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Slightly off topic - fruit drying with solar

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  • mkewert@comcast.net
    I know that theory says the most efficient way to dry fruit with the sun is in a solar fruit dryer, but for reasons of reliability and ease I am trying to
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 1 5:39 PM
      I know that theory says the most efficient way to dry fruit with the sun is in a solar fruit dryer, but for reasons of reliability and ease I am trying to price out how a PV powered electric fruit dryer would compare.  So, I'm looking for anyone with experience drying fruit.  If that's you, will you email me at mkewert@... please?

      My questions are:
      How much fruit can you dry per day in one of those little table top dehydrators?
      Can you run them with fan only; no heat?
      Have you ever seen a 12 volt DC unit?

      Thanks
      Mike
    • evelyn sardina
      Hi Mike I forwarded the e-mail to a Great Oak School Waldorf Teacher and this is her response. I hope it helps, Evelyn ... From: Dana L Fleming
      Message 2 of 8 , Jul 2 5:55 AM
        Hi Mike I forwarded the e-mail to a Great Oak School Waldorf Teacher and this is her
        response. I hope it helps, Evelyn

        --- On Fri, 7/2/10, Dana L Fleming <danafleming@...> wrote:

        From: Dana L Fleming <danafleming@...>
        Subject: Re: [hreg] Slightly off topic - fruit drying with solar
        To: mkewert@...
        Cc: "evelyn sardina" <evelynsardina@...>
        Date: Friday, July 2, 2010, 7:51 AM

        Dear Mike,
        Our dehydrator is round. I don't think "little" could be used to describe it, with its 8 neatly stacking round shelves.
        Pretty hefty, but I can lift it up high in the garage between uses--so not unduly heavy. 
        (Cover with a clear trash bag when storing, to keep it from getting dust or sawdust in your dried fruit.)
        It came with shelf inserts--grid-like plastic ones and solid plastic (for making fruit leather).
        All parts except the base (with heater and fan) have been through the dishwasher many times without a hitch.
        It holds about 3 bags (so 9 pounds) of green apples, sliced thin, and dries them in less than 24 hours on the low setting.
        I do this with schoolchildren on a regular basis.
        The apples, once dried, keep for a long time in a ziploc or glass jar--if you can hide them! Everyone loves them, so we don't usually have leftovers.
        The families have managed to take some camping, after borrowing my dehydrator and making large quantities.
        We made fruit leather twice, too, by using a fruit processor when we had a lot of ripe fruit. Delicious.
        After one stuck batch we learned to cover the shelf insert with plastic wrap, then peel the finished fruit leather off just before eating.
        Mine does not have a "fan only" setting, but the low temp is just 90 degrees--so cooler than the ambient summer air in Houston.
        Attempts to dry using solar power resulted in years of frustration due to rain, bugs, and worst  of all mold.
        Best of luck!
        Dana (local Waldorf teacher)


        On Jul 1, 2010, at 11:27 PM, evelyn sardina wrote:

        Hi Dana
        This has your name written all over it.... Would you like to contribute to this
        one if you have some time..... Thanks, Evelyn

        --- On Thu, 7/1/10, mkewert@... <mkewert@...> wrote:

        From: mkewert@... <mkewert@...>
        Subject: [hreg] Slightly off topic - fruit drying with solar
        To: "HREG" <hreg@yahoogroups.com>
        Date: Thursday, July 1, 2010, 7:39 PM

         
        I know that theory says the most efficient way to dry fruit with the sun is in a solar fruit dryer, but for reasons of reliability and ease I am trying to price out how a PV powered electric fruit dryer would compare.  So, I'm looking for anyone with experience drying fruit.  If that's you, will you email me at mkewert@comcast. net please?

        My questions are:
        How much fruit can you dry per day in one of those little table top dehydrators?
        Can you run them with fan only; no heat?
        Have you ever seen a 12 volt DC unit?

        Thanks
        Mike



      • jay_7227
        I am most familiar with the Excalibur dryer , which is a high quality unit, better than the round ones with the vertical airflow that you would get at most
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 2 7:08 AM
          I am most familiar with the "Excalibur dryer", which is a high quality unit, better than the round ones with the vertical airflow that you would get at most local retail stores.

