Inexpensive Solar Dehydrator

For those of you with lots to dehydrate but not a lot of cash, you may be interested in the type used in Uganda that was developed by Fruits of the Nile, a company that helps set up farmers to do value-added processing right on the farm, and then pays them cash on delivery for their dried fruit. They then sort and package it for export to hoity-toity grocery stores in Europe.

The dehydrators are wooden framed, and utilize greenhouse plastic for the cover and shade cloth for the trays and bottom. They are built for about $150 each, and hold a huge amount of fruit, safe from rain and insects. You can see a fantastic video on it at


Those are beautiful dehydrators. I’ve thought about building something like that but the hot end of my greenhouse works well enough.

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I just did a batch of apple chips with the Nesco dehydrator. They turned out real good.



Wow, those solar dehydrators are 10X nicer than the crud i’ve seen on farms in CA/Sacramento/Capay Valley.

They’ve brought a lot of progress to the rural tropic farmers. It used to be they’d harvest the tropical fruits, only to bring them to the local market where every other farmer for 50 miles is growing the same thing, and hope to sell it to some middle man before the harvest rots. Bad roads, truck breakdowns, or other delays would mean the loss of the entire crop.

Now they employ people to slice and dry them right there on the farm, they can store up product until they’re ready to go to town, and they’re guaranteed a cash buyer at fair prices. Europeans get relatively cheap organic tropical fruit in return. Sounds like a win-win.


Easy to make and looks efficient, very nice! This definitely will help preserve the harvest and improve local economy. But I have a question, does the plastic/shade cloth/green house plastic they used on the fruit/ touch the fruit, food graded??

The European clients have inspected the processing operation, and given the OK for it, and so I assume it is. The plastic doesn’t touch the food, only the shadecloth.