The Most Efficient Food Dehydrator is the Sun

As a civilization, we’ve scarcely scratched the surface when it comes to tapping into the power of the sun. Not only the miracle of the sun shining 24 hours a day around the globe, and 8-16 hours a day in most of North America, but also to learn more about the nature of how that golden orb is utterly self sustaining, generating enough energy for itself and all life in our solar system.

As long as we’re on this planet we’ll have the sun, so the more we can do to make use of that vast energy resource, the better.

The Problem with Electric Dehydrators

We have a Nesco electric food dehydrator. We like it and it works fine. However we definitely want to explore solar options. Electric dehydrators just aren’t that efficient because they run on electricity for several hours per batch, while making a droning fan kind of sound. Their round one is currently the best seller on Amazon but we got the square one because square shaped machines are easier to store (less wasted space) and seem to better accommodate more food placement as well.

Nesco Food Dehydrator
Nesco Food Dehydrator

A Lot of Time and Energy for a Little Yield

For me it just seems wasteful to spend an hour or so slicing apples thin enough to dehydrate, layering them in single layers on each drying tray and then running a whirring electric machine for two to four hours. There’s just something that seems wrong about all that energy poured into sucking good liquid out of a food, to produce dried apples that my family gobbles up in no time flat, because it’s easier to eat more dried apple pieces than it is a raw fresh apple.

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But we like to have dehydrated food on hand and it’s great for travel snacks, so we’d like to find a better solution. And of course for food storage and preparation, as well as for trips, camping, hiking and prepping, then sure, dehydrated food makes sense. Drying things like apples and fresh berries, like the goji berries1)https://gardensall.com/how-to-grow-and-use-goji-berries/ and blueberries2)https://gardensall.com/how-to-grow-blueberries-and-why-youll-want-to/ we’re growing, are great added sparsely to nuts for healthy homemade nut mixes3)http://mytrainerfitness.com/recipe/super-nut-berry-mix/ and create a high energy snack that stores well for winter.

If Only it Were Easy

I wish it was this easy: string up fruits and veggies and lay them out in the sun. But of course there are flies and other insects such as ants, that will assume this bounty is for them.

If only food dehydration were this simple!
If only food dehydration were this simple!

Food dehydration is also one of several smart ways to preserve abundant garden produce for winter. But there’s got to be a more energy efficient way than running an electric machine for hours, or in the case of garden harvest, that would be for days. You can get extra trays, ours came with four, but the more trays you add the longer the drying process takes.

So we’re very keen on discovering better solar solutions for food dehydration, and found some homemade solar dehydrator solutions that might be the way to go.

Make your own. So on page 2 we’re sharing a video on making a solar food dehydrator using pop or beer cans. Let’s check it out!

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I’m LeAura Alderson, entrepreneur, ideator, media publisher, writer and editor of GardensAll.com. Pursuits in recent years have been more planting seeds of ideas for business growth more than gardening. However, I’ve always been interested in medicinal herbs and getting nutrition and healing from food over pharmacy. As a family we’re eager to dig more deeply into gardening and edible landscape for the love of fresh organic foods and self sustainability. We thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the creative ingenuity of the GardensAll community.