Sun drying is an economical method of food preservation. Anything you see dried on your grocer’s shelves, you can dry. If you grow it, you can be assured of maximum freshness and food value. Dried items require no additional energy to store and can be kept for extended periods.
Dried fruit can be mixed with cereal or granola, or with nuts and seeds to make energy bars, if you can stop eating them when the drying process is complete. Dip fruit like peaches or apples in Fruit-Fresh® to preserve the color. Most dried vegetables can be easily rehydrated in soups or by soaking them in water for 10 minutes to an hour.
Drying meat or fish may take up to two days. Sun drying will keep the odor out of your house. Leave meat in the oven and seal the latches, this will suspend the drying process and keep bugs from getting into the oven. Finish the drying process the next day. This is a great way to make deer jerky.
Place your SUN OVEN® outdoors in a sunny place, facing south. The multi-level racks can be covered with parchment paper, filled with sliced items (the thinner the slice, the quicker the drying), and stacked inside the SUN OVEN® on the leveling tray. Turn one of the latches inward and set the glass on top leaving a gap between the glass and gasket allowing moisture to escape. The ideal temperature for drying is between 110 and 150 degrees F. Keep the temperature low to avoid cooking the food.
Billie Nicholson, editor
Apple harvest time this year produced lots of fruit. We canned slices, made apple sauce and dried some. The SunOven® works well as a fruit dehydrator. First we set the SunOven® outside, but not focused on the sun. We wanted a slight preheat but to less than 100º. Apples were washed and aligned in a Norpro “Apple Master”, an apple peeler, corer, and slicer. A few turns of the handle made quick work of the first apple. Slide the apple spiral slices off the core and place them on a cutting board.
Slice the spiral in half. Place the apple slices in a solution of water and Fruit Fresh® ascorbic acid (follow directions on bottle) to keep the slices from turning dark.
Cover the drying racks with parchment paper and drain apple slices. Line them up on the racks. Carefully arrange the racks inside the SunOven®. Leave the door latches under the glass door to allow air flow and keep the temperature low inside. We turn the oven so it is behind the sun track. Check at the end of the day. If not completely dry, latch and leave over night. Finish the next day. When slices are dry, remove from racks and pack into a clean glass jar. Add an oxygen absorber and pull a vacuum with a Food Saver® or by hand with a clean brake bleeder. Store cool and dark.
November 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson, editor