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Dehydrate Food in a Solar Dehydrator - PEP BB food.sand.dehydrate

BB Food Prep and Preservation - sand badge
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This is a badge bit (BB) that is part of the PEP curriculum.  Completing this BB is part of getting the sand badge in Food Prep and Preservation

For this badge bit, you will dehydrate at least two pounds of food.

To complete this BB, the minimum requirements are:
  - you must use a solar food dehydrator
  - you must have two pounds of food before dehydration

To show you've completed this Badge Bit, you must provide:
   - a picture of your food on a scale before dehydration (or, obviously far more than two pounds)
   - a picture of your food in your solar dehydrator before dehydration (with entire structure of dehydrator)
   - a picture of your food in your solar dehydrator after dehydration (with entire structure of dehydrator)

Step
1

Build a Solar Dehydrator



If there is already a solar dehydrator that you can use, you can skip this step.

Mother Earth News wrote a good article on how to build a solar food dehydrator. Dehydrator Spot also wrote a good article about how to build a solar food dehydrator. These are other variations on solar food dehydrators.







Step
2

Collect the Food



Food could be collected from your food forest, farm, garden, foraging, your local farmer's market, CSA shares, sharing and trading with neighbors, or your local organic grocer.

Harvesting from a Food Forest


Foraging Wild Edibles


Wonderful CSA Shares Box




Step
3

Dehydrate Your Food



Prepare food for your solar dehydrator however you like, then, place your food in your solar dehydrator.



COMMENTS:
 
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I did both kale and tomatoes for this bb. I was so eager to use the dehydrator I didn't read the documentation needed beforehans and then the group and myself were excited to eat it afterwards so the finished kale picture is the meager scraps haha. I don't have a photo on the scale but I do know it was approximately 12 Roma tomatoes and 4 bunches of three leaves of kale. Thought I'd post my documentation and give it a shot!
IMG_1228.JPG
solar dehydrator plus veggies
solar dehydrator plus veggies
IMG_1230.JPG
on racks in the dryer
on racks in the dryer
IMG_1306.JPG
dried tomato
dried tomato
IMG_1311-2.JPG
Dried greens
Dried greens
Staff note (paul wheaton) :

This took a long time to certify because the scale requirement was not met. I have decided to certify this because we are still quite early into PEP - but future BBs need to meet all of the requirements.

 
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(Paul Wheaton writes in the referring email) Nothing rhymes with Solar Dehydrator ...

Really?
 
In my Solar Dehydrator,
I can melt a Polar Skyscraper.
One piece at a time,
Just to keep the rhyme.
 
LOL

 
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An arctic snow bunting is a "polar wee migrator"!
 
pollinator
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Does this work?

Dehydrated approximately 20 lbs of cherries in my solar dehydrator.

I didn't get the weight before hand but my after dehydration weight was 2 lbs.
20200705_170620.jpg
Pitting cherries
Pitting cherries
20200705_171239.jpg
Cherries before dehydrating
Cherries before dehydrating
20200705_171048.jpg
Bigger picture of the dehydrator
Bigger picture of the dehydrator
15946941123733815686116149359432.jpg
Another view of dehydrator
Another view of dehydrator
20200705_171239.jpg
Dried cherries
Dried cherries
 
Penny McLoughlin
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Trying again

Dried cherries
15946944940217579694810424129330.jpg
Dried cherries on scale
Dried cherries on scale
20200705_171032.jpg
Dried cherries in dehydrator
Dried cherries in dehydrator
Staff note (Mike Haasl) :

I certify this BB complete! Along with your spiffy new air badge

 
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All week there's been a huge box of mushrooms here at Wheaton Labs. They were starting to turn, and so I got permission to dry a couple pounds of them:
IMG_20200810_152135_1.jpg
2 lbs mushrooms
2 lbs mushrooms
IMG_20200810_160320.jpg
Going in
Going in
IMG_20200811_212931.jpg
Coming out
Coming out
Staff note :

I certify this BB complete!

 
author & gardener
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Originally, I thought this BB would be the one I wouldn't be able to do to complete this sand badge. That's because I live where the humidity is so bad that it melts the goats' salt in the mineral feeder. All my research years ago suggested that solar dehydrators aren't suited to high humidity climates. I got to thinking about this and recalled a solar oven webinar I hosted several years ago. One of the topics was how to use that brand solar oven as a solar dehydrator. It's a different technique from solar cooking, and so required several adjustments. And practice! My first batch didn't turn out, but I learned from it and am excited to now know that solar dehydration is possible for me. I'll show the adjustments in the photos below.

Two pounds of fresh onions for solar dehydrating.

Getting started.

To dry, and not cook, the onions, here's what I had to do.

Adjustment #1: Use the dehydrator rack.

I learned from experimenting that I need to stir the onions occasionally and switch out the order of the racks. I removed individual onion pieces as soon as they dried sufficiently.

Adjustment #2: Set oven door on top of the door latches.

Solar cooking is moist heat cooking, so this allowed excess moisture to escape.

Adjustment #3: Use focuser to angle the oven to the east of the sun.

To obtain a lower temperature, I also had to offset the direction of the oven from the sun. I started by turning the oven 6 inches to the east, kept an eye on the temperature, and adjusted as needed.

It took three days to dry a batch of onions. Here's the last of them ready to come out.

Last of the onions ready to come out.

Yield from 2 pounds fresh onions was 3/4 quart dry onions.

I'm encouraged by this experiment. The disadvantage of using my solar oven is that its capacity is small. But, for the first time, I can see a dedicated solar dehydrator in my future.


Staff note :

I certify this BB complete!

 
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I dehydrated some apples this fall.  I used my Walk radiant solar dehydrator to do the work.
One-pile-o-apples.jpg
One pile o' apples
One pile o' apples
More-than-2-lbs.jpg
More than 2 lbs
More than 2 lbs
Going-in-dehydrator.jpg
Going in dehydrator
Going in dehydrator
Coming-out.jpg
Coming out
Coming out
Staff note (Ashley Cottonwood) :

I certify this BB complete!

 
Anderson gave himself the promotion. So I gave myself this tiny ad:
Greenhouse of the Future ebook - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/greenhouse
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