Since I’ve basically mulched the garden and cleared everything out, I had to do something with the sage plant that was still alive and kicking, even after the killing frost in October. So I basically stripped all the good leaves from the plant and laid the leaves on a screen for the dehydrator to do its thing.
I did end up using a blue furnace filter this time around. I set the fan on medium speed instead of low, but it still took about 7 days to dry a single frames worth of sage leaves. Personally I thought that it would have been a little bit quicker, but go figure.
Now that I have the box fan dehydrator built, its time to dry something. And I just got a bucket full of basil from my farmer neighbor, at first I thought about making it into pesto and freezing it into ice cube trays. But why not put the box fan through its maiden voyage, to work out any kinks.
Well it turns out that the type of filter you use can be a major kink in using a box fan dehydrator. The filter that I started with was a cotton style filter with a MERV 8 rating. The problem with using a filter with that high of a rating was that the box fan wasn’t strong enough to blow its air capacity through the filter. So a majority of the air ended up bouncing off the filter back though the box fan. So what was supposed to take a day to dry out ended up taking five days. So for next time I’m going to use one of those blue furnace filters that has a MERV 2 rating, since a MERV 8 is just overkill in this application. That is unless you are a dust freak/germ-a-phobe, then maybe a MERV 8 is the way to go.
I’ve wanted to make a box fan dehydrator for a long time. With a long time being, since I saw the episode of Good Eats, where Alton Brown was making beef jerky with his box fan dehydrator. I already had a box fan in the basement, I just needed to find those cotton filters that he used in the episode. After about a month a searching around town and coming up empty. The project got tossed onto the back burner. Continue reading →