Friday, December 24, 2010

DIY Solar Fruit Drier - Cheap & Easy DIY Solar Project For Eco-friendly Healthy Dried Fruit

It always seems to be the way - there is a surplus of fruit or vegetables for just a few short weeks when everything is in season, and the cost then goes up for the rest of the year.  Preserving fruit can be expensive and very labour intensive.  Healthy sun dried fruit and veg may be the way for you to preserve and store the surplus.

If you have either fruit trees or live near a market that sells fruit & veg, you an take advantage of cheap fruit and store it. Once a necessity for homesteaders, country folk and "hippies", there is no reason not to be a little thrifty and give the kids something to do,  and reap the benefits of cheap, healthy dried fruit & veg for snacks & cooking. Eat local and healthier by preserving the goodness of your favourite seasonal foods, garden veggies, fruits and herbs to enjoy all year long.

Dried Fruit

Preserving surplus fruit for thrifty healthy living

Many home gardens have fruit trees and it all seems to ripen all at once. If you don't have a garden with fruit trees or a veggie patch, check out the local fruit growers markets. Often at the end of the day or close of market, cases of fruit & veg will go out at super cheap rates. The trick is - what to do to store and use it all. Preserving by bottling is often put forward as a solution to this problem. Freezing the excess fruit is another option. However, both these methods, while satisfying can sometimes be too much work for a busy family, let alone energy intensive. As far as cheap and easy, the method of preserving which wins hands down is sun drying. A DIY solar food dryer works well and the capital cost is virtually zero (make out of scrap materials), and the running costs are basically nil. Dried fruit needs no special storage requirements and is always to hand. The kids will snack on healthier dried fruit popped into lunch boxes, camping / hiking / boating / bicycle bags or snacks for car trips.

What's the best fruit to Dry?

Apples, apricots, peaches, plums, cherries, bananas, strawberries, pears, mangoes, kiwis, pineapple, melons, tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, corn. When in doubt, experiment or ask a local health food shop or hit the internet for ideas.

How does a Solar Food Dryer Work?

There's no rule on the size, materials or shape to build your solar drier. Our suggestion is just one that worked for us. The way the dryer works is simple - the heat coming through the glass cover is absorbed by the black interior surfaces. The closed box gets hotter as the heat energy is "trapped", heating the air inside. The hot air inside rises and passes out of the upper set of holes by natural convection. The rising and escaping hot air, draws in fresh air from outside via the holes in the base of the dryer. This gives a continuous flow of warm air around and over the fruit, which removes the moisture and dries the fruit.  Once dry, store your dried produce in airtight containers for snacks and cooking at any time.

DIY Solar Fruit Drier - Cheap & Easy DIY Solar Project For Eco-friendly Healthy Dried Fruit

You can read more about how to go about building a DIY Solar Fruit Drier on our website. We hope to provide more DIY Eco Tips & Solutions website to make your living eco-friendly and cheaper.

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