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Home-Built Fruit Dryer
An old upright freezer works great for drying fruit, says Gilbert Toney, Mooresboro,N.C., who puts a small electric heater and fan at the bottom of a freezer to blow air up through racks covered with slices of apples, peaches, bananas, seedless grapes, etc.
The wire racks are covered by cheese-cloth to keep the fruit from falling through as it shrinks. A 2-in. dia. vent hole in the top of the freezer, fitted with a short length of pipe, allows moist air to escape.
"It makes some of the best dried fruit you've ever tasted," says Toney. "A111 do is shut the door and plug in the electric heater cord. It works much faster than leaving the fruit outside on racks in the sun, and birds can't get at it. The heater will dry one batch of fruit in four hours. It would take two or three days to dry the same amount of fruit outside. We've dried 5 gal. of fruit in two days. An infrared heater bulb can be used instead of the electric heater and fan, but it takes one day to dry the same amount of fruit.
"The racks have to be rotated every couple of hours because fruit on the bottom racks dries faster than on the top ones. If we want more heat inside the freezer we can put a tin can over the vent pipe. We dry 2 or 3 bu. of fruit, sealing it up in jars. We give a lot away to friends."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Gilbert Toney, Rt. 1, Box 51, Mooresboro, N.C. 28114 (ph 704 453-7419).

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1993 - Volume #17, Issue #1