          Here is a link, for a basic reference. Check out the videos, they are really good:
          http://www.excaliburdehydrator.com/

          And Amazon (for the reviews)
          http://www.amazon.com/s/url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=excalibur+Dehydrator

          The first video gives you a good idea of how much you can put on a tray. The answer is "a lot". Each tray holds maybe 8-12 apples or oranges or things about that size, per tray. The smallest unit is 5 trays I think.

          The smallest unit is about 400 watts, which honestly is a lot to be running on PV. Normal drying times are in the 8 hour range.

          So power use initially seems pretty steep, and I guess it is. But the longer you store the food, the lower the power required for storage gets; food that has been dehydrated is food that doesn't need to be refrigerated. I am not really sure how it compares with canning, but it is probably favorable.

          I don't think you can run any dehydrator without heat, the food will spoil; I could be wrong. I have never seen a 12V model.

          Good luck!



          --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, mkewert@... wrote:
          >
          > I know that theory says the most efficient way to dry fruit with the sun is in a solar fruit dryer, but for reasons of reliability and ease I am trying to price out how a PV powered electric fruit dryer would compare. So, I'm looking for anyone with experience drying fruit. If that's you, will you email me at mkewert@... please?
          >
          > My questions are:
          > How much fruit can you dry per day in one of those little table top dehydrators?
          > Can you run them with fan only; no heat?
          > Have you ever seen a 12 volt DC unit?
          >
          > Thanks
          > Mike
          >
        • mkewert@comcast.net
          Jay, thank you very much. That s the one we were looking at, actually. It said adjustable thermostat 85-145F, so I was wondering if you can dry at 85F and just
          Message 4 of 8 , Jul 2 3:34 PM
            Jay,
            thank you very much. That's the one we were looking at, actually. It said adjustable thermostat 85-145F, so I was wondering if you can dry at 85F and just take longer. But the video suggested different temps for different applications.
            thanks again,
            Mike
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "jay_7227" <yahoo@...>
            To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Friday, July 2, 2010 9:08:41 AM
            Subject: [hreg] Re: Slightly off topic - fruit drying with solar

             

            I am most familiar with the "Excalibur dryer", which is a high quality unit, better than the round ones with the vertical airflow that you would get at most local retail stores.

            Here is a link, for a basic reference. Check out the videos, they are really good:
            http://www.excaliburdehydrator.com/

            And Amazon (for the reviews)
            http://www.amazon.com/s/url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=excalibur+Dehydrator

            The first video gives you a good idea of how much you can put on a tray. The answer is "a lot". Each tray holds maybe 8-12 apples or oranges or things about that size, per tray. The smallest unit is 5 trays I think.

            The smallest unit is about 400 watts, which honestly is a lot to be running on PV. Normal drying times are in the 8 hour range.

            So power use initially seems pretty steep, and I guess it is. But the longer you store the food, the lower the power required for storage gets; food that has been dehydrated is food that doesn't need to be refrigerated. I am not really sure how it compares with canning, but it is probably favorable.

            I don't think you can run any dehydrator without heat, the food will spoil; I could be wrong. I have never seen a 12V model.

            Good luck!

            --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, mkewert@... wrote:
            >
            > I know that theory says the most efficient way to dry fruit with the sun is in a solar fruit dryer, but for reasons of reliability and ease I am trying to price out how a PV powered electric fruit dryer would compare. So, I'm looking for anyone with experience drying fruit. If that's you, will you email me at mkewert@... please?
            >
            > My questions are:
            > How much fruit can you dry per day in one of those little table top dehydrators?
            > Can you run them with fan only; no heat?
            > Have you ever seen a 12 volt DC unit?
            >
            > Thanks
            > Mike
            >


          • Philip Timmons
            Sorry to jump in late . . .  really wondering about this . . .  but does it make sense to convert the Sun to electric (very lossy + expensive equipment) and
            Message 5 of 8 , Jul 2 5:15 PM
              Sorry to jump in late . . .  really wondering about this . . .  but does it make sense to convert the Sun to electric (very lossy + expensive equipment) and then convert the electricity to heat (the drying oven) -- all just do what a Solar heater / oven could do directly?

              Would it not be easier and cheaper to just use a solar heat oven to do the drying?

