The solar cooking is presented by special firms and home made constructions, so I (Andrew Q) tried the dehydration. Fruits (apricots, apples), vegetables (mushrooms), medical plants like elder-berry are valuable, so I dehydrated some for home use. I did not dry green leaves since they can dry too quickly, and lose their vitamin content. We are in Hungary, about the 45 degree latitude.
The dehydrator box:
- Area 400 mm x 550 mm
- Height 300 mm
- Two trays are inside, made of wire nets and wood-frame, one above the other, on side-supports.
- The box has wooden framework with 2 cm insulation (heat-resisting, not plastic foam), and a cardboard outside.
- The reflecting top and the inside walls are covered with aluminum foil.
- The bottom is covered with black paper.
- The box has a glass-lid, with a ventilation-support stick.
The reflecting top must be fixed in use, because the wind can close or move the top. The ventilation must be controlled with the height of the gap between box-frame and glass-lid. Only minimal vapour on the glass-lid is allowed. At the beginning the gap should be higher (circa 1-2 cm), later less.
Apricots (halved, without seeds) can be dehydrated in 3 days, in June-September with clear sunshine. The temperature inside is 70 C. The conservation is good, when the fruits are quite firm, but can be pressed in. So they can be stored a year in a glass with paper-napkin closing.