Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Dehydrating Taken Up a Notch

With a Solar Oven

Recipe courtesy of Anne Patterson

Preserving summers bounty in dried form has great appeal. It is less work than canning and takes less space for storage or carrying along on those autumn hikes. Sweetness and color blend for great kid appeal.

The solar oven is the answer. It is the only truly off-the-grid, no-fossil-fuel cooking appliance. The solar ovens low cooking temperatures are a perfect fit for the 170ºF-200ºF range which is ideal for dehydrating fruits and vegetables, slow-cooking, and baking. We recommend cooking on a screen or mesh instead of a tray or a pot (unless youre making leathers as in the recipe below) and prop the lid open ¼” to allow moisture to escape.

Anne Patterson, CEO of Solavore, maker of the Sport solar oven, cites beet jerky as one of her favorites. But her latest find takes solar dehydrating up a notch, out of the snack bag and on to the hors doeuvre table with tomato basil leather caprese bites. See the recipe below from Solavore contributing blogger Elizabeth Van Huffel at It is a deceptively simple fruit leather to make.

Tomato Basil Leather Caprese Bites {Made with Sunshine}

Servings: 8-10 1″ strips

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5-6 hours


  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes I used a mixture of sun golds & grape
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 18-20 small balls of fresh mozzarella cheese


  1. Chop tomatoes if needed and place all of the ingredients (except the cheese) into a blender and pulse until well combined –– about 45 seconds.
  2. Cover a half sheet pan with tin foil and pour tomato mixture out onto the pan. Spread out evenly onto the tinfoil. Place into your solar oven and let cook for 5-6 hours or until firm and cooked through.
  3. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan. Take foil out of the pan then using a flat spatula push the edges of the leather off of the foil. Gently peel back the leather until it is completely removed from foil. Lay out flat onto a piece of parchment paper and slice into 1″ strips.
  4. Using a skewer or pick, layer the leather between the cheese balls and push through to hold together. Continue the process until all of them are made and serve.

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