Solar Food Dehydration

A solar dryer is a low cost, simple mechanism that traps light energy and uses that energy to dry fruits, vegetables, and meat.   Solar dryers are usually very simply designed, highly effective and incurre virtually no operation cost. 

Food dehydration has proven to be an efficient form of long term food preservation that reaches far back in the history of food storage.  Minimal food nutrients are lost through solar  preservation.  Some measure need to be take to preserve the Vitamin C.  The design of our dehydrator preserves the Vitamin C content from being effected, by shielding the UV rays and only allowing the food to have contact with radiated heat.

University Display Garden staff worked with University of WI – Freshmen, Engineering students, to designed and built a solar food dehydrator, for the display gardens.  The garden staff is now using this dehydrator to preserve fruits and vegetables being trialing in the garden.

We are recording the temperatures attained within the dehydrator on throughout several drying periods.   Temperatures over 160 degrees, or higher,  have been attained on most sunny days.  In a few days we will know how long it takes to dehydrate a large selection of fruits and vegetables.

If you wish to find out more about the dehydrator, please visit the gardens or come to our Urban Horticulture Day on August 21 – 10:00 to 3:00.  We will be demonstrating how the dehydrator works and have plans available for this style and plans for small, simpler systems.  We will also have hand-outs available on the basic drying guidelines and samples of dried fruits and vegetables will be available for tasting.   Join us and have fun learning a new way to use old methods of preserving your garden produce.

For more information see the following link:

Solar Food Dryer Plans

AUGUST 21, 2010 Field Day

With one month to go until our annual Field Day the gardens are looking spectacular. Each year, on the third Saturday in August, we invite the public to come out and enjoy the sights, smells, and tastes of our garden. The event is free and  features UW Extension specialists, Master Gardeners, and garden staff available to answer questions on weeds, insects, disease, and other gardening topics. One of the highlights of the day is tasting samples of the ripe varieties of fruits and vegetables.  In addition we will have children’s activities, as well as seed garlic and produce for sale. Field Day Sunflower

Please join us on Sat. August 21, 2010 from 10am to 3pm for a relaxing, beautiful,  and educational day at the West Madison University Display Gardens. 8502 Mineral Point Rd/ Verona, WI 53593. (608)-262-2257.

Check for More Information: Urban Hort 2010aaa