With increasing interest in healthy eating, sustainable local food supplies and self-reliance, many people are discovering the benefits of a solar food dehydrator.
Photo by Eben Fodor
Unlike freezing, drying is a preservation method that doesn’t leave your food vulnerable to power outages and mechanical failures.
Drying is an excellent method of food preservation that maintains a high level of flavor and nutrients in these tomatoes.
Many dried foods, such as these plums, are excellent when eaten plain. In fact, drying can improve the flavor of some foods.
You can mix dried fruits, such as these apples, with hot cereal, muesli or granola to add sweetness and nutrients.
Dried foods store well in airtight containers and will keep for up to one year.
Most dried vegetables can be quickly and easily rehydrated in soups or by adding a bit more water to some recipes, such as zucchini bread.
Peppers are one of the easiest foods to dry and taste better for it.
Warm temperatures inside the SunWorks dryer create a convection current that circulates air through the dryer box.
solar food dehydrator - diagram 1, convection pattern
The SunWorks solar food dryer.
This simple solar hot box dries food by capturing solar radiation, which raises the interior temperature of the box.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Staff
The New Mexico solar food dryer combines direct and indirect solar heating. Direct sunlight heats the racks of food in the upper part of the dryer, while the corrugated metal absorber plate at the bottom of the dryer promotes indirect heating by creating a convection current of hot air that travels upward through the racks of food.
New Mexico Solar Energy Association