LEHI -- Emergency preparedness fans and others are harnessing solar power to cook and dry food.

Sun Oven president Paul Munsen met with about 15 people on May 11 to instruct them on the art of cooking with heat from the sun and his product, the Sun Oven, at the Lehi Legacy Center.

Munsen has been working with the Sun Oven for 10 years. His company has been making ovens for third world countries for 15 years, but a lot of the company's business is in Utah where emergency preparedness is encouraged and part of the cultural ethic.

"Basically 45 percent of our customers are here in Utah," he said.

Erline Lindberg is one of those customers and got her Sun Oven about one year ago. A resident of American Fork, she found out about the Sun Oven at an emergency preparedness class, she said.

Her husband Paul Lindberg doesn't mind her use of the Sun Oven or the brownies, bread and other goodies that she cooks in the solar oven.

"She just recently tried some corn on the cob and vegetables; it was great," he said. "You have to know what you are doing, though."

Pen in hand, Munsen's students wrote down instructions for cake, cookies, small turkeys, jerky meat, casseroles, breads, stews and vegetables.

"It's a very forgiving way of cooking, in the Sun Oven," he said.

Bits of wisdom Munsen shared included: shiny pots and pans don't work because they reflect back the sun's heat; most food won't burn but sugar and onions will burn; and the stronger the shadow, the hotter the oven.

Temperatures in the solar-heated oven can reach up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and because the box-shaped oven is well insulated, it will retain heat for long periods of time.

Munsen said he has taught the use of the oven for cooking and preserving food on five continents and has seen the product -- most commonly used is a Sun Oven not wider than three feet -- improve lives.

Women in an Afghan village had no way to preserve their harvest and were selling their produce in the summer and having to buy it back in the wintertime for 10 times the price they sold it.

With the Sun Oven, he said, the villagers were able to not just save money but turn a profit as well, changing their economy.

More on the Sun Oven can be found at www.sunoven.com.