Build Your Own Solar Food Dehydrator: Preserve Your Harvest!

Categories: Cooking
The importance of quality food in daily life cannot be ignored. If all you seek is taste, freshness and nutrition, then only a local farmer or your own garden can facilitate your need. Not every fruit or vegetable that you like would be available around the year. So, how to plan a healthy lifestyle while making sure you get what you want throughout? There are different methods of preserving food, but what way seems more legit to you? Have you heard about diy solar food dehydrator – they are absolutely worth it.

You do not have to spend much money in acquiring them from the market as homemade food dehydrator can do the job for you. You might be thinking how on earth is it possible to craft a solar food dryer at your home? Well, here are 8 simple yet effective DIY plans which would answer your biggest question, “how to build a food dehydrator”?

Dehydrators come in every size and design imaginable. Residential units usually are about the size of a large microwave oven and use a bottom heating element to improve the drying process. Simple homemade units have been built using everything from cardboard boxes with a small light bulb in the bottom for heat, to larger homemade dehydrators made from discarded refrigerators, wooden shipping crates, and metal shelving.

The main design feature for all dehydrators is multiple porous racks that will support small slices of fruits, meats, or garden herbs spaced closely together while still allowing good airflow around and through these racks. Good airflow is mandatory; the goal is to slowly remove the moisture from the food, not cook it.

Most dehydrators have ventilation near the bottom, so that the air passes up through the drying racks before exiting near the top. Since heated air rises, some dehydrator designs do not require electricity and rely on natural air convection to provide the airflow. More expensive dehydrators will include adjustable air dampers and exhaust fans to draw air through the racks and out the top. This dehydrator project includes air intake vents located on each side near the bottom, and a larger outlet vent on the back near the top.

Step-by-step construction

1. Cut all parts as shown. Note the top is set back 1¼ inches from the front edge to clear the sliding front so it can be pulled up and out.

2. Add the rack supports to both left and right-side boards, then drill the air vents as shown between the lower two racks.

3. After cutting out the three openings in the back to fit the top louver, glue down a layer of heavy aluminum foil before adding the rear rack supports.?

4. Cover the underside of the top board, and top side of the bottom board with a layer of heavy aluminum foil before final assembly.

5. Assemble the sides, back, top, and bottom using construction glue and finish nails or screws. Sand all rough surfaces and corners.

6. Finally, install the metal rails to support the removable sliding Plexiglas® front. This front Plexiglas® could also slide in grooves cut into the sides and bottom, which would eliminate the metal rails.

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