Sun drying is best performed where the air is dry and temperatures in the sun reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooler temperatures and higher humidity create spoilage in most fruits and vegetables.
Screens can be made for sun drying from old picture or window frames. Be sure to thoroughly clean the frames before stretching screen (don't use galvanized screens as they can impart a strange flavor to food), cotton sheeting or cheesecloth over them. The material can be secured with staples or tacs. To protect the drying food from insects, a drying tray can be made into a box. Use 1X4s or some other 1X dimmension lumber. Cut holes in the sides and screw them around the framed screen so that the screed is on the top side. The holes may be covered with more screen or cheese cloth. The box can be covered by a lid, either another screen tray, a roll of screen, or even a sheet of plexiglass or clear plastic to help contain the sun's heat. (See Diagram)
Place fruit or vegetables on racks. Put in sun in a place where the air can circulate both above and below the frame. It will take about 4 days to sun dry the produce, but it can be accomplished in as little as two days. It is best not to leave produce out at night, moisture and cool air are your enemies when drying food.
After sun drying, it is recommended that you make sure that eggs of insects and pests are destroyed. This can be accomplished by freezing the produce for 2 to 4 days at below zero temperatures (Fahrenheit). Or it may be heated on a tray in the oven at 175 degrees for 10 or 15 minutes.
Preserving food is a great way to stretch your budget, help the environment and live a healthier life all at the same time. Thanks for visiting our site, we hope that you will come back often to rediscover the magic of preserving food.