Non-Electric Dehydrator – How to Build an Infrared Solar Dryer
Oct 07, · We continue our homestead prepping and show how to build a solar dryer with this easy simple DIY solar food dehydrator design using solar energy & dehydratin. Step 4: The Covering Before we can start covering our frame, we need to get the tray supports installed while there is still plenty of room. On the back panel, mark 4” up from the bottom bar on the uprights. Proceed to mark the upright at 4” intervals. Now, Attach the pieces of 1X2 to the sides.
This guide will show you how to build a solar food dryer which you can use to dry-out your fruits and vegetables. The obvious solution is to preserve your food when you have it in abundance, and drying with the sun is one of the easiest, most energy-efficient ways to do so. It also maintains a lot more of the original nutrients than canning or freezing.
The concept of a solar food dryer is simple: move warm air over thinly sliced buidl. The warmer the air, the more moisture it can remove from the food. Our design creates just enough air movement and warmth to dry food quickly.
The food is laid out on trays, which sit behind a transparent polycarbonate sheet. As heated air rises through the food, cool air is drawn in through the bottom vent, and the heated, moisture-laden huild flows out the exhaust at the top.
Because the food dryer is something we plan to use for many years to come, we decided to make ours out of metal. Caulk all the edges and seams of the sheet metal and polycarbonate panels with silicone caulk. Paint the entire inside black, focusing especially on the heat absorber what is a j pouch procedure sides. Abe Connally and Josie Moores live with bild two sons off the grid in the mountains dyer the Chihuahuan Desert.
They develop innovative and practical solutions to homesteading on a budget. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Ti choice sokar will be recorded for all Make. Skip to content. Projects from Make: Magazine Solar Food Dryer This guide will show you how to build a solar food dryer which you can use to dry-out your fruits and vegetables. Share via. December 18,pm PST. Parts Tools Parts Thin wooden molding 2 how to use fiskars corner punch lengths Food-safe screen 1 16'x2' Sheet metal screws, self-tapping Wood screws 50 Black paint 1 Dimensional lumber 11 1x2, 8' lengths Silicone caulk 1 Sheet metal 1 Galvanized, 16' X 3' Polycarbonate panel 1 Flat, 2'x8', translucent.
Sold for greenhouses and patio covers. Hinges 2 latch 1 Steel tubing 1 1' square, 40'. Wood saw. Project Steps View All 1. Make the frame. Clamp the 2 top sidepieces Make the door. Add tray supports and the heat absorber. Cover the frame. Screen the vents. Seal and paint 8. Make the drying trays 9. Attach the door Use it. Step 1: Make the frame. Next Prev.
Preserving garden bounty is an important part of self-reliance. One efficient way to preserve the harvest is by dehydrating food. Electric dehydrators are a great way to go. However, in a true survival scenario, the luxury of electricity may not be available. Our infrared solar dryer is an effective way to dry fruits and vegetables using only the power of the sun.
Why use infrared solar drying to preserve fruits and vegetables? The food is not exposed to sunlight which leads to vitamin loss. It is simple to construct and best of all it does not require electricity to preserve fruits and vegetables.
The design is simple, yet highly effective. You can learn more about Tom Bartels and his biointensive gardening techniques here. He has some great ideas that we are implementing into our homestead. This energy drives through and into the food chamber, drying the food. The humid, heated air is exhausted into the heat channel beneath and flows up and out of the dryer. This rising air pulls air in to fill the vacuum and the process continues. An infrared solar dryer is an amazing tool that uses the free energy of the sun to dehydrate food.
Because it does not use electricity, it is an ideal way to preserve food every day as well as during a grid-down event. The design protects the food from sunlight, protecting the fragile vitamins. It also keeps the food away from flies and insects. Dehydrated produce can be shelf stable for several years without the need for refrigeration. It truly is an effective way to preserve the harvest. This infrared solar dryer design is simple to construct and has no moving parts other than a set of hinges to open the lid.
It is incredibly sturdy, should require little maintenance, and provide many years of service. Using an infrared solar dryer is incredibly simple. Simply lift the lid and place the prepared food on the screen inside of the dryer. Close the lid and let the sun work its magic. Depending on the food and the sun, food will be dehydrated in a day or two to a week.
Design credit for this dryer goes to Tom Bartels. You can learn more about his work here. We wanted something a bit smaller so our solar dryer is 2 feet by 4 feet. We plan to construct a total of 5 solar dryers to meet the needs of our family.
This is a list of the basic materials that we used. Most of the materials that you may need can be purchased at your local hardware store or from Home Depot online. Spray paint one side of the tin sheet that has been pre-cut to the right size with flat black high -temperature spray paint. Cut the lumber to the size of dryer you want to build. Tom Bartels solar dryer was 2 feet wide by 8 feet long and was divided into 4 compartments. Our dryer is half the size measuring 2 feet by 4 feet.
To simplify the construction process, you will want to start with an elevated working surface. Lay out the lumber to form the box. We predrilled holes in the both the tin and the wood. The tin was attached to the wood using roofing nails for a smooth surface. Remember that the painted side of the tin is exposed to the sun and the unpainted side goes next to the food. We want to make sure that there are no toxins near the food. Build the frame and then attach the stainless steel screen to the top.
We used a combination of staples and screws to secure it. We repurposed some used pro-panel or metal roof panels that we installed underneath the stainless steel screen. It is important to use heavy duty hinges. The top of the dryer is heavy and sturdy hinges will help it to last a very long time.
The angle of the solar dryer box should be at 13 degrees. This angle encourages the warm air to rise, taking the moist air away from the drying produce. Any steeper than 13 degrees and the food slides down to the bottom of the trays. He also used a support wire to keep the top from flopping backwards and a prop rod to make it easier when filling the dryer. Instead of a support wire, Jonathan repurposed an old dog chain to support the lid while filling and prevent it from flopping backward.
It works really well. A 2-foot by 8-foot solar dryer would require supports at both ends using the chain due to the increased weight. Jonathan realized that the cold winds were blowing into the dryer and added a piece of metal flashing to take care of that.
That wind barrier allows this dryer to regularly achieve temperatures of to degrees Fahrenheit. The internal temperature of the infrared solar dryer rises with the intensity of the sun. It will cool off when the sun goes down. The fluctuation in temperature is fine when drying fruits and vegetables, but not for any food, such as meat, that requires a constant temperature. Follow the recommended guidelines for preparing produce for dehydration.
Start by washing high quality ripe fruit. Thinly slice fruits like bananas, apples, pears, strawberries, kiwis, mangos, and pineapple. Apples and pears get to be dried with the skins on. I cut apricots and small plums in half and then invert them. That pops the center out and helps to flatten them.
Small fruits such as grapes, blueberries and cranberries can be left hole. You will get better results if you pierce the skin before drying. I cut larger grapes in half before drying them. Melons are amazingly sweet when dried. They take significantly longer due to the high water content. My favorite vegetables to dehydrate include diced celery, sliced squash, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, cabbage, diced carrots, diced beets, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, peppers, and cherry tomatoes.
Just about any vegetable dries well. Greens are packed with nutrition. Once they are completely dry, they will store for a couple of years if packaged correctly. I vacuum seal the greens in canning jars.
Dried greens are a great way to add nutrition to your diet. It is not safe to dry meat in an infrared solar dryer due to the fluctuation in temperature. Meat should be dried in a dehydrator that can maintain a constant safe temperature. The infrared solar dryer is comparable to the oven method for herb drying. Herbs are usually dry within just a couple of days during the heat of the summer. The sun is an amazing resource. This infrared solar dryer takes advantage of that free resource, and lets you harness the energy to dehydrate produce.
We are preparing for a long term grid down event. This basic technology lets us safely preserve the harvest without using any of our precious fuel supplies.
It is inexpensive and should last for many years. This solar dehydrator is definitely an asset in our journey to become more self-reliant.
One of the things that I like best about the infrared solar dryer is that it is foolproof. It requires no tending on my part to successfully dry the food. If I leave it in a day or two after it is dry, no harm done. All I have to do is put the prepared food on the screen, close the lid, and walk away. A huge thanks to Tom Bartels for sharing his amazing design with us.
You can learn more from Tom Bartels here. You can learn more about his biointensive gardening techniques in our post, Biointensive Victory Gardens: Higher Yields with Less Work. Kylene Jones is a blogger, content creator, published author, motivational speaker, homesteader, prepper, mother, and grandmother.
She practices self-reliance, provident living, and emergency preparedness in her everyday life. She loves working with her husband, Jonathan, and is committed to helping our community be prepared to thrive during the challenges that lie in our future. Skip to content Approx Reading Time: 9 minutes. Categories: Home Production. Categories: Home Production , Preparedness.