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Author Topic: glovesforfoxes' DIY solar powered food dehydrator adventure!  (Read 6903 times)

Offline glovesforfoxes

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I realise this is not really a question, but I think it'd be useful to document how I'm going to make my a long lasting solar powered food dehydrator since there are no clear instructions on the internet I can find, though there is an abundance of information - & it'll be more fun this way!

So the basic idea is a glass panel, a box made perhaps of hardwood, & some way of letting the water escape (what mechanism will it use? evaporation, or drain? I think evaporation, but I'm not 100%) with minimal heat loss & of course protection from insects (preferably they would never be attracted to the drying foods)

A description of my idea so far:

A 40cm (w) by undecided (l) hardwood box which has one side angled at ~70 degrees (high sun in summer) to get maximum exposure to the sun. The food will not be heated directly by the sun, but will use heat absorbed by something black covering the food or at the back of the box, opposite the angled side. Styrofoam will be used to insulate the box. A small hole will be made at the back of the box in order to ensure water can escape. The box needs to be openable so that foods can be put in & taken out, but sealed when closed so that insects cannot get into it. I figure that the easiest way to do this would be to make the angled side have hinges.

What do you guys think so far?


 

Offline RD

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glovesforfoxes' DIY solar powered food dehydrator adventure!
« Reply #1 on: 18/12/2009 16:13:40 »
I'm going to make my a long lasting solar powered food dehydrator since there are no clear instructions on the internet I can find ... What do you guys think so far?

Jerky (no it's not an insult).

Quote
How to Dry Foods  By Deanna DeLong
A classic returns with updated recipes and a new look. The book details how to dry fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, meats, fish, and nuts. More than 100 recipes teach cooks how to make meat jerkies, fruit leathers, trail mixes, main courses, desserts, baby food and much more. Full-color photographs
http://books.google.com
« Last Edit: 18/12/2009 16:24:53 by RD »
 

Offline glovesforfoxes

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glovesforfoxes' DIY solar powered food dehydrator adventure!
« Reply #2 on: 18/12/2009 17:13:55 »
I'll be using it to dry fruits & vegetables mostly, I never have a surplus of meat. Thanks though, that was a wiki link I would never have gone on but found interesting to read :)

I could buy a book.. but like I said, more fun this way.
 

Offline RD

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glovesforfoxes' DIY solar powered food dehydrator adventure!
« Reply #3 on: 18/12/2009 18:12:51 »
I could buy a book.. but like I said, more fun this way.

Eating mouldy food can cause worse problems than vomiting & diarrhoea ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergotism
« Last Edit: 18/12/2009 18:22:49 by RD »
 

Offline glovesforfoxes

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« Reply #4 on: 18/12/2009 18:20:02 »
If I get it wrong the food will smell weird & appear mouldy, or at the very least taste bad.

Thanks for your concern about my welfare :)
 

Offline RD

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« Reply #5 on: 18/12/2009 18:31:10 »
If I get it wrong the food will smell weird & appear mouldy, or at the very least taste bad.

If that was always the case no-one would ever have food poisoning ... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/154107.stm
 

Offline glovesforfoxes

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« Reply #6 on: 18/12/2009 20:34:13 »
It is the case for fruit & veg.
 

Offline RD

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« Reply #7 on: 18/12/2009 21:00:44 »
Quote
Aflatoxins in nuts and nut products

Q3. How can I tell if my products are contaminated with Aflatoxins?
A3. The moulds are microscopic so you may not even see any mould growth.
 You may not be able to detect any change in the smell, taste or appearance of the food.
http://www.southampton.gov.uk/business/prthealth/foodsampling/aflatoxins.aspx#f46-246900-3



Quote
Aflatoxin-producing members of Aspergillus are common and widespread in nature. Host crops are particularly susceptible to infection by Aspergillus following prolonged exposure to a high humidity environment or damage from stressful conditions such as drought, a condition which lowers the barrier to entry.

The native habitat of Aspergillus is in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains undergoing microbiological deterioration and it invades all types of organic substrates whenever conditions are favorable for its growth. Favorable conditions include high moisture content (at least 7%) and high temperature.

Crops which are frequently affected include cereals (maize, sorghum, pearl millet, rice, wheat), oilseeds (peanut, soybean, sunflower, cotton), spices (chile peppers, black pepper, coriander, turmeric, ginger), and tree nuts (almond, pistachio, walnut, coconut, brazil nut).

The toxin can also be found in the milk of animals which are fed contaminated feed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aflatoxin
 

Offline glovesforfoxes

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glovesforfoxes' DIY solar powered food dehydrator adventure!
« Reply #8 on: 19/12/2009 12:31:32 »
I don't plan to grow those things, but there seems to be enough evidence for it to be a problem. I will ask my brother, a chef, how best to prepare the foods themselves for sun drying. This topic should just be concerned with how best to build it, though of course food spoilage is important, as well as my wellbeing :)

Thanks again RD - I'm glad you're persistant enough to persuade me out of my stubbornness :)
 

Offline Karen W.

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« Reply #9 on: 21/12/2009 00:20:02 »
I think this is a good project to work on... I have a dehydrator  but building one that function properly and is solar is cool Idea. I am and will be curious about your finished safe project.. Will it have a small solar powered fan inside it for air circulation..?
 

Offline glovesforfoxes

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« Reply #10 on: 21/12/2009 15:24:06 »
No - it'll be next to a window (I have a perfect kitchen window spot in mind for it) or outside in order to get air to circulate :)
 

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glovesforfoxes' DIY solar powered food dehydrator adventure!
« Reply #10 on: 21/12/2009 15:24:06 »

 

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