Before there was frozen pizza and canned peaches, there was dried food. In fact drying has been for thousands of years the main method of food preservation. Tonight's guest, Richard Perez has posted an article (in PDF format) by Dennis Scanlin on his website, that details how to use and construct a Solar Food Dryer.
By lowering the moisture content in food, spoilage is prevented and flavor and nutrition are to some degree preserved. Just about any food source can be dried, and once completed they tend to take up less weight and bulk than other storage methods. The way the food is dried is affected by temperature, humidity and air flow. Temperatures used vary depending on the item, with higher temperatures drying faster.
The Solar Dryer costs about a $150 to make and uses such basic materials as plywood, stainless steel, and aluminum. This outdoor contraption operates by natural convection, and can for instance, dry 7-10 lbs. of thinly sliced fruit or veggies in one to two sunny days.