Taste Organic India
      
 Solar Vegetarian Cooking Course

WHY ORGANIC AND SOLAR?

 

ORGANIC:

Organic farming methods in India date back to 2500 BC with the dawn of civilization along the Indus River in Harappa and Mohan-jo-daro. Farmers cultivated land and raised crops with the use of organic waste, from crops, animals, other farm and aquatic by-products, along with other biological materials to release nutrients to crops. However this method of cultivation was put aside during green revolution of the 1950’s and 60’s when a starving India had to turn to western techniques to feed its exploding population. High-yielding hybrid seeds, increased use of inorganic fertilizers, pesticides and improved irrigation techniques helped increase agriculture making India self sufficient in food grains. The flipside was that the overuse of chemicals gradually destroyed the natural abilities of the land and agriculture yields decreased. And then, as petrol, the base of the chemicals, had to be imported the Indian economy suffered greatly as we parted with our precious foreign exchange.

Agriculture scientists have realized that a natural balance has to be maintained for the existence of life and property. The agrochemicals produced from non-renewable fossil fuel will soon be harder to obtain. And so, there has been a very slow but steady move towards organic farming.

Inorganically grown fruits and vegetables, if not cleaned thoroughly before consumption, have long been suspect of causing cancer and a host of other diseases. Along with this the fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides enter the soil and stay there for decades contaminating the ground water.

Eating organically grown products is not just good for our health but also for the soil. Something we need to preserve for posterity.

SOLAR:

The Nilgiris are blessed with six-months of strong sunshine, making it perfect to cook food through solar energy. For the past few years, we at Raven’s Nest have been cooking our lentils and rice and even baking cakes in a very simple solar cooker. With the sun free, it has been a great way to cut down on our LPG bills and make use of an unlimited natural resource.

Cooking the solar way is a healthier option to gas, fire and the microwave, because we use the natural power of the sun’s energy.

Solar cooking, done outdoors, prevents the kitchen from heating up, but best of all, this method preserves more of the natural nutrients of the foods, as they are cooked slowly and at lower temperatures. Don’t take our word for it, come taste the banana bread and carrot cake we bake in our very inexpensive and unsophisticated solar box.

While you cannot do away completely with other methods of cooking, you can reduce your dependence on non-renewable energy sources.

Baking a Carrot cake in the solar oven at Raven’s Nest.

HOW DOES THE SOLAR COOKER WORK?

Food in this method is cooked by suns UV rays that are converted to heat energy. This energy is then retained in the pot and food by the lid. This is pretty much the same way that a greenhouse retains heat. An effective solar cooker will use the energy of the sun to heat a cooking vessel and efficiently retain the energy (heat) for maximum cooking effectiveness.

Solar Energy Takes Longer to Cook: Yes it does take longer than the traditional methods, but look at it as a slow cooker, with one big advantage: the even temperature of the solar oven prevents burning so you don’t need to stir your food while it’s cooking. When was the last time you didn’t stick a knife into the cake to check if it was done?

And The Taste: as there is no movement of air in a solar cooker, the food stays moist, tender and flavorful.

It’s Healthier: Temperatures in a solar oven rise slowly and evenly, allowing complex carbohydrates time of break down into simple sugars, emanating subtle natural flavors.