River Cottage Australia

Building a Solar Dryer

A solar dryer is a great way to deal with your excess fruit & vegetables by preservation – and all you need is a simple homemade frame and the sun!

Paul shows us how in this simple step-by-step guide!

To make the frame, you’ll need the following materials;

  • An old window frame, glass intact (with some ventilation if possible)
  • A sheet of aluminum fly screen
  • A length of beading
  • A small piece of chain or an old door handle
  • Screws

From there, the process is relatively simple. All you need to do is;

  • Connect the chain or door handle to the window so you’re able to open & close it easily
  • Loosely screw some screws into the side of the window to stop it from moving when you turn the frame over. This will be removed once the dryer is finished
  • Flip the frame over and screw the aluminum fly screen to the edges of the frame, pulling it as tight as possible
  • Cut the beading into two pieces that run the width of the frame and then screw it in – this will help strengthen the screen
  • Once the beading is in, flip the frame back over and unscrew the screws that were holding the window in place

And there you have it – your very own solar dryer. Cut your fruit & vegetables to the desired size and leave in a sunny spot for a day or two. And if you’re home and are able to move the frame to follow the sun then it’s a great idea to do so.

And there are plenty of fruit & veg that will dry out well. A short list includes;

  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Bananas
  • Plums
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Seedless grapes
  • Broccoli & Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Potato
  • Squash
  • Herbs

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