Tag Archives: preserving food

Dehydrator update

Solar dehydrator up date.

In my last post on it I asked for some help dialing in the dehydrator. I did not get much advice, but I tweaked some things. In the end I was unhappy with the natural draft. So I added a solar vent fan to even the draft out, and I repositioned it for better sun. That did the trick for herbs. It runs on a 70 to 75 degree day (no rain and a little sun) at about 105-110 Deg and has a good draft. However, rainy overcast cool days it does not work at all. You really need some dry days with a little sun, but I’m ok with that. It really puts out some volume. I have a huge volume of dried herbs now with no real work and no electricity. I will be adding some painted corrugated steel to the solar tray to boost temperatures for fruit. The steel should up the surface area enough to to give me an extra 15 to 25 Deg rise minimum. That should do for fruit slices.

The biggest surprise was how nice it is to hang herbs. I did not get a picture, but you can stager the hanging pattern to get a lot in. I made a bunch of racks from plastic ceiling return grills, but it is faster to just hang things. It adds to the drying time but it’s less work, and there is less chance of the wind messing with it when you put it in or take it out of the dehydrator.

I also want to say that I still find it incredibly fun to build things like this, and to get a feel for them. The dehydrator plus foraging, has given me such an over abundance of herbs that I will be giving herbs away all summer. The picture represents the volume from one unload.

Chestnut flour

Chestnut flour
We have a lot of chestnuts this year so I dried some for flour. It adds a nice roasted chest flavor to foods.

It’s easy, but a little tedious. Cut Xs in the nuts. I use a utility knife and hold it up on the blade for better control. You can do big Xs because we are going to dry them anyway. If you are roasting them to eat make the Xs small to hold in moisture. Bake them up at 200 for 30 to 45 minutes and peal them. Don’t worry about the skin just get the shells off. The skins will separate after you dehydrate the nuts. Dehydrate them till they are rock hard. Then just shuffle the dried nut around in a bowl and blow hard, the skins will fly out of the bowl. They will go everywhere so do it outside. At that point I just put them in a jar and grind it when I want to use it. It’s really good as an additive to bread but I use it mostly for noodles, 1cup nut flour to 2 cups of semolina flour. I heard some people use it for cookies but I’ve not tried that yet.

PS. If you roast them to eat out of hand try dipping them in some cream cheese, and season salt.