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Have you built your own solar dehydrator?

Topics for discussing dehydration, drying, and smoking as methods for food preservation

Have you built your own solar dehydrator?

Postby maxwonderdog » Mon May 15, 2017 1:21 am

I just picked up a used book in the bookstore that has plans in it to build your own solar dehydrator. Here is another plan on line, this dehydrator is a lot larger than the plans in the book I have, http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/tools/solar-food-dehydrator-plans-zm0z14jjzmar.

Have any of you built a solar dehydrator? It probably won't happen for me this year but by next year, I would like to build one...
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Re: Have you built your own solar dehydrator?

Postby oldasrocks » Mon May 15, 2017 8:59 am

Ain't real hard. I stapled nylon screen to frames. Place sliced veggies on screen, sit in sunshine. Take off when dry.

Not rocket science.

The Indians had this figured out long ago. Kill deer. cut into thin strips. Possibly dip into salt, hang to dry.
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Re: Have you built your own solar dehydrator?

Postby Fullmoon » Mon May 15, 2017 10:24 am

I built a large food dryer to hang bunches of grapes in and make raisins. Keeps the flies off the fruit and stops the birds from stealing the harvest. I used wooden dowels to hang the grapes from. Remove the dowels and insert some galvanized metal lath to place other fruits on to de-hydrate. Works great. Built mine out of 2x2" frame with a hinged top to allow access from the top and covered with screen door material.
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Re: Have you built your own solar dehydrator?

Postby maxwonderdog » Mon May 15, 2017 4:56 pm

oldasrocks wrote:Ain't real hard. I stapled nylon screen to frames. Place sliced veggies on screen, sit in sunshine. Take off when dry.

Not rocket science.

The Indians had this figured out long ago. Kill deer. cut into thin strips. Possibly dip into salt, hang to dry.


Yes, except when it takes multiple days to dry, keeping a constant temperature, good airflow and keeping the birds and other animals away can be problematic.
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Re: Have you built your own solar dehydrator?

Postby maxwonderdog » Mon May 15, 2017 5:15 pm

Fullmoon wrote:I built a large food dryer to hang bunches of grapes in and make raisins. Keeps the flies off the fruit and stops the birds from stealing the harvest. I used wooden dowels to hang the grapes from. Remove the dowels and insert some galvanized metal lath to place other fruits on to de-hydrate. Works great. Built mine out of 2x2" frame with a hinged top to allow access from the top and covered with screen door material.


Are you using any materials to concentrate/collect the sun's rays to heat the food dryer or is it more just an enclosure to keep flies/birds away?
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Re: Have you built your own solar dehydrator?

Postby oldasrocks » Mon May 15, 2017 9:23 pm

I wouldn't be using anything galvanized to put food on unless you are into zinc poisoning for fun.

Never had a problem with stuff getting dry in a day.
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Re: Have you built your own solar dehydrator?

Postby Fullmoon » Mon May 15, 2017 10:31 pm

Whatdayamean, they sell zink supplements in the health food stores for $45 per bottle. I get my zink for free. ;) Here where I live the summers are DRY, real low humidity like 6% so things dry out fast. Making grapes takes the longest amount of time, like 3 days for Thompson grapes. I set the box up on some concrete blocks inside the garden fence where it gets the most sun, this way I can pick fruit and its a short walk over to the dehydrator. Temperatures vary and are not constant but it works just the same.
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Re: Have you built your own solar dehydrator?

Postby oldasrocks » Tue May 16, 2017 9:23 pm

Fullmoon wrote:Whatdayamean, they sell zink supplements in the health food stores for $45 per bottle. I get my zink for free. ;) Here where I live the summers are DRY, real low humidity like 6% so things dry out fast. Making grapes takes the longest amount of time, like 3 days for Thompson grapes. I set the box up on some concrete blocks inside the garden fence where it gets the most sun, this way I can pick fruit and its a short walk over to the dehydrator. Temperatures vary and are not constant but it works just the same.



Ever hear of an overdose. Be careful my friend.
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Re: Have you built your own solar dehydrator?

Postby ReadyMom » Tue May 16, 2017 9:37 pm

oldasrocks wrote:Ain't real hard. I stapled nylon screen to frames. Place sliced veggies on screen, sit in sunshine. Take off when dry.

Not rocket science.

The Indians had this figured out long ago. Kill deer. cut into thin strips. Possibly dip into salt, hang to dry.


Doesn't the fruit go 'rotten', before it dries? We live with our backyard in a good southern exposure. LOTS of direct sun w/out trees in part of it. I'd love to try this, to see how well it works. -k
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Re: Have you built your own solar dehydrator?

Postby theoutback » Wed May 17, 2017 5:26 am

Thanks for posting Max. I'm just finishing up building a barn and probably have about 80% of what is needed left over from the barn build. Looks like it would be much more efficient than other ones I've seen. :thumbup:
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Re: Have you built your own solar dehydrator?

Postby maxwonderdog » Mon May 22, 2017 4:51 pm

theoutback wrote:Thanks for posting Max. I'm just finishing up building a barn and probably have about 80% of what is needed left over from the barn build. Looks like it would be much more efficient than other ones I've seen. :thumbup:


Sure, this is the book I picked up cheap at a used bookstore, it isn't as cheap on Amazon, but I wanted a dehydrator smaller and more portable than the plans I was seeing online, so I'm going to give this one a try: https://www.amazon.com/Solar-Food-Dryer ... 0865715440

Let us know how your build goes!
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Re: Have you built your own solar dehydrator?

Postby IceFire » Mon May 22, 2017 7:08 pm

I've built one, as well. 2x4sfor the main framework, with racks made of lath strips and screening. Also have screening stapled to the top and 3 sides of the main framework, with a flap of screening for the front to help keep critters out. It can e used as either a drying rack, or as a storage rack for winter squashes, onions, etc.
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