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Another Pot of Rice in the Solar Oven: How to Get a Permaculture Badge (Bit)... Hopefully!

Rice put into solar oven
A pot of rice just put into our solar oven. This was early morning before the sun hit that patch of cement.

By Lisa Brunette

During one of our Wild Ones garden tours in June, we demonstrated our solar oven, the Sun Oven. But since the tour was only about an hour or so long, and we started the solar cooking round in shade, folks didn't get to see the finished product, a cooked pot of rice. So I thought I'd show the results here.

My other motive for writing up our solar oven demo is to earn what's called a "badge bit" on the permaculture site This counts toward a sand badge in food prep and preservation, which is part of the overall PEP curriculum, a permaculture certification program developed by founder Paul Wheaton called "Permaculture Experience according to Paul." The SKIP books we're giving away this summer include the PEP curriculum presented in print form. SKIP is a way for people like me to track and gain certification for the work we're doing to learn and exhibit mastery of permaculture techniques.

Rice beginning to cook in solar oven
The rice just beginning to cook.

So I'll be posting this sequence of images proving I can cook 2 cups of grain in a solar oven over on the badge bit forum for this at, and hopefully, I'll be awarded a badge bit.

I say hopefully because the first time I applied for the badge bit, it was denied.

The criteria for earning the badge bit (BB), as explained in the forum.

To complete this BB, the minimum requirements are:
  - you must produce at least two cups of grain
  - you must use a solar oven

To show you've completed this Badge Bit, you must provide:
   - a picture of your grain cooking in a solar oven
   - a picture showing your cooked grain that is obviously at least two cups

What I forgot to do was take a photo of the cooked rice at the end of the process, thereby satisfying that last bullet point. But since I'd already also cooked a whole chicken, a pot roast, AND a pie in the solar oven, I tried to compensate for the lapse by posting photos of those instead. But the Permies volunteers who judge the badge bit submissions weren't having it. My submission was flagged incomplete.

Rice cooking in solar oven
Rice nearly finished cooking. By the way, the greens are shiso leaves harvested and dried last fall; they're a great addition to rice.

But maybe this one will do the trick. It's exactly 2 cups of rice - though I don't have a picture of the rice in a measuring cup - but hopefully the below photo shows "obviously" 2 cups. The rice is cooked in the pots you can buy from the Sun Oven company (or could, anyway, before supply issues hit) for the purpose of cooking in the Sun Oven, so anyone familiar with those pots will see that the amount of cooked rice shown here would have to be at least 2 cups.

Finished pot of rice
The completely cooked rice.

By the way, you can see how seriously the community takes these PEP badges. No skirting the rules here! That's probably good, as one key intention for PEP is for people to document a set of skills that makes them uniquely qualified to take over someone's homestead, for example, when that person is no longer able to keep it up and doesn't otherwise have any interested heirs. If you have a 5-acre farm and no one willing to step up to take it on when you die, then you might find someone who's completed the PEP curriculum, giving you the assurance that they've demonstrated they are up to the task of taking on your farm.

Wish me luck with this badge bit, and in the meantime, if you haven't yet ordered a Sun Oven, you might want to think about it. With the record-high temps we've had this summer coalescing with rapid inflation, anything you can do to keep from using your kitchen oven is a good thing, both for climate change and your own wallet.

Brunette Gardens is a Sun Oven affiliate. If you purchase using this link, we might receive a commission, at no extra cost to you.