Tips for building your own food dehydrator.

You don’t have to be handy to be a patriot or survivalist, but sometimes it sure helps. A case in point is dehydrating food. While you can purchase a food dehydrator, but many of them don’t stand up to years of use, others can’t handle large quantities of food and others are very expensive. You’ll have more money for the food to dehydrate if you learn how to build one for yourself!

As you probably know, dehydration is the best way to keep food for long periods of time without spoiling. Moisture in food is what eventually breeds bacteria, so the more water that can be removed, the longer your food items can keep. Plus, you can store food much more compactly after it’s been dried. Apples in a 2½-gallon bucket, for example, can fit in a one-gallon freezer bag after they’ve been sliced and dried.

While dehydrating food has become more popular in recent years, it’s really a very old strategy. For centuries, people dried out their extra meat, fish, fruit and vegetables during warmer months in order to store it for colder months. They did this under a hot sun, but today we have the luxury of being able to dry our food indoors in dehydrators.

I found an article in Backwoods Home Magazine, “Build This Sturdy Large-Capacity Food Dehydrator.” I think it’s pretty easy to follow.

I really enjoyed the practical advice presented in this article, including what type of trays do not work well for a dehydrator, how you should get your trays first and then build the cabinet to fit around them, as well as making your fan large enough to move air slowly through the dryer but small enough so that it doesn’t cool the food on the trays. There are also tips for drying specific foods such as apples, and provides four sources for more information.

Have you ever used a store-bought food dehydrator? If so, were you happy with its performance? How about you DIYers? Have you tried building your own dehydrator? Tell me about your experiences, including what you wish you would have done differently. I love learning from like-minded folks out there!

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