non-electric dehydrator

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by mamagoose, Dec 9, 2004.

  1. mamagoose

    mamagoose Well-Known Member

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    I am in need of a non-electric dehydrator. DC/solar powered would be ok. Plans for building one with no moving parts would be ok, but how many days would it take and would food spoil if we had cooler and humid days? (and we do). I had tons of celery at the end of the season and have only a small gas freezer, so couldn't do anything with it. I did hang-dry some tops as my first experiment and used it in soup and that was flavorful. I think I could dry lots if I knew how. I've never had an electric dehydrator, so I am unfamiliar with them as well. We have been ("electrically") self-sufficient for 12 years now and I think an electric one would tax our system, even in the summer. Any good books on the subject? Thanks for any help!
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My Mother and Grandmother used to dry apples, and sweet corn in the oven on their wood burning cook stoves. They done it with a really small fire, and kept the oven door ajar to prevent cooking the things they wanted to dry. They spread them out on a cookie sheet. They never used ascorbic acid and the apples were brown but tasted mighty good when I'd get a handful of apples on my way to bed. Grandma boiled the dried corn like you would dry beans. It has a distinct flavor. We called it parched corn.
     

  3. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    A few window screens in the closed up car on a hot summer day works fairly well.
     
  4. jejabean

    jejabean Well-Known Member

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    What a neat idea! :)
     
  5. mamagoose

    mamagoose Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the responses. If a car will work, then why not a greenhouse or type structure? Why keeps the car from having condensation? I knew that junk car was good for something. Just one day in the car? Do you have to flip the slices?
     
  6. featherbottom

    featherbottom Well-Known Member

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  7. mamagoose

    mamagoose Well-Known Member

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    dbthomas
    Thanks for that info, I'm going to save it.
    I'm certainly going to try to dry a few things, but I don't have a car now, will have to try with my truck on my days off work. We have weather.com, right?, so I should know when we're going to have nice and hot days. I'll put a screen on my winter gardening list and I have lots of leftover tulle I can use to cover with.
    Thanks again!
     
  8. Al. Countryboy

    Al. Countryboy Well-Known Member

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    Ate many a dried apple from my grandmother's solar dryer. It was on the back porch roof. It was low on that side of the house. It was also a screen door with a frame of one by fours around it. It had a screen at the bottom where the apples were layed. It hinged on the wood frame for easy opening and closing. There was a stick on the roof to proop it open while turing or taking apples in or out. This was a tin roof and really did heat up during the day. If it was to be a clear nigh, a sheet was spread over them to keep the dew off. In two days the apples were dry. She dried at least three gallons of dried apples a summer. It usually took a bushel of apples to get a gallon of dried ones. :) They sure were good in the winter or when we would sneak up on the roof and eat a few that were dry.
     
  9. TwoAcresAndAGoat

    TwoAcresAndAGoat Well-Known Member

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    A dear departed fried of mine Mrs Key said that she dried apples in her attic. I suppose she had screens to set them on but at the time I didn't think to ask her and now it's to late.

    Our Older adults have so much to share, if we just take the time to ask.
     
  10. melinda

    melinda Well-Known Member

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    Lehman's has a hanging non-electric dehydrator - you could use that idea to make your own, or you could just buy it (and put it in the car???).
     
  11. AnnaS

    AnnaS Well-Known Member

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    I did the car dehydrator too! I put the herbs in flat baskets in the back window and parked the car so the rear was facing SW and got the most sun. Opened a window less than an inch. Herbs had to be turned once and were ready in a day (in the summer). I didn't dry any veg or fruit, will try next year.

    If it works in MN, should work everywhere!
     
  12. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    My grandmother would use her coldframes in the summer and fall as dryers.
     
  13. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    The book "Stocking Up" has plans for a solar dehydrator in it. the book is available in most libraries.

    We've been planning to build a small wood fired sauna out of cob. Besides
    being a great health and happiness "investment", we plan to use it for drying food and/or clothes when the weather is damp.

    Now I wonder if we can figure out a way to make the same space function as a greenhouse, as well?????
     
  14. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    http://www.i4at.org/surv/soldehyd.htm

    Here are plans for a cardboard solar dehydrator you can make. I have also used my car as a dehydrator. Window screens I picked up at Sally's for next to nothing. Especially good for drying onions when you don't want to stink up the house. Compared to an electric dehydrator, I found the car method takes two to three times as long to dry the same foods, but you can put two or three times as much food in the car, so it comes out even. I like the Buick LeSabre, personally, for luxury food drying.
     
  15. Sylvia

    Sylvia Well-Known Member

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    Hi! Here's a DON'T DO what I did!

    I was frustrated with having all my sunflowers eaten by the birds and squirrels on the plants before they were ready for harvest. I left some for them then brought the rest inside for me. I got the bright idea to let them dry out on a shelf in front of a window on my second floor which gets sun most of the day. I left the window open but the screen down to get some bug free ventilation. One day I heard some strange sounds and came in to find a squirrel nibbling away at ne of the heads.

    I clapped real loud to startle it and luckily it went out he way it came in a 2 inch hole it had eaten through my screen. I slammed the window down and figured that was that. The next day the screen was riddled with numerous 2 inch holes so now I have to replace the whole screen instead of just patching it. I will then move the screen to another window and for ventilation I've gotten a metal vent type of screen to replace the flimsy wire mesh one. I've seen it sniffing at the window several times. According to studies on these "cute" varmints they have an amazing memory which they've been endowed with to keep track of their food hoards. I don't want them in my house again!

    sylvia