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Post  camprn on 7/9/2010, 12:47 am

I was poking around the internet, looking for DIY solar food dehydrator plans and I found a lot but have not settled on anything yet. I did find this Solar drying of fruit and vegetables hand out from South Africa interesting. Very Happy
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Post  Megan on 8/29/2010, 11:51 am

BUMP

That is really interesting! Thank you for sharing. Smile
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Post  camprn on 8/29/2010, 3:12 pm

I have dehydrated several pounds of summer squash and zucchini that I plan on using in my winter soups. I am going to do some tomatoes and fruits as well.
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Post  Chopper on 8/29/2010, 5:21 pm

I once dehydrated tomatoes. Later I took the dry tomatoes and ground them to powder in a blender. When mixed with water they had a wonderful tomato sauce taste as if they had cooked for hours. I always thought it would be a great way to take tomatoes backpacking.
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Post  elliephant on 8/30/2010, 10:54 am

Wow, I never thought of drying squash and tomatoes and using them in that manner!

I grew up in the arid deserts of the CA/AZ border and we had a huge dryer made out of screens. I'd say the screens were about 3x3 feet each and slide into a "cage" with shelves every 6 inches or so. It was a long time ago, so I don't remember the details, but I know we could do maybe a dozen racks at once.

Once a year we would spend 10 minutes gleaning an onion field and have dehydrated onions for the rest of the year (plus all the onions my mom put into the 100+ jars of spaghetti sauce my mom canned each year from gleaned tomatoes). We had a super productive fig tree in the front yard and we sliced those in half and dehydrated them. Tried cantaloupe but didn't like it. Some people do, though.

Always had to watch carefully that nothing burned, though. Temps in the 120s will do that Shocked
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Post  elliephant on 8/30/2010, 10:58 am

Ok, just looked more at the site and the difference between that one and ours is that we didn't have any plastic outside. It was just a fine mesh screen, so free air flow.
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Post  miinva on 8/30/2010, 11:54 am

What does 'gleaned' mean? Please forgive an uninformed Yankee Embarassed
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Post  elliephant on 8/30/2010, 12:50 pm

@miinva wrote:What does 'gleaned' mean? Please forgive an uninformed Yankee Embarassed

Gleaning is going through and getting what is left in the field after the harvest.
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Post  Squat_Johnson on 8/30/2010, 1:10 pm

I have had good luck with dehydrating in a electric model. I have done cherry tomatos by just cutting them in half. I also have done watermelon, which is quite delicious, just slice it thin and get the seeds out. I always spray the racks with vegetable oil.
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Post  Megan on 8/30/2010, 6:38 pm

@elliephant wrote:Gleaning is going through and getting what is left in the field after the harvest.

VERY interesting! I knew the word "glean" but didn't realize it had a gardening context. To me it had meant picking over assorted information so as to learn a fact. Yay for new word definitions! Very Happy

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gleaned
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Post  miinva on 8/30/2010, 11:46 pm

I was in the same boat, Megan Smile Thank you for adding to my gardening vocabulary, elliephant! Very Happy
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Post  ander217 on 8/31/2010, 10:19 am

@Chopper wrote:I once dehydrated tomatoes. Later I took the dry tomatoes and ground them to powder in a blender. When mixed with water they had a wonderful tomato sauce taste as if they had cooked for hours. I always thought it would be a great way to take tomatoes backpacking.

Chopper, how did you get tomatoes that dry? When I try drying anything it always turns out sort of leathery, never dry enough to pound into powder. Maybe it's our high humidity here that causes that.
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Post  Chopper on 8/31/2010, 12:15 pm

I used an electric food dryer. Used low heat and a fan. They were leathery-crisp but not crisp-crisp. All I know is it worked. At the time I was experimenting with expanding possibilities for backpack food. More variety, less weight.
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