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Food Dehydrators
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Norman Bradley
(NormanB) - F

Locale: New York
Food Dehydrators on 10/28/2008 19:56:14 MDT Print View

Speaking of dehydrated food