Solar Food Drying
Solar food drying is fun, easy and free. With renewable sunshine, you can dry as much as you like, as often as you like. Solar food drying is a far more practical way to dry your garden produce than most people would think.
A good, high-performance, solar dryer is designed to harness the sun's enegy efficiently. It will capture the radiant energy of the sun and convert it to heated air. It will generate movement of the warm air across the food and vent moist air out of the dryer by using the bouyancy of the air like a "solar fan." A good solar dryer will work amazingly well in almost any part of North America throughout the solar food drying season: May through October.
Using the sun to dry food may be the oldest form of food preservation, dating back thousands of years. For many prehistoric people, dried fruits, berries, grains, fish and meat were essential to surviving the cold winters. Hanging or laying food out in the open air and sunshine was the simplest method available for drying and preserving the food collected over the summer. But open-air sun drying has many limitations.
Solar drying is a big step forward over sun drying. The term "Solar dryer" is used to refer to a durable, enclosed, weatherproof dryer that takes advantage of solar energy design principles to efficiently dry food. "Sun drying" refers to simply placing food out in the open air and sunshine to dry. A properly-designed solar dryer will dry food much faster and will get food much dryer, resulting in better quality and longer-lasting food.
You can learn all about this exciting solar application from the book, The Solar Food Dryer: How to make and use your own high-performance, sun-powered food dehydrator, by Eben Fodor.
More information on solar food drying can be found under these links: