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Can I use a solar dehydrator the same way as a regular electrical dehydrator?

 
pollinator
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I had a dehydrator previous that broke beyond repair (it had a short life span and was basically very bad quality). I used to love dehydrating a "raw banana bread" which was more like a cookie/flapjack than a bread but was really healthy and a great snack for my kids. It was smeared out over a silpat and put in the dehydrator for about 24 hours total (of course I wouldn't be able to do that with a solar but maybe if I brought it in overnight and put back outside the next day). Just wondering if it will do what I'd like it to before I invest in one. Probably a better idea to buy a solar dryer than another electrical one like excalibur. What do you think?
 
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The big question is, how much sun do you get? Solar anything needs sun, so if you have a lot of short sunlight or cloudy days, a solar dehydrator may not perform as hoped for. Humidity plays a factor as well, so with many humid, sunless days, there's the risk of food items molding rather than drying. Your raw banana bread sounds like a very moist product, so I suspect that unless you have a lot of sunny, dry days, you'd be better of reinvesting in another electric dehydrator. The alternative might be to use an inverter and run it off a solar-charged battery.
 
N.Y. Anzai
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Leigh Tate wrote:The big question is, how much sun do you get? Solar anything needs sun, so if you have a lot of short sunlight or cloudy days, a solar dehydrator may not perform as hoped for. Humidity plays a factor as well, so with many humid, sunless days, there's the risk of food items molding rather than drying. Your raw banana bread sounds like a very moist product, so I suspect that unless you have a lot of sunny, dry days, you'd be better of reinvesting in another electric dehydrator. The alternative might be to use an inverter and run it off a solar-charged battery.



We have solar panels 8.3kw, east/west facing. We get average of 30kwh per day during summer though some days up to 45kwh (usually mid to low 30s degrees c) and today we got 14kwh (temp high was 18 degrees c but majority of the day was between 12-14 degrees). Summer is very humid or rainy but autumn is usually dry.
 
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They run very different from an electric one.  You are used to that with your solar electricity.  But if you don't get the sun power you expected, the food will probably mold, at least in the wet season.

My wife has been experimenting with curing herbs.  Basically, take a closet or tent, put a small dehumidifier in it, and put the herbs out on mesh or hang.  It stays cooler than a dehydrator and seems to work almost as fast.  The little dehumidifier draws 60 watts and will run from wall power or 12v battery. Not sure it's enough to dry wet food like banana bread, but maybe a similar idea could be added to a solar dehydrator to boost it at night or cloudy days.
 
Leigh Tate
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N.Y., if you haven't found it already, this Permies thread, Solar Food Dryers may be helpful. The discussion has been ongoing for about a decade, but a lot of good plans and information is discussed. It might answer some of your questions.
 
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