from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m MST.

Her program called "Cooking with the Sun: The Art and Science of Solar Cookers" will be held at the Mesa Urban Garden at 212 East First Avenue. She'll demonstrate her favorite solar ovens and cooking techniques.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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