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How to Dry Leaves

1. Set up the Solar Dryer. Put the dryer where it will have full sunshine all day. Put a sheet of plastic on the ground below the dryer to block moisture rising from the soil. Raise the base of the dryer off the ground with bricks or sticks to make sure that air moves through the dryer. Some people prefer putting the dryer on a table or on a low roof to protect it from playing children and animals. Raise the side of the dryer that faces away from the noon sun (north in the northern hemisphere) to give the sunlight a more direct angle, This will help the dryer reach the ideal temperature of about 55° C (130° F). If the air temperature is over 32° C (90° F) the dryer may get too hot. Separating the dryer base and cover with small wooden blocks will create more air flow and reduce the temperature. Raising one side of the dryer should also allow it to drain unexpected rain.

2. Harvest and wash leaves in clean water.

3. Cut leaves into small pieces. Remove large stems.

4. Blanch leaves in steam, or in a microwave oven for 3 minutes. (Blanching leaves in boiling water results in too much vitamin loss.)

5. Spread leaves evenly in dryer in the morning so they can dry before reabsorbing moisture from cooler night air. Try to use between 1 -1.5 kg (2-3 lb.) of cut leaves per square meter of dryer. Too thick a layer of leaves will keep the dryer too cool and some leaves could spoil before they dry.

6. Check on the leaves in mid afternoon if possible. Reposition the leaves so they will dry evenly.



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