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solar dehydrator? Answered

Do you think a home built solar dehydrator (say something like this https://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-Dehydrator-1/) would be effective enough to safely make your fruit leathers?

1 Replies

Paige RussellBest Answer (author)2017-01-24

Hi jkimball,

Solar dehydrators, especially indirect* ones like the design you linked to, can be a great way to dry foods and save on electricity. Their success and reliability depends on how humid your location is, how much moisture content the food you want to dry has, and how diligent you're willing to be.

In desert climates where there's low-to-no humidity you can put food out with screen covers and see results quickly. But in more humid locations, of course the sun needs to be shining, but more than that, you need to bring the food in every night to ensure that your food doesn't rehydrate and mold.

If you're confident that you will be on point every night and that your location humidity is low to normal, do a test! If your fruit leather dries with no signs of mold, yay! If mold appears, dispose of the test and stick to indoor electric dehydrators. :)

*Indirect solar dehydrator designs have a lower box that has air intake holes and layers of dark wire mesh – or even simple black paper – that are exposed to the sun through a glass or plastic pane which heats up the air as it enters the lower box. The heat then rises up into the box that contains the racks of food for drying. Direct dryers (the sun hits the food directly through a clear pane) can degrade the quality and vitamin content of the food due to UV exposure.

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