How to Build a DIY Solar Dehydrator (Video)

diy solar dehydrator photo
Paul Wheaton

Earlier today I posted an appeal from Paul Wheaton for funding for his latest video project. but if you've yet to check out one of his practical, permaculturist back-to-the-land videos—from rocket mass stoves through tiny houses to how to kill a chicken there are plenty to choose from—then this latest is a particularly fine example. Visiting three different homesteads, he explores three different designs for 100% passive solar, electricity-free food dehydrators.

Having experimented a small amount with solar cooking myself, and having written about DIY solar cookers, I do know a thing or two about food preparation using the power of the sun.

But while solar cookers work primarily on heat (obviously), it's interesting to note that these dehydrators rely as much on air movement as they do heat to dry the fruit, nuts, veggies, or mushrooms that are placed in them.

Given my own Lazivore tendencies (and my total lack of practical DIY skills!) I am unlikely to be constructing one of these any time soon. But it is a great reminder that harnessing renewable energy is often as much about careful design and common sense as it is waiting for the next technological breakthrough.