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G E N E RA L D R Y I N G M E T H O D S
A N D M AT E R I A L S
Food usually is dried on a flat surface, such as a tray or screen, using a natural or artificial heat source. Solar drying is obviously the preferred method
because it consumes only the sun’s energy and that energy is free. Trays
should be placed in a dry, well-ventilated spot, generally out of the direct
sun, or in specially designed solar dryers.
In lieu of natural sunshine, we can take advantage of the heat generated by a radiator, kitchen range, woodstove, or oven. If all these are lacking, we can settle for a low-wattage electric food dehydrator. Several models are available for home use.
Two Types of Easy-to-Make Drying Trays
S D T ( " × ")
Square battens (crosssection 1¼" × 1¼")
Flat battens (cross section
⅛" × 1¼")
20"-wide roll of
galvanized metal or
rigid plastic screen with
fine mesh (25–50 mm
or 1–2 sq. in.)
Nails (2" and 1" long)
First assemble the square battens to form a
frame sixty inches long by twenty inches wide.
To make the frame more rigid, add one or two
square battens across the middle. Hammer the
frame together with 2-inch nails.
Unroll the screening and flatten it against the
frame using the flat battens to hold it in place.
Fasten with 1-inch nails. This creates the bottom of the tray.
The tray is now ready to use. Note that the
trays can be stacked to save space.
Henry Rouy, Cournon-D’Auvergne
V : S M D
( for those with limited space)
Two 24" × 2½" boards
r e s e is
r vai nbasket
g b y that
D r y can
i n g be hung from a beam
Two 14" × 2½" boards
or a nail, in the cellar or kitchen. It is very simSmall wooden laths
ple to make.
Make the sides of the basket with the four
boards. Then nail the small wooden laths threequarters of an inch apart to make the bottom.
To make the handle, add two small boards of
the same length as the basket to each side. Connect them with a round stick.
You can dry cheese, mushrooms, prunes,
and herbs for infusions, for example, by placing
some netting over the bottom of the basket.
This small dryer is easy to move and clean.
Nicole Mansard, St. Julien-Chapteuil