Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers
Solar driers help preserving vegetables
Recognize the problem
are often difficult to grow as they are easily attacked by various insect pests
and diseases. But even after a good harvest, losses in vegetables occur because
they quickly perish. They either get
rotten or lose their nutritional value. Then they are useless for
The shelf life of fresh harvested vegetables is short especially when
the temperatures are high. When dried, then vegetables can be stored much
longer than at fresh stage. But drying is not so easy. Vegetable solar driers
are devices that can dry vegetables by the use of the sun. They are constructed
to absorb the heat from the sun and confine it in within the drier. The solar
drier can be compared to an oven. The drier should be made to allow air flow
within the inside so that humidity can exit. If totally closed and not aerated, fruits
would rot. The freshly harvested
vegetables are placed inside the drier and left to slowly dry.
4 to 6 cm thick wooden poles:
pieces: 0.5 m; 2 pieces: 0.6 m, 2 pieces: 0.53 m
pieces: 1m to 1.5 long, 4 pieces: 1m long
about 6 m x 1 m transparent or black plastic sheet (DPC)
a 1 m x 0.5 m wooden board.
- Make a wooden frame: 1 m
wide x 0.5m deep x 0.5 to 0.6m high. Thus one side is higher than the other
side to allow air flow.
- Cover all sides, except
floor, with transparent plastic to allow sun heating the to-be-dried vegetables.
- The floor is a wooden
- The slanting = higher side
(0.6 m high) holds the doorway
- Make a door that fits the
slanted side (1 x 0.5 x 0.6m) and hinge to the box frame.
- On the top part of the
door leave 0.1m uncovered space for air flow
- Make a 4 footed stand with
about 1 m poles.
- Place the drier in an open
area without any obstructions from sun
- Chop vegetables into small
pieces and place them on a tray on the drier`s box floor.
- The layer of vegetables should
not be more than 2 fingers thick to allow effective drying.
- The vegetables are dry
when they produce a cracking sound when slightly squeezed in the hand.
dried vegetables are now ready to be stored in a cool dry place until use.
Alternative sizes and
structures exist, such as using a mesh floor, and/or black plastic sheets as
The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to:
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