Are your herbs going crazy? Not sure what to do with all that kale? Got more zucchini than you know what to do with? Want to eat strawberries all winter long? A passive solar dehydrator is the way to go if you want to preserve fruits and vegetables with their nutrients intact, in a way that is easy, cheap, and energy efficient. When you use the energy of the sun to preserve your food, you conserve more nutrients than in freezing or cooking- and a few days of sunshine is all you need, no additives or preservatives, no costly hydro bills. Solar dehydrating is the most energy efficient way to preserve your food, both in terms of preparation and safe, long-term storage.
Dehydrated foods are delicious either as they are (like apple rings or dried strawberries), seasoned (kale chips tossed with sesame seeds, tamari and dried garlic), used as toppings (sundried tomatoes) or rehydrated in soups, casseroles and desserts. You can experiment with fruit leathers and jerkies, or even dehydrate whole meals for a quick and lightweight camping feast. Eat from the sun all year long: healthy food you can easily prepare at home!
Passive solar dehydrators are easy to build at home, with a few salvaged or bought materials. However, if garden work has got you swamped, or if you're a better grower than you are a builder, local Trent student Bennett Bedoukian will gladly make one for you. Owner/operator of Sundry Technology, Bennett builds custom-made dehydrators in a variety of sizes-- from the apartment balcony model to the farmer's forty acre special. They are made of top-quality food grade materials including stainless steel and cedar, which is long lasting and antibacterial; they are sturdy and pretty to look at. All you need is a small sunny patch and a paring knife- and some imagination!