• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • jordan barton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Leigh Tate
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Greg Martin
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Jay Angler
gardeners:
  • Nancy Reading
  • Mike Barkley
  • Christopher Shepherd

Anyone have experiences to share about drying fruit with a woodstove?

 
pollinator
Posts: 125
Location: Clackamas County, OR (zone 7)
72
  • Likes 12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Today I picked 700 persimmons off our tree, after having picked 500 the day the day before... Probably half the fruit remains, although some of it is high enough as to be unreachable. I love dried persimmons, but I want to get away from running the food dehydrator if I can help it. A solar drier is on the docket for next year, but solar drying would be very hard this time of year in Oregon, anyway.

So, I have a woodfired cookstove that we use to dry clothes (a toddler in the house with cloth diapers makes that a pretty much daily affair), so it runs at a low level for much of the day. It has a stove, but it gets too hot to dry stuff, I think. With the door wide open it might work, I will have to check the temp. Has anyone made any sort of wood-fired dehydrator? I could hang stuff above the stove, or build something to stand next to it. The fruit is going to need a week at least to ripen up, so I have some time to tinker on this.

I would love to hear if other people have tried this, and what has or has not worked well. Thanks!
 
gardener
Posts: 1033
Location: Eilean a' Cheo
333
transportation dog forest garden foraging trees books food preservation woodworking wood heat rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have a wood fired Esse range cooker, which has two ovens. The lower oven is always much cooler. I use it for warming things, keeping things warm, and sterilizing jars when making jams mainly. However it is also very good for drying fruits. I put the fruit on a rack and leave the door to the oven open. I usually leave the fruit in overnight, so sometimes it turns out a bit more crunchy than I would like. I have dried apples, banana, yacon, parsnip, onion, kale, pears and grapes. It sounds like our stove is too different from yours for this to be of much use for you. I suspect some sort of racking above the stove may be best for you if you have just one the one oven. Good airflow will help dry out fruit more quickly and evenly.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1866
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
473
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Offhand, I think you have identified a perfect solution. A heat source creates a convection draft. Anything spread out on racks above it will dry out. The only question is if your fruit needs to be halved or pitted to dry well. Adding a small fan will also help speed the process, especially in a PNW moist environment. Luck!
 
Carl Nystrom
pollinator
Posts: 125
Location: Clackamas County, OR (zone 7)
72
  • Likes 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
OK, I decided to try a quick proof-of-concept:



I borrowed the hanging herb basket, and put some cheese cloth in the bottom. With the stove puttering along like we usually do this time of year, it got up to about 108 degrees and 20% RH in the lower basket. It holds less than 2 lbs of fruit, however, so it is going to have to scale up. I ordered some  roughly 10x15" cookie cooling trays, and my plan is to build a rack that they can slide into. Being able to load trays elsewhere and then also quickly and easily rotate them seems like an important feature. I think I will plan on using the same racks for my solar dehydrator.

I might try and build little steel feet for my rack so that it can sit straight on the stove, as it might get too heavy to hang if it is loaded up with fruit. The shipping is going to take its sweet time, but I will post some updates when I get something cobbled together.
 
Carl Nystrom
pollinator
Posts: 125
Location: Clackamas County, OR (zone 7)
72
  • Likes 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Okay, I did manage to dry two batches with the herb basket - which only wound up being about a quart of pear slices. The toddler likes the "dried out pears." So far, so good!

Here is version 2.0:


I am now up to 900sq inches of space, and can rotate them quickly and easily. The feet can be adjusted by loosening the bolts at the bottom. If enough persimmons are ripe I will try and weigh how much will fit on a rack, and get an estimate of total capacity.

At first I was worried about leaving the fruit overnight if it had just gotten partially dry - but the concern was unfounded. It develops a bit a skin after even just a few hours. I will post some more updates when I get a chance to test it out.
 
Posts: 31
Location: Meriden, NH
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
WOW, that looks great.  Where did you get the trays and are you a welder?  What kind of metal in the wrack and trays?  Sorry for all the questions.  I've been looking for a way to construct something like this for years.  It would probably work in a greenhouse inthe summer.
 
