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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Can a vehicle be used to solar dehydrate peppers and tomatoes?

Saw this on an episode of Doomsday preppers, or something like that, so I decided to give it a try. A tray off of an electric dehydrator was used to hold the food, and a meat thermometer was used to measure the air temperature.


  • Tabasco Peppers
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Bell Peppers
Peppers were cut up, placed on the tray then put in the car. The first day the car was facing north / south.

At the end of the first day the Tabasco peppers were dried, but the bell and jalapeno were not.

Second day the SUV was turned east / west. This seemed to maximize the sun. Facing east / west, the inside of the car got hotter fast than north / south, and stayed hotter longer than north / south.

On average, the temperature inside the SUV was 30 degrees hotter than outside. While playing around a month ago I put the thermometer on the dash. Temperature on the dash reached 170 degrees.

Peppers were left in the car for three day.

At the end of the third day:

Bell peppers had drastically reduced in size.

Jalapeno peppers felt oily.

Tabasco peppers dried the fastest and had the least shrinkage.

I have been playing around with this for a couple of months before the video was made. Onions dried well, but not as good as the Tabasco peppers.
 

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Windows up or down??? I think it might work best if there were a little ventilation, but that allows the bugs access. I have a old delivery van, I have built a shade over the back and use that end to store rice and beans and other good stuff. It is mice and bug proof which is rare on my place. There is a door between the front and back. I will use the front as a drier. I would like to take out the steering wheel and it's shaft because it wastes a lot of space.
 

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Just want to throw this out there. The interior materials in most cars (plastic & other petroleum based materials) out-gas over time and builds up when cars are left closed up for lengthy periods of time, especially in the heat. I don't know what that time is but it might be wise to investigate. A sign this is happening is a slightly sticky film forms on the inside of the glass. Seen it on my cars when left sitting for an extended period of time.
 

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Try slicing them thinner and do it again (those tomatoes were pretty thick)... Slice the peppers in rings. Also, let's try some mushrooms, carrots, celery, and possibly some shredded beef. Basically, what you would need for a completely dehydrated soup mix.

Please...
 

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I sun dry a lot of things by just cutting them up and putting them on framed screens on saw horse type legs out in the yard. I tent some cheese cloth over things that bugs or birds would be interested in. This isn't so great for things you actually want some heat on to kill pathogens or insect eggs, but it works just fine for a lot of things. Fifty pounds of cherries became about 23 pounds of cherry nuggets in just a couple of days. Perfect for muffins, pies, puddings, and whatever else.

Tough veggies like greenbeans work best with a 5 min. blanch first, and potatoes turn black if you don't blanch.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I sun dry a lot of things by just cutting them up and putting them on framed screens on saw horse type legs out in the yard......
Thank you.

I am working on something using a solar screen to cover stuff in electric dehydrator trays.

Everything is on a table outside, cinder blocks, wire rack, trays, solar screen.

I will be posting a video about it hopefully tomorrow (July 21st).
 
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