Tutorial: Outdoor Fruit-Dehydrating Rack
Last month, we found ourselves with 60 pounds of cherries and no plan, so my husband quickly built an outdoor dehydrating rack. Here’s how:
(Note: The tutorial was an after thought, thus yielding only cell phone pictures)
- 4 – 1 x 2 x 8s
- Aluminum window screening (we bought this)
- 1 1/4″ brads or nails
- Wood glue
- Miter saw
- Brad gun or hammer
- Staple gun
- 2 – 34.5″
- 2 – 42″
- 4 – 12″
Time: 2 hours or less
1. Cut the wood into desired lengths. We chose 2 – 34.5″ and 2 – 42″ so we didn’t have to trim the window screening. Cut the edges at 45 degree angles.
2. Glue corners together to make a large picture frame. Then nail (with a brad gun) on both sides to strengthen it.
3. Lay the screen out on the frame and secure with a staple gun.
4. Cut lengths of the remaining wood into 4 – 12″ pieces, with angles cut at 45 degrees into a trapezoid. Nail the wood into the corner of the frame for reinforcement. You can also use a brad gun, but we ran out of brads. Repeat on all four corners.
5. Your end result looks like this:
6. Repeat this process to make a second screen to place on top or simply use cheesecloth to cover the fruit.
How to Use:
We set the drying rack out on planters, piled it with loads of cherries, and placed a second drying rack on top.
The cherries sat for three days in my parents’ backyard, coming inside at night (probably unnecessary). After three days, the cherries looked like this…
…and my children happily harvested the lot.
- The drying rack can also be made with the simplest of tools and materials–hand saw, hammer, and nails–but since we had a brad gun, staple gun, and miter saw, we took advantage of our good fortune. Play around with what you’ve got!
- This large rack worked beautifully and didn’t appear to have any trouble with the weight. Nevertheless, we will likely make a smaller one in the future.
- Clamps on the side would have eased my mind in case the wind picked up.
- We’re not really a DIY family, but this project was easy-peasy for my husband (and I’m sure I could have done it as well)
Do you dehydrate fruit outdoors? What methods have worked best for you?
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