The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Solar Food dehydrator and solar ovens

Solar Food dehydrator and solar ovens

Tree
user 4058763
Hollis Center, ME
Post #: 74
Hi All,

Hope this hasn't been posted about before.

I'm looking for plans and experiences with solar food dehydrators and solar ovens. Do any of you have experience with either of these? If so, do you have plans, tips, tricks?

Thank you,
Tree
Elaine
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 252
I'd be VERY interested in this also!

I can't believe the dehydrator we used to keep in the cellar is gone. So last night I cut ripe tomatoes in half or quarters, removed the seeds and put them on a rack in the over for several hours at only 200.

Then I placed them on a "light diffuser" LD on the dining room table. Matt Ryle our neighbor suggested this for a home-made method. Paid $11. for this white sheet of half-inch squares. Right now I've got the LD in the sun but in the house in front of the screen door. When dry I plan to put them in olive oil plus suggested herbs from a book I got -- Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning.

But I WOULD prefer a real solar dehydrator.
Paul
user 7662870
Portland, ME
Post #: 3
Earlier this summer, Mother Earths News had a great article on solar dehydrators....complete with plans. Perhaps you could go online to order the back issue.....
Merry H.
Merrymaker
Portland, ME
Post #: 2
"Build a Solar Food Dehydrator" in Mother Earth News: http://www.mothereart...­

I'll post this in the thread for relevant articles too. It's good info to have. Thanks for raising the question, Tree.
Merry
Tree
user 4058763
Hollis Center, ME
Post #: 77
Thank you Paul and Merry.

Tree
A former member
Post #: 2
I can add two simple techniques.

My son made flax crackers on a mere sheet of clean glass, dolloping the flax seed concoction onto the glass and letting it dry out quite a bit in the New Mexico sun, then flipping them over to dry out the other side. We discovered that putting the cracker-laden glass in the back of the car with the windows up and the sun directly hitting them, that they crisped beautifully. They did not keep, however, because of their delicious taste.

The second idea came from my mother during the 70's in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She used a steel drum container of somesort, (never found out as I wasn't interested in those days) and placed a rack within somehow. She put a glass on top and it became a solar oven. A problem ensued when I found that my young child had put five kittens inside it and was about to cook them. I know he didn't understand the ramifications of his actions. We saved the kittens, but a lesson was learned. Either place a barrier around the solar oven or put it up high, away from such possible "accidents".
Elaine
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 253
Thanks all!
A former member
Post #: 194
I have used my car as a dehydrator as well. biggrin Just put an old window screen across the seats to hold the fruit or vegetable and roll the windows up almost shut.

I have sun-dried apples, mushrooms, peaches, tomatoes, and a few other things. You'd be surprised how fast it goes. Put them on an old screen and cover them with something like an old sheer curtain or nylon netting to keep the flies off. You do need to take them in at night before the dew starts to settle.

For tomatoes, I cut a cherry tomato in half or a small plum in quarters, and sprinkle them with course salt. When dried pack them in a jar and cover with olive oil and keep in fridge.

For mushrooms, after they are dried put them in the freezer for a few days to kill, you know...whatever.tongue I think David has remarked about how wonderful black trumpets smell as they dry, and I sure do agree with him on that!

I've done tomatoes in the oven, but it's my least favorite method. I put a few cast iron pans in the bottom to hold the heat. Most directions say to crack the oven door, but I'm too frugal for that so I open the door from time to time to let the moist air escape, turn the oven back on, shut it off when it's warmed up, shut the door, and so on. It works...

I thought I had a web page with good directions for various items bookmarked, but I can't find it. I'll look again and post it if I find it.
A former member
Post #: 195
Here is the site I was looking for. Glancing through, I see that they have some advice about using window screens.

http://www.ext.colost...­
Elaine
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 258
Mary this is fantastic info! Thank so much for digging out the info to share with us!
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