Any of these can be hybridized which means you can mix and match power sources. You can start stacking drying racks, just make sure that air can flow through and between your racks. Rotate your racks and product from top to bottom or however necessary to maintain even drying. With all foods you dry, the more uniform or even the shapes and thicknesses or the food, the more evenly it will dry. Feel free to experiment! Drier foods last longer, less dry foods have all kinds of variable textures and “rehydrate” faster when needed.
Wired food dryers.
The easiest way to get started drying foods is to pick up a little commercially bought unit. These are almost always electrically powered and have a little circulating fan. They can be found in thrift stores for a couple of bucks. Commercial dryers are all electric these days. You could easily design your own with a blow dryer. However there’s no point in not investigating alternative heat sources.
Solar food dryers.
Solar food dryers are dandy. If you live where it’s sunny. The work marvelously in deserts that’s for sure. Solar dryers can just be a baking pan out in the sun or a string of chillies hanging or it can be a boxed-in, glass-topped affair. With a fancy solar food dryer, we design it to draw fresh, dry air up from the bottom and hot air vents from the top. Naturally, the fancier dryer is hotter, so you are rotating and moving more product through.
Fired food dryers.
Using fire to dry things like meats and fruit is pretty ancient and it speeds things up bigtime. We can dry a lot more product in a smaller area using fire (and electric for that matter) since we can stack our drying racks vertically as tall as we like. With fire you are keeping very busy rotating drying racks and keeping the fires even.