Add to My MSN


garden bounty 


Preserving food at home is one of the best and easiest ways to reduce your grocery bills, get better flavor and nutrition, and achieve a local diet. If you don't have a food garden at home, you can stock up on in-season produce from nearby farmers markets, and take that home to preserve for year-round eating.  If you shop at the peak season for your favorite crops, you can often find very good prices for larger quantities.

Drying food is a delicious way to preserve and concentrate the flavors of fresh fruits, veggies and herbs. Your dried produce will require no electricity and very little space to store. Plus, if you grow your own food and choose to dry it with free energy from the sun by building one of these great, inexpensive solar dehydrators described in the articles below, your pantry will be stocked with near-net-zero-energy produce! Cool, eh?   


A Solar Food Dryer from Cardboard Boxes
This unique low-cost food dehydrator is extremely easy for anyone to make.

Best-Ever Solar Food Dehydrator Plans
Nearly two decades of expert testing and experimentation have gone into producing these solar food dehydrator plans. The resulting food dryer isn’t just efficient and off-grid — it’s also highly cost-effective for anyone wanting to preserve large amounts of food at home.

Build a Solar Food Dehydrator
Preserve your harvest with free energy from the sun. Learn the basics of how to dry food; includes examples of do-it-yourself solar food dehydrators.

Preserving Food Using a Homemade Dehydrator 
Building your own food dryer is a great way to preserve all your homegrown goodies.

How to Preserve Food Using Sun Drying and Natural Methods 
A guide to food dehydrating methods.

Solar Food Dryer
This clever do-it-yourself solar food dehydrator is made from a recycled 55-gallon barrel covered with clear polycarbonate glazing.

Choosing a Food Dehydrator 
An expert reviews the pros and cons of four leading food dehydrators designed for drying fruits and vegetables.

How to Build a Food Dehydrator 
Learn how to construct a food dryer powered by the sun, a stove or electricity; including materials, diagrams and assembly. 

After you've built your whiz-bang solar food dryer, check out these resources for tips, techniques and recipes on how to use them:Reap the Garden & Market Bounty: How to Dry Food 
Make Your Food Dollar Go Further: Dry Your Own Fruits and Vegetables at Home 



Photo by Tabitha Alterman

Post a comment below.


6/17/2014 4:42:00 AM
The post is interesting. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing.

3/31/2014 6:29:18 AM
If you grow your own fruits and vegetables, or just trying to eat that is produced locally, you will find an obvious problem : when something is in season , you have more than you can handle, then there is nothing for the rest of the year. The obvious solution is to preserve your when you are in abundance, and drying in the sun is one of the easiest and low power to do so. It also keeps much more original nutrients of canned or frozen . The concept of a solar dryer is simple: move the hot air over the food into thin slices. More air , moisture can not remove the food . However, you do not want the air to move too fast because it will lower the temperature . Our design creates enough air circulation and heat to dry foods quickly. The is presented on trays , which sit behind a sheet of transparent polycarbonate. Under the bins there is a metal plate , painted black , which serves as a heat absorber . When the hot air rises through the food , the cold air is sucked through the bottom opening , and the hot moisture laden air flows out of the exhaust gas in the upper portion . Because the hair is something that we plan to use for many years to come , we decided to make our own metal . If you do not have access to a welder , you can make wooden frame , but you will need to adjust these plans accordingly.

6/21/2013 11:39:23 AM

I dry foods by arranging them on a cookie sheet, putting it on the front seat of the car, and parking it in the sun.

6/21/2013 9:51:05 AM

I built a tray that I put in the back window of the car and put the windows up... works great

Joel Price
10/14/2012 2:18:19 AM
That is

Joel Price
10/14/2012 2:17:14 AM
Solar food dehydrators are great, but you do not have to build you own if you do not wish. There is a very efficient, lightweight, not too expensive one available at It works great!

Cindy Conner
5/31/2011 8:05:19 AM
Living in humid Virgina I wondered if I could actually dry food with the sun here. Just laying it out on screens, as they do in areas with no rain and humidity doesn't work here. So, I built a solar food dryer according to the plans in Ebon Fodor's book The Solar Food Dryer. I've also built one from the design developed by Appalachian State University in the late 1990's. I've written about them in my blog at Yes, you can dry food in humid areas with these dryers.

Subscribe Today!

Pay Now & Save 67% Off the Cover Price

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here