I’ve been talking about this book Tony loaned me, The Encyclopedic Cookbook, a lot lately. We even filled up most of a GardenFork Radio show about it. Link Here.
This book is truly encyclopedic and while we may snicker at a lot of the recipes, like Stuffed Crown of Frankfurters ( this is a Must Make on GardenFork ) the book does have some really interesting stuff in it.
I stumbled across a few pages of food dehydration techniques that I had not seen before, and I thought a few were pretty smart in their efficient use of heat and simple design.
The chapter is titled Drying Foods; today we would title it Food Dehydration.
Here are plans for an outdoor solar dehydrator, they call it a Sun Dryer, and its brilliantly simple, I like the simple tilt mechanism. Just use wing nut to tilt the solar food drier toward the sun.
On the next page was something I had never seen before, and I know my wife would not let me build in the kitchen: A Range Top Dryer . The text was a little vague on this one, but it did say ” Strong flavored foods should not be cooked while food is being dried since odors may be absorbed” OK.
I’m guessing you have the burners on to dry out your food? Or does the heat from the pilot lights give off enough heat to be an effective food deyhrator? Not sure. Anyone know? A quick web search turned up nothing. Still, its quite fascinating to me.
This design uses heat from the Laundry Stove. I’ve never heard of a laundry stove before, but it looks like you would use it to dry clothes.
This chapter in the book list all the usual vegetables and fruits one can dry, but it also lists some I never considered.
“Steam 3 minutes, Remove excess moisture. Arrange in a thin layer. Start drying at 120F increase gradually to 140F. Stir the spinach carefully from time to time so that it will dry quickly thoughout. … Greens are likely to be of inferior quality if not carefully dried and stored. They dereriorate after long storage.”