Here's a wallet-friendly method to keep a supply of tasty dried fruit around: using the sun as a free energy source, and your car's sizzling dashboard to get the job done.

Tom, of The Tangled Nest, had a lot of fruit on his hands that he didn't want to let go to waste. He built a simple solar dehydrator out of a box and a piece of window screen, but it didn't seem to dry the fruits effectively.

Then, building an actual solar oven seemed kind of silly when he had a car sitting just in the driveway that heated up to scorching temperatures when left for hours in the sun. So he moved the box of fruit he was drying to his car.

Along with them, I moved our kitchen thermometer. For dehydrating, you want the food to dry fast enough that mold does not grow, but you don't want to cook it, and you want some enzymes to survive. So for vegetables and fruit you aim for temperatures in the 100-150 degree range.

Turns out the car provided the perfect temperature and the figs he was testing out his method with dried nicely over the course of a few days on the dashboard.

[via Lifehacker]