This is a solar food dehydrator that I built a few years ago and the other day I pulled it out and dried some peppers in it. It is approximately 24 in. wide by 36 in. long. Thought you all might enjoy seeing how this works.
First I washed the peppers and cut the tops off. They seem to dry better without the tops. Then I laid them out on the bottom screen.
There are three screens so you can put quite a bit of food in it at once. If I don’t have enough to fill all three levels, I always fill the screens from the bottom up. The top layer usually doesn’t do as well in direct sunlight. The top screen seems to shade the bottom layers just enough.
Then the door is slid down from the top to close it all in.
There are three vents in the top of the back door and three vents on the bottom. These I covered in screen using silicon as glue. This keeps unwanted bugs out! When the dehydrator faces the sun it really heats up on the inside and the vents allow the draft created by the heat to carry out moisture from the drying food. Here’s a close shot of the vent.
I have to angle the front of the dehydrator toward the sun and continue to turn it a little more every hour or two to track the sun for maximum efficiency. I tested it on a 95 degree day and the inside heated up to 136 degrees. Most fruits and veggies take anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 days to completely dry, depending on temperature, humidity, and how moist the food is.
Did I mention this dehydrator only cost me a few dollars to build. Most of it was built from scrap. The glass was a throwaway from a 9 lite door kit. The screws, hardware, screen, and silicon were my only cost.
– scribbled by Joe