Posts: 6
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Carl Nystrom wrote:

Here is version 2.0:



I am now up to 900sq inches of space, and can rotate them quickly and easily. The feet can be adjusted by loosening the bolts at the bottom. If enough persimmons are ripe I will try and weigh how much will fit on a rack, and get an estimate of total capacity.



Wow!  Looks fantastic!  What a great idea!  Are the verticals made of hollow square metal tubes?  I'm assuming you drilled the holes yourself.  You did a great job.  I'm going to see if I can build one of those myself.   I have a 'two-sided' fireplace where one side had a fireplace insert installed, and the other side just has a metal plate covering the opening.   The hearth has slots in it above the fireplace, where hot air comes out.   I ended up putting a stand-alone planter in front of it, with a screen on top of the planter, in order to dry rose hips, and it worked great, but is soooo small.   Your invention is exactly what I need.

Thanks so much for sharing!
 
Carl Nystrom
pollinator
Posts: 125
Location: Clackamas County, OR (zone 7)
72
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kathy; I ordered the trays on amazon; they are stainless and come in a variety of sizes.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081TD44T1?ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details&th=1
These fit in the baking trays I have, and will also fit well under the sheet of glass I have for my solar dehydrator.

Loretta; The legs are constructed from 1/2" square tube - which only has .065 wall thickness. To give it a little more meat to tap with threads, I welded on a little patch of 1/8" steel at the bottom. The adjustable feet seem to be working well, and I am testing different heights to try and dial it in. The shelf-brackets are made from 1/2" by 1/2" by 1/8" angle iron, and they are held together with some 1" by 1/8" flat bar. It barely fit inside my brothers little sandblasting cabinet, but I managed to blast off most of the mill scale. I rubbed it down in vegetable oil, and if I keep it coated, that seems like that should keep it in pretty good shape for a few generations at least.

My persimmons have just started to ripen, so I am running my second batch on it now. It takes about 2 days, depending on how much I run the woodstove. The fruit at the bottom dries much faster, so I rotate the fruit every couple of hours or so. It takes maybe a minute to rotate them, which is nice. One over-ripe slice that was probably a little bit funky already did mold on me, but in general, that has not been a problem. I measured that I can put about one and a quarter pounds per tray, or about 7 to 8 pounds on the whole rack. If the weather was cold, and I kept it running all the time, I could probably dry at least 100lbs of fruit per month.

Anyway, I am happy with it, and I will try and post some more pictures of my results later on.
 
Loretta Liefveld
Posts: 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Carl Nystrom wrote:
Loretta; The legs are constructed from 1/2" square tube - which only has .065 wall thickness. To give it a little more meat to tap with threads, I welded on a little patch of 1/8" steel at the bottom. The adjustable feet seem to be working well, and I am testing different heights to try and dial it in. The shelf-brackets are made from 1/2" by 1/2" by 1/8" angle iron, and they are held together with some 1" by 1/8" flat bar. It barely fit inside my brothers little sandblasting cabinet, but I managed to blast off most of the mill scale. I rubbed it down in vegetable oil, and if I keep it coated, that seems like that should keep it in pretty good shape for a few generations at least.



Thanks so much, Carl.  Very helpful.  My hubby is a retired plastic injection mold maker.... he loves working with metal, so I'm sure he'll be able to make this.
 
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The metal shelves are a great idea.
 
Posts: 24
5
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's my cheap, hokey version. Screws in the ceiling above the wood stove.  Used old high tensile fence wire we found in the field in the ground.  Bought some metal screen at the farm store.  Used old electric fence wire to hang it with.  It's right next to the brick chimney.  When we use small sticks for wood instead of huge logs, it works.  We are in western Washington, same humidity.  
1635891784298.jpg
Empty racks
Empty racks
1634359551488.jpg
Lovely chanterelles drying
Lovely chanterelles drying
 
Why does your bag say "bombs"? The reason I ask is that my bag says "tiny ads" and it has stuff like this:
Pre-order Certified Garden Master course - LIVE Stream
https://permies.com/wiki/170833/Pre-order-Certified-Garden-Master
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic