This video by rickvanman is a must see for everyone who grows their own food! If you produce your own vegetable crops, you’ll know that many of them ripen within a very short period of time, leaving you with way more than you can eat fresh – so it’s necessary to find ways to store your surplus produce for the remainder of the year. If you live in a sunny climate, a solar dehydrator can save on both the purchase (easily $500) and the running cost of an electric dehydrator or a freezer and reduce the space needed for home freezing or canning/bottling.
Why Dry Food?
Drying food is a tried and tested way to preserve it – generally speaking home-dried vegetables will last for anything up to a year, although under ideal conditions it can be many years more! They’re also great if you’re out back-packing and need to carry lightweight supplies.
The technology used here is really simple and the materials are easy to come by. Rick gives us good instructions and a clear view of all the steps of the creation process so it’s possible for anyone who has basic DIY skills to have a go.
As the video was posted very soon after Rick made the dryer there are a couple of slight modifications needed – one is simply a 3-inch hole on the back (near the top) of the box to allow warm air to vent out. The other would be to add some fly-screen to the air intake and top vent to keep any bugs out. I would rate this as very important! Also it might help to bring the dehydrator indoors at night to avoid damp getting in.
How to make the most of this device
Another tip to make the most of this device would be of course to buy larger quantities of fruit of vegetables when at a reduced price and dry them at home.
To use spray paint, like this inventor does, it’s crucial to use the right kind of face mask for the solvent vapor or use paint with a brush to stay safe. There could also be concerns about toxic chemicals in treated timber (I would definitely use untreated timber (and perhaps paint the outside surface to preserve it) and food-safe silicone would do instead of glue.
This kind of dryer would also be ideal for quick drying of onions or garlic after lifting before they are stored for the winter.