Take one thrift store cake rack and one thrift store enamel roasting pan, add the plastic cover from the microwave and what do you have? A crazy experimental solar food dryer thingy!
It was so warm this past weekend that I wanted to try drying some fruit -- specifically, the mango we had had for lunch and couldn't finish. So I cut it into little french fry sized slices, and stuck them on the cake rack, which was on top of the dark enamel pan. It would have been better to leave the fruit out in the open air, but there were a lot of flies buzzing around in the Spring heat, and I didn't want any fly goo on my dried mango fries.
Well, to make a short story shorter, the mango fries are still soggy. I forgot to move the contraption when the sun moved off the porch, and so very little drying activity occurred. I will definitely give this thing a try again though, because I think it could work. Then again, leaving the mango out on the kitchen counter on a baking sheet would work too. But that's not nearly as much fun.
April 16 2008 Update: Dried mango fries are delicious! After two days on the rack on the kitchen counter, the mango slices have all dried nicely in the open air. I packed a bunch of them as part of my lunch today, and they are so, so tasty. The flavor is concentrated, and the chewy texture is really satisfying. This mango was a bit under-ripe, so it tastes like one of those hard, sweet/sour candies (the brand name of which I won't mention because, I am not a billboard). I highly recommend this fruit drying thing. I'm going to give the solar dryer contraption another try outside on the next warm and sunny day, but it's good to know that just open air and time also work well enough.
This is getting monotonous-
9 hours ago