Love Beet Chips? Try baking them in your solar oven!
Recently I was at a specialty food shop – you know the kind – they advertise organic and gluten free foods. As I wandered around the store, I saw a tiny bag of baked beet chips. There were several kinds, from plain to salted to cinnamon. The bag weighed only 1.4 oz but sold for over $4 a bag! Are you kidding me! Those beets must have been made from rubies!
And yet – there was a certain appeal to my “healthy” side. But looking at the bag, and the ingredients list, it seemed fairly easy to recreate this culinary snack. So I picked up a bunch of red beets to give it a try.
Venting the Solar Oven
Many foods put off moisture when cooked. This steam evaporates in the dry heat of a regular oven. But steam cannot evaporate or escape from a solar oven. As a result, the moisture collects on the inside of the solar oven lid. When the glass is covered with steam, the sunlight cannot enter the box. Therefore, it is imperative that the steam be wiped away. However, every time the lid is opened, the box loses heat, sometimes as much as 25°. It is a vicious cycle. Furthermore, the All American Sun Oven is particularly prone to this cycle.
One way to lessen the steam buildup on the glass is to vent the lid. This can be done in several ways. First, the top latch can be left unlatched. Second, if that isn’t enough, a small stick can be placed between the glass and the edge of the oven. This creates a gap to allow steam to escape. And finally, if needed, the bottom latch can be left unlatched as well. And even these measures will sometimes not be enough to keep the lid clear. Additionally, be aware, that the oven is also losing heat and will not reach a high temperature.
In view of these facts, there is a clear trade off between continually opening the lid and losing a lot of heat or venting the lid and losing a little heat. In either case, only the chef can determine what is best in his or her cooking situation.
Baking the Beets
I baked my beets in the All American Sun Oven, using the dehydrating racks to dry the beets. As they cooked, the beets put off a lot of moisture. Because the moisture would also prevent the chips from drying to a crispy crunch, I chose to vent the oven. For this reason, the beets baked for 3 hours at 300°F (149°C). Towards the end of the cooking time, I latched both latches tight. As a result the oven temperature quickly rose to 325°F(163°c).
Baked Beet Chips
- 2 beets, tops and stems removed
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- sea salt
- Preheat the solar oven while preparing the beets.
- Slice the beets thin using a knife or slicer.
- In a bowl, put the sliced beets in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Stir to coat.
- Place the beets on a rack. Sprinkle with sea salt.
- Place in the hot solar oven, uncovered.
- Bake uncovered for about 3 hours until crisp.
The time it takes to bake in the solar oven depends on how hot the solar oven gets. The temperature will vary depending on the type of solar oven being used, and how focused the oven is to the sun.
In a kitchen oven, bake at 400 F (204 C) for 30 to 40 minutes.
Hey! Thanks for stopping by. Love the beet chips? Let me know. I would love to hear from you.