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Solar oven for drying fruit?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 4
Location: Oregon Coast
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I have a new solar oven (the portable Global Sun Oven) which is amazing to me... in just over a week I have cooked several dishes including veggies, meat, desserts and bread. According to the mfg, the oven will work for dehydrating foods... I wonder if any permies folks have used a solar oven like this for dehydrating and have advice to offer. We will be drying lots of prune plums in Sept and they usually require a couple days in the electric dryer.
 
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
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I've dried a few things with the sun: tomato slices, apple schnitz, herbs, onions, spinach. Solar drying can be slower than electric, but the price is right. Electric dryers offer smooth air flow and steady temperatures. Solar drying might be held up with passing clouds, unexpected rain, and kids making shadow figures. Solar relies on convection for airflow, which can diminish greatly for the same reasons. If the goods are not dried at the end of the day, being cut produce, it needs to be refrigerated then you start over the next day with a cold product. It took me 3 days to dry those onions. The tomato slices stuck to the screen so bad I destroyed them getting them off-it took too long to dry the outer surface. Herbs and spinach came out perfect.

Some solar dryer designs have the sun shining directly on the food. Some of those phytochemicals are degraded or destroyed by intense, prolonged, direct sunlight on dead food. Designs with shading of the food will offer a healthier result.

The air intake is often low to the ground on some of these designs. If the ground near the intake is moist, it will slow drying time and can bring in airborne fungi and bacteria which may be able to get a toehold on your stuff if the conditions are right. There is also the problem of ground odors. This can all be solved with good ground cover or a standpipe air intake.

 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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the solar oven might get a bit hot unless properly vented, so it doesn't cook but rather dries the food..you can dry food just in the sun on screens also over a wood stove..but another thing I have heard but not tried as I was concerned about fumes is drying food in an automobile..
 
Posts: 76
Location: Silicon Valley
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I have dried fruit in my car...No flies!!! Gets really hot, but takes about 3 days.... I have sun-dried tomatoes and grapes this way the past 2 years, and this year I am branching out with apples, blueberries and cherries.....
Works great!
 
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