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Solar Food Dehydrators

Updated on March 24, 2014

Preserve your Garden Harvest with the Sun

Once you start gardening, the issue becomes how to save your delicious harvest so that you can enjoy it all. One method that is very useful is dehydrating or drying your fruits and vegetables. Instead of having food drying come down to one more appliance that uses electricity, why not try making your own solar dehydrator?

Drying food is one of the oldest ways of preserving the harvest, and it's a method that lets you save the food without using a constant flow of electricity (like freezing). Some dried foods can be eaten as-is after dehydrating but many are soaked in water again to improve their texture and flavor before cooking. Dehydrated veggies are great in soups and stews in the winter, allowing for summer flavors and nutrients to be kept in the diet year-round.

Food Drying Without Electricity

We used to have an electric food dehydrator in the house. It was great for saving food from the garden and it made making your own camping meals really easy, but the housemate who owned it moved out, so that was the end of the electric dehydrator.

Since we'd love to still be able to dry foodstuffs, but would like to reduce the amount of electrical appliances we use in the kitchen, I thought making a solar food dehydrator would be a great option. With the right plans, lots of recycled materials can be used and in the summertime, the power is about as cheap and abundant as you could want.

We don't have a lot of room, so building a taller and more narrow one with several shelves will probably be the overall shape we develop. One of our biggest uses is going to be for herbs we grow, followed by vegetables that get harvested in the fall. I sure wouldn't mind making my own sun-dried tomatoes instead of buying them.

Take a Look at a Solar Dehydrator

What If You Don't Have Enough Sun? - an option for those who can't solar dry food

Nesco FD-75PR Food Dehydrator
Nesco FD-75PR Food Dehydrator
If you live in an area where you don't get enough sun to really make solar drying viable, or for those winter-time food storage projects, you might like owning an electric food dehydrator. These let you dehydrate just about anything and are great for making your own jerky, fruit leather or dehydrating pre-cooked food to assemble your own low-cost camping meals.

DIY Dehydrator PDFs

Here are links to PDFs on the web that are about how to build your own solar food dehydrator. If you click on these, it will start a download of a document to your computer.

If you're working on your own solar dryer, let us know how it's going! If you've had problems, let us know what they were and how you worked them out!


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