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Preserving the Harvest canning, drying, smoking, etc.

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Old 07/27/11, 11:37 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 74
solar dehydrator tray material?

I'm wondering if anyone has a food-safe, economical option for material to use for trays in a solar food dehydrator.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07/27/11, 01:30 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,059
If you don't mind that they are not real heavy duty you can buy nylon window screen and use that.
Master Food Preserver/ Food Safety Advisor
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Old 07/27/11, 01:35 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 74
Thanks Lucy. I wasn't sure that the nylon would be safe; I didn't want to use the aluminum screen either. I thought about stainless steel mesh, but it's rather expensive. I've even wondered about using the trays for an Excalibur type dehydrator.
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Old 07/27/11, 04:22 PM
Just Cliff's Avatar  
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: NC
Posts: 1,097
This is good material to use. Just make sure you take it out of the dehydrator when not in use. I've heard of some solar dehydrators getting up in temperature over the 200 deg. mark when not attended. You can get different size mesh for doing different size wares too. Like larger for apples and smaller for onions or finely chopped herbs. It is a great deal cheaper and the same material Excalibur and othe manufacturers use. I got a bunch to make more dryer sheets for my Excaliburs and also for my greenhouse trays. They type described below is what you may be looking for. It is $3.97 a foot and is 43 1/2 inches wide. You should be able to get a couple sheets per foot. Far cheaper then buying thm from a dehydrator company.
Hope this helps.

Material Type

Plastic Type

Molded Mesh


General Opening Size

Square/Rectangle Size
.1" x .16"

Joint Thickness

Strand Size Thickness

Strand Size Width

Sheet Width

Sheet Length

Maximum Continuous Length
300 Linear Feet


Maximum Temperature
200 F

Specifications Met
FDA Compliant
A socialist will trample over 100 poor people just for the chance to throw a rock at a rich man.

Last edited by Just Cliff; 07/27/11 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 07/27/11, 10:43 PM
Chixarecute's Avatar  
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Wisconsin by the UP, eh!
Posts: 3,008
Cliff - this is such a great resource! I wanted to buy insert screens a few years ago for an old Nature's Way unit - the Excal price was over $10 EACH. That's a hefty amount towards a replacement unit, which is what I am sure they had in mind. Thanks for posting!
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Old 07/28/11, 09:19 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 74

Thank you SO MUCH for this information! This is EXACTLY the material I was hoping to find! This was the final (I think) puzzle piece for my solar dehydrator plans.

Just as an additional contribution for those who may be interested: After seeing some of the solar food dehydrator options, I've decided on the "down-draft" design. But with any of the solar options there seems to be some concern about the possibility of not removing enough of the moisture before getting a cloudy day (or 2) and having mold form. In an effort to prevent this, my intention is to incorporate a rocket mass stove with ductwork running through a dirt triangle below the solar collector "ramp". My hope is that with an air space between the top of the dirt and the bottom of the ramp I can open a vent in the bottom of the ramp and allow the radiant heat (from the dirt) to continue the job if the solar heat is interrupted.

Any thoughtful comments on this idea would be appreciated. -- I haven't built it yet.
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Old 04/15/13, 02:00 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 2
dehydrator manufacturers

A solar dehydrator is a great tool to place on your off the grid farm or garden. When you harvest a bumper crop this tool will give you a good option for long term storage. It is simple to build and very useful.

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