Cheap fruit dehydrator

So I read about Alton Brown’s box fan food dehydrator and decided to try it with some apples I’d gleaned from local parking lots. I actually like it better than my food dehydrator!

I peeled, cored, and sliced the apples with one of these, then spread them out on furnace filters. I actually put the box fan on its back, blowing upward, on top of a wooden crate so plenty of air could get underneath. Stacked the filters on top of the fan, turned the fan on medium, and 12 hours later – perfect dried apple slices!

They tasted much more like the apple slices I get from the co-op than ones I’ve dried with heat. Anything I’ve dried in the typical hot-blowing-air kind of dehydrator came out with some too raw and some crispy. They always had a weird taste that might have been related to the heat, or might have been from previous exposure to Grandad’s Secret Jerky Marinade.

I’m still experimenting with how dry they need to be…are these going to get moldy? They feel like the ones from the store, so I’m hoping they’ll be good. It’s sure easier than the other one, quieter,  uses less electricity, and with better results, so I’m sold!



  1. Ken said,

    October 8, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    To my surprise, I’ve not had dried apples go moldy.

    I did once with dried tomatoes, but not last year’s.

  2. shayne said,

    October 9, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    oh wow this is cool (must have miss Alton’s show on this one) and I will have to try it with something. I have never had dehydrated apple slices so I am not sure if I should try that or something else. thank you for spreading ideas.

  3. mandi said,

    October 9, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    i always have that happen with my heat dehydrated fruit too. i really like this idea- thanks for passing it on!

    btw- congrats on the new greenhouse! it is beautiful- how exciting for you!!!

  4. Diana Dyer said,

    October 9, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Would you please post a photo of how this looks when in use? Or better yet, take photos of the various steps in getting it all set up? I can follow pictures better than words (some little glitch in my brain). Thanks!!

  5. Emily said,

    October 10, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Folks – I’m out of town this weekend, but I will aim to get a visual description of the process up when I’m drying the next batch next weekend!

  6. Jenna said,

    October 12, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Glad to know others folks are doing this too! We gave our dehydraytor away the day we uncovered our first batch of dried pineapple. (If anyone is on the fence over this method, try figuring out how much it costs to run a hairdryer for a week or so constantly. That’s pretty much the same insane cost of running your standard dehydrayor!)

    Its about apple time here, and the cherries are sitting so pretty in their jars, I love this method of food preservation. Thanks for spreading the love.

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