              Thanks.

              --- On Fri, 7/2/10, mkewert@... <mkewert@...> wrote:

              From: mkewert@... <mkewert@...>
              Subject: Re: [hreg] Re: Slightly off topic - fruit drying with solar
              To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Friday, July 2, 2010, 5:34 PM

               

              Jay,
              thank you very much. That's the one we were looking at, actually. It said adjustable thermostat 85-145F, so I was wondering if you can dry at 85F and just take longer. But the video suggested different temps for different applications.
              thanks again,
              Mike
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "jay_7227" <yahoo@mailbot. transcendent. us>
              To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
              Sent: Friday, July 2, 2010 9:08:41 AM
              Subject: [hreg] Re: Slightly off topic - fruit drying with solar

               

              I am most familiar with the "Excalibur dryer", which is a high quality unit, better than the round ones with the vertical airflow that you would get at most local retail stores.

              Here is a link, for a basic reference. Check out the videos, they are really good:
              http://www.excalibu rdehydrator. com/

              And Amazon (for the reviews)
              http://www.amazon. com/s/url= search-alias% 3Daps&field-keywords= excalibur+ Dehydrator

              The first video gives you a good idea of how much you can put on a tray. The answer is "a lot". Each tray holds maybe 8-12 apples or oranges or things about that size, per tray. The smallest unit is 5 trays I think.

              The smallest unit is about 400 watts, which honestly is a lot to be running on PV. Normal drying times are in the 8 hour range.

              So power use initially seems pretty steep, and I guess it is. But the longer you store the food, the lower the power required for storage gets; food that has been dehydrated is food that doesn't need to be refrigerated. I am not really sure how it compares with canning, but it is probably favorable.

              I don't think you can run any dehydrator without heat, the food will spoil; I could be wrong. I have never seen a 12V model.

              Good luck!

              --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, mkewert@... wrote:
              >
              > I know that theory says the most efficient way to dry fruit with the sun is in a solar fruit dryer, but for reasons of reliability and ease I am trying to price out how a PV powered electric fruit dryer would compare. So, I'm looking for anyone with experience drying fruit. If that's you, will you email me at mkewert@... please?
              >
              > My questions are:
              > How much fruit can you dry per day in one of those little table top dehydrators?
              > Can you run them with fan only; no heat?
              > Have you ever seen a 12 volt DC unit?
              >
              > Thanks
              > Mike
              >



            • mkewert@comcast.net
              Philip, You are correct. Heating is the preferred way to do it. Robert Foster from New Mexico State (and part of HREG) sent me some great information from
              Message 6 of 8 , Jul 3 9:53 AM
                Philip,
                You are correct. Heating is the preferred way to do it.  Robert Foster from New Mexico State (and part of HREG) sent me some great information from Afghanistan, where he is currently doing some solar drying work. The only advantage of doing it the other way is you could dry fruit in the rain if you stored solar energy in a battery.  Much thanks for the help that several of you have offered on this subject.
                Mike
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Philip Timmons" <philiptimmons@...>
                To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Friday, July 2, 2010 7:15:19 PM
                Subject: Re: [hreg] Re: Slightly off topic - fruit drying with solar

                 

                Sorry to jump in late . . .  really wondering about this . . .  but does it make sense to convert the Sun to electric (very lossy + expensive equipment) and then convert the electricity to heat (the drying oven) -- all just do what a Solar heater / oven could do directly?

                Would it not be easier and cheaper to just use a solar heat oven to do the drying?

                Thanks.

                --- On Fri, 7/2/10, mkewert@... <mkewert@...> wrote:

                From: mkewert@... <mkewert@...>
                Subject: Re: [hreg] Re: Slightly off topic - fruit drying with solar
                To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Friday, July 2, 2010, 5:34 PM

                 

                Jay,
                thank you very much. That's the one we were looking at, actually. It said adjustable thermostat 85-145F, so I was wondering if you can dry at 85F and just take longer. But the video suggested different temps for different applications.
                thanks again,
                Mike
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "jay_7227" <yahoo@mailbot. transcendent. us>
                To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                Sent: Friday, July 2, 2010 9:08:41 AM
                Subject: [hreg] Re: Slightly off topic - fruit drying with solar

                 

                I am most familiar with the "Excalibur dryer", which is a high quality unit, better than the round ones with the vertical airflow that you would get at most local retail stores.

                Here is a link, for a basic reference. Check out the videos, they are really good:
                http://www.excalibu rdehydrator. com/

                And Amazon (for the reviews)
                http://www.amazon. com/s/url= search-alias% 3Daps&field-keywords= excalibur+ Dehydrator

                The first video gives you a good idea of how much you can put on a tray. The answer is "a lot". Each tray holds maybe 8-12 apples or oranges or things about that size, per tray. The smallest unit is 5 trays I think.

                The smallest unit is about 400 watts, which honestly is a lot to be running on PV. Normal drying times are in the 8 hour range.

                So power use initially seems pretty steep, and I guess it is. But the longer you store the food, the lower the power required for storage gets; food that has been dehydrated is food that doesn't need to be refrigerated. I am not really sure how it compares with canning, but it is probably favorable.

                I don't think you can run any dehydrator without heat, the food will spoil; I could be wrong. I have never seen a 12V model.

                Good luck!

                --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, mkewert@... wrote:
                >
                > I know that theory says the most efficient way to dry fruit with the sun is in a solar fruit dryer, but for reasons of reliability and ease I am trying to price out how a PV powered electric fruit dryer would compare. So, I'm looking for anyone with experience drying fruit. If that's you, will you email me at mkewert@... please?
                >
                > My questions are:
                > How much fruit can you dry per day in one of those little table top dehydrators?
                > Can you run them with fan only; no heat?
                > Have you ever seen a 12 volt DC unit?
                >
                > Thanks
                > Mike
                >



              • wrpretired@aol.com
                My experience with a dehydrator was that it doesn t work well in this climate, not even inside an air conditioned house. And this was an electric unit with
                Message 7 of 8 , Jul 9 6:50 PM
                  My experience with a dehydrator was that it doesn't work well in this climate, not even inside an air conditioned house.  And this was an electric unit with fan and heater.  All fruits and vegetables that I tried just became moldy before becoming dry.  The more moisture the fruit or vegetable contained in the beginning, the faster it became moldy.  I followed manufacturer's directions.  Perhaps I should have solicited local experience before buying the darned thing.  Does someone else have advice for hot, humid climates?
                   
                  W. P.



                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: mkewert@...
                  To: HREG <hreg@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Thu, Jul 1, 2010 7:39 pm
                  Subject: [hreg] Slightly off topic - fruit drying with solar

                   
                  I know that theory says the most efficient way to dry fruit with the sun is in a solar fruit dryer, but for reasons of reliability and ease I am trying to price out how a PV powered electric fruit dryer would compare.  So, I'm looking for anyone with experience drying fruit.  If that's you, will you email me at mkewert@comcast. net please?

                  My questions are:
                  How much fruit can you dry per day in one of those little table top dehydrators?
                  Can you run them with fan only; no heat?
                  Have you ever seen a 12 volt DC unit?

                  Thanks
                  Mike
                • Garth & Kim Travis
                  Greetings, While I did have this problem when trying to use solar drying, I use my dehydrator quite often and have no problems. The fruit and vegetables must
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jul 10 4:06 AM
                    Greetings,

                    While I did have this problem when trying to use solar drying, I use my
                    dehydrator quite often and have no problems. The fruit and vegetables
                    must be slice very thin so they can dry quickly. I use mine out in a
                    greenhouse, so I don't get extra heat and moisture in my home.

                    Bright Blessings,
                    Garth & Kim Travis
                    www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                    Bedias, Texas
                    936-395-0110

                    On 7/9/2010 8:50 PM, wrpretired@... wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > My experience with a dehydrator was that it doesn't work well in this
                    > climate, not even inside an air conditioned house. And this was an
                    > electric unit with fan and heater. All fruits and vegetables that I
                    > tried just became moldy before becoming dry. The more moisture the fruit
                    > or vegetable contained in the beginning, the faster it became moldy. I
                    > followed manufacturer's directions. Perhaps I should have solicited
                    > local experience before buying the darned thing. Does someone else have
                    > advice for hot, humid climates?
                    > W. P.
                    >
                    >
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