Using a solar dehydrator to dehydrate food is one the most popular new techniques being used around the world for dehydration. Unlike electric dehydrators, solar dehydrators are energy efficient and high performance. It is really simple to make your own dehydrator to preserve food and nutrients that you could either use for yourself or for gardening and many other jobs. Here’s a step-by-step guide to building your own solar dehydrator.
The most important materials here are the aluminum foil and the window screen. The foil will be the main material in utilizing solar energy when the dryer is placed in the sun. Window screen is like a mesh and has holes in it for air to pass through. Its complete use will be explained in the steps below.
Step 1 – Cover the Bottom of the Box with Aluminum Foil
This is quite a simple step to perform. First measure the area of the inside bottom of the box you intend to use. After noting down the measurements, cut the foil using the knife accordingly. A very accurate cut is not necessary. The idea is to thoroughly cover the bottom of the box with the shiny foil. This can be done by sticking double sided tape under the piece of foil you have cut and then simply stick it on the inside bottom of the box.
Step 2 – Cut Holes into the Box
Using the box knife, you have to cut two small holes in the cardboard box. Cut the first hole on the front of the box but near the bottom and the second hole at the back of the box but near the top side.
Step 3 – Cover the Holes with Window Screen
Cut two small pieces of window screen using the knife and cover the previously cut holes in the box with the screen. The idea behind doing this is to allow air to flow in and out of the box but to keep bugs out keeping your preserved food uncontaminated.
Step 4 – Make a Screen Shelf
Using the knife, cut out a piece of the window screen based on the measurements you took when measuring the inside bottom of the cardboard box. Then using duct tape, tape this screen inside the box on its walls so that it is parallel to the bottom where you first stuck the aluminum foil. It is best to stick the screen about halfway between the bottom and top of the box. This shelf will be used to place food inside the solar dehydrator.
Step 5 – Cover the Box with Plastic Wrap
Once you have placed food that you want to preserve in the solar dehydrator, cover the cardboard box with plastic wrap using duct tape.
Step 6 – Using the Solar Dehydrator
Place the dehydrator in a place that receives direct sunlight to dry your food.