*Dehydrating in a Solar Oven*
30 August 2016
Note: TooshieGalore's earlier solar oven article showing her oven is at:
Cooking with a Solar Oven
I love my Excalibur Dehydrator, but when I learned that a solar oven could be used as a dehydrator I got a little excited at having an off-grid alternative.
A dehydrator needs shelves. I measured the inside dimensions of my solar oven and cut leftover wire shelving to fit. On top of that I add shelf liner so that small food does not fall thru. The holes in this shelf liner are about the same size as the holes in the Excalibur trays.
In my Excalibur, trays sit about 1/2" apart. I used pieces of scrap wood between my sun oven shelves. I have enough room for three shelves.
To use the solar oven as a dehydrator, place shelves and food in the oven. But, instead of latching the top closed, prop it open about 1/8 inch, allowing heat and moisture to escape. Most foods dehydrate at temperatures between 110 and 140-degrees. Keep an eye on the temp and adjust your gap as necessary. Sometimes I don't align the oven directly into the sun - whatever it takes to maintain drying temps. I latch the bottom clips so the top won't blow away in a good breeze and to keep curious critters away..
After three or four hours I rotate shelves, so that they all get good air circulation. I'm thinking about adding a small, flat, 12V computer fan in the bottom of the oven to improve air circulation. My Excalibur dehydrator has a fan.
With the top propped open, place a piece of window screen under the top, to keep bugs out.
Some things like meat won't dehydrate in one day. I close all the clips to seal it overnight, then continue dehydrating the second day. It will turn out fine.
If you have a solar oven, adding shelves can make it serve double duty as a solar dehydrator.TooshieGalore
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