Yay! Another opportunity to show off my latent O.C.D.!
Drying fruit is a fairly straightforward affair. Preserving vegetables, both as frozen and as dried, requires a few more steps for you but fruit, thankfully, is easy-peasy. Most of us have an oven, therefore, most of us can dry some fruit, especially if you’d like to try fruit leather. In point of fact, fruit leather is the only thing I had heretofore tried to preserve, as I didn’t have a dehydrator of my own, either plug-in or solar. The picture above is one of the school’s 3 dehydrators, liberated by yours truly for the upcoming blueberry onslaught. Today, though, it’s strawberries.
Evapotranspiration is a mighty big word but it includes a concept (transpiration) you are probably already familiar with, even if you don’t think you are, and evaporation, which you already know. All produce, all plants, transpire (wick water) as part of “what they do,” and the extreme form of this otherwise natural occurrence is dried produce, dried leaves. There’s a certain formula of heat plus wind plus relative humidity and soil moisture that farmers look to to see how their crops are growing. On a global scale, evapotranspiration is how water is exchanged in the world (rain to trees/plants and back again), but in your kitchen or in your back yard, you can use it to help preserve your fruit harvest.
I am all in favor as you know of things you DON’T plug in to an outlet, and there are plenty of sites for solar food dehydrators out there. Here’s one dear to my heart as it’s similar to the chicken tractor, plus it geeks out on the whole process of how it best happens (I do loves me some engineering). Try this at home!! Me, I am time-crunched this summer so the plug-in is the way I will go, for now. These strawberries dried in six hours, and will keep for six months.