How to Make A Solar Food Dryer

Build a practical and inexpensive solar food dehydrator that is perfect for drying and preserving fruits and vegetables in your backyard.

| September 2018

  • solar food dryer
    The top of this homemade dehydrator is a recycled window sash set at an angle to catch the most direct rays from the sun.
    Photo by John Gruen
  • solar dryer
    In warm, sunny climates, the use of the sun for drying food is practical and inexpensive.
    Photo by John Gruen
  • solar dryer base support
    Once the dryer is constructed place it on the stand base to complete the project.
    Photo by Michael Gellatly
  • solar dryer box illustration
    The plan calls for a 31-1/2"-square window sash; if you choose to use another size, you’ll have to modify the directions accordingly.
    Photo by Michael Gellatly
  • book cover
    “The Vegetable Gardener’s Book of Building Projects” by the editors of Storey Publishing is a guide for readers that includes 39 building projects for aiding in planting, growing, preserving and relaxing in gardens at a reasonable cost for beginners and experienced woodworkers.
    Cover courtesy Storey Publishing

  • solar food dryer
  • solar dryer
  • solar dryer base support
  • solar dryer box illustration
  • book cover

The Vegetable Gardener's Book of Building Projects (Storey Publishing, 2010) by the editors of Storey Publishing is a collection of 39 building projects designed to help transform a modest vegetable garden into a model for comfort and efficiency that is still affordable. Whether you are an experienced builder or just starting out there are projects for every level which lead to functional and attractive projects that will encourage your vegetables to thrive and grow long after the season ends.

You can purchase this book from the Heirloom Gardener store: The Vegetable Gardener's Book of Building Projects.

Materials

Lumber

  • 1"×6" cedar (6' length)
  • 1"×4" cedar (three 12' lengths)
  • 2"×4" cedar (12' length)
  • Old window sash (31-1/2" square)

Supplies

  • Window screening (cut to 31-1/2" square)
  • Staples to fit staple gun
  • One pound 6d box nails

Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Carpenter's square
  • Wood saw
  • Hammer
  • Utility knife (to cut the screening)
  • Staple gun

In warm, sunny climates, the use of the sun for drying food is practical and inexpensive. Even in less favorable climates, it is often possible to do much of the drying in the sun, then complete the process by placing materials in an oven set at very low heat and with the door left ajar. Here's a dryer that can be used for fruits and vegetables and is fairly simple to build and easy to use. The plan calls for a 31-1/2"-square window sash; if you choose to use another size, you'll have to modify the directions accordingly.

Cutting the lumber.

  1. From the 1"×6", cut two 31-1/2" lengths for the front and back of the sash frame a.
  2. From the 1"×4", cut two 31-1/2" lengths for the sides of the sash frame b, six 33" lengths (four for the sides of the stand c and two for the sloped boards that go at the top of the stand d), and four 34-3/4" lengths for the front and back of the stand e.
  3. From the 2"×4", cut two
  4. 25" lengths for the front legs f and two 35" lengths for the back legs.

Constructing the dryer.

  1. First, make up the sash frame by nailing the front and back pieces a to the ends of the sides b, flushing up the bottoms.
  2. Then staple the screening to the bottom of the frame.
  3. Next, make up each of the two stand sides by nailing the side pieces c to the front and back legs f & g.
  4. Attach the sloped boards d to the inner sides.
  5. Join the two sides by attaching the front and back frame boards e to the legs.
  6. Finally, register the sash frame on the stand, then fit the sash within the frame.

More from The Vegetable Gardener's Book of Building Projects:


From The Vegetable Gardener’s Book of Building Projects by the editors of Storey Publishing (Storey Publishing, 2010) Copyright Storey Publishing. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Storey Publishing.



Vegetable Gardener’s Book of Building Projects

Vegetable Gardener’s Book of Building Projects

Enjoy making your food garden more productive and enjoyable! Included in this book are 39 simple-to-make projects — including cold frames, compost bins, planters, raised beds, potting benches, gates, trellises, storage containers, outdoor furniture and more — will increase your harvest, make your garden chores easier, and turn your garden and yard into an appealing outdoor space for relaxing and enjoying the fruits of your labors. Each project includes step-by-step instructions, detailed illustrations, complete materials and lumber lists, no-nonsense tips, and a four-color photograph of the finished product. Many of the projects are ideal for beginners, and most can be completed in just a few hours. Order from the Heirloom Gardener Store or by calling 800-456-5835.






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