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Old 04-08-2010, 03:16 AM
lanahi lanahi is offline
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Default Homemade food dehydrators



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Drying foods is a great way to preserve them. Not all of us can afford a food dehydrator, and the sun may not shine at the right time, or the humidity may be too high for an outdoor solar dehydrator. Or you just don't want to do it outside where all the neighbors can see what you're doing.
If you've still got electricity, here is a homemade one that may not have to cost anything at all:
http://www.alpharubicon.com/prepinfo...torstryder.htm

On the other hand, you may have the sun to dry it with. Here is one set of plans to build a solar dehydrator:
http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/abeng/plans/6244.pdf

I've also just solar dried foods between two screens.

Any other ideas?
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:34 AM
lanahi lanahi is offline
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This discusses other ways of preserving foods, such as smoking and salting:
http://www.unu.edu/unupress/food/8F072e/8F072E06.htm
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:54 AM
wizardangel1 wizardangel1 is offline
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Default home made dehydrator ideas

as SOLAR dehydrator concept ,,big garden I grow I often have too much to be handled by my 10 tray unit ,,sometimes I even use the back windsheild shelf on my car with small trays for juicy tomatoes after peeling to speed things up a bit ,,but the large black trash cans with tight lids set in sun get very hot ,,so this year I will try placeing trays on dowelrods inside and grab some of those silly hat clamp on solar fans to get a air flow going !! And if my cammera batteries hold up grab some step by step video AS I build topost on utube ..frankly I think many veggies have better a taste after dehydration and I do most of my own ,,eggplants ,butternuts ,zucks , tomatoes ,turnips,even spinch and carrots -all I need is more dehydration room..wish me Luck ,,thanks all
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:02 AM
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Alton Brown, of Good Eats (The Food Channel) fame, did a show on dehydration once. And indulged his taste for improvisation by building a dehydrator out of a box fan, furnace filters, and bungee cords. I've tried it, it works, but VERY slowly...

Here's a link to a transcript:

http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/Seaso...eringbites.htm
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:11 PM
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About 10 years back, I went through my "solar phase" where I tried all sorts of solar ovens and made a nice dehydrator. Here's the one I based mine on:

http://www.thefarm.org/charities/i4at/surv/solarchm.htm

This design has some pros and cons. First off, it's a little complicated to construct and it's heavy. I put it on large casters because I needed to move it around. This turned out to be a good idea because it also lets you rotate it to keep it facing the sun. The summer sun is strong enough that it doesn't need rotated much, but in the fall, when you will harvest the most crops, the sun isn't as strong.

The design operates by draft. The box fills with heated air that moves down from the top of the unit. When it finally reaches the flue opening in the rear, it flows out and up the flue. This is what starts the draft and keeps warm, dry air flowing over the food. That means the flue opening in the rear has to be higher than the cold air opening in the front. It also means that the seams to the box have to be totally air tight, including the door. Otherwise heated air just escapes out the openings and the draft never starts. It took some tinkering to get that figured out, but once I did, I was very impressed.

The pros to the design is that it's very efficient. It holds more produce than just about any other design that I could find at the time. When the draft starts, you have a good airflow of warm air over the crop and it dries evenly and quickly. You do need to rotate the shelves so the bottom ones end up on top for even drying though. If you rotate it every hour or two in the fall, it still dries about as effectively as an electric unit. Also since there's no direct sunlight on the food, you eliminate sun bleaching.
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Old 04-09-2010, 07:33 PM
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A couple years ago I built a dehydrating cabinet for my wife.

38 inches high with a counter top, 4 foot wide, two columns of drawers. Twnety drawers each is about 2 inches high with a window screen bottom, each is 18 inches by 18 inches square. In the bottom of the cabinet is two light bulbs, one in each half. resting on top of the bulbs are two shallow tin pans that can hold water when we are doing sprouts.

It is fun to play with.
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Old 04-09-2010, 07:49 PM
lanahi lanahi is offline
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Some good ideas. Thanks.
Old 06-13-2012, 01:03 PM
Ronin2009 Ronin2009 is offline
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Default Homemade dehydrator

I am working on a modification of this design:
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/sanders63.html
But am wondering about trays. I figure the process will be enhanced by trays with holes or slots (as the Excaliber, etc) but can you use solid trays? Since the heat is so low, are aluminum trays acceptable? What about making custom sized screens from parts at the home store and using aluminum screening material? Any tips would be appreciated
Old 06-13-2012, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moccasin View Post
Alton Brown, of Good Eats (The Food Channel) fame, did a show on dehydration once. And indulged his taste for improvisation by building a dehydrator out of a box fan, furnace filters, and bungee cords. I've tried it, it works, but VERY slowly...

Here's a link to a transcript:

http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/Seaso...eringbites.htm
Loved the Alton Brown method when I saw it a couple years back.

It does depend heavily on local climate though. Our climate is near desert status in humidity / precip so it works well here, but may not fare so well in the South or extremely humid locations.
Old 06-13-2012, 02:48 PM
Sooner_Will_Survive Sooner_Will_Survive is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moccasin View Post
Alton Brown, of Good Eats (The Food Channel) fame, did a show on dehydration once. And indulged his taste for improvisation by building a dehydrator out of a box fan, furnace filters, and bungee cords. I've tried it, it works, but VERY slowly...

Here's a link to a transcript:

http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/Seaso...eringbites.htm
many people get confused thinking they need heat to dry food's. this is how i dry many of my foods. air only
Old 06-13-2012, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronin2009 View Post
I am working on a modification of this design:
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/sanders63.html
But am wondering about trays. I figure the process will be enhanced by trays with holes or slots (as the Excaliber, etc) but can you use solid trays? Since the heat is so low, are aluminum trays acceptable? What about making custom sized screens from parts at the home store and using aluminum screening material? Any tips would be appreciated
Ventilation is the single most important factor in dehydration. Far more so than heat. You need ventilated trays.
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:12 PM
Sooner_Will_Survive Sooner_Will_Survive is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pragmatist View Post
Loved the Alton Brown method when I saw it a couple years back.

It does depend heavily on local climate though. Our climate is near desert status in humidity / precip so it works well here, but may not fare so well in the South or extremely humid locations.
works perfectly fine in the south or high humidity climates. was in florida a couple years ago and my brother was using the box fan and it worked great even in the august humidity.
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
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works perfectly fine in the south or high humidity climates. was in florida a couple years ago and my brother was using the box fan and it worked great even in the august humidity.
Good to know, thanks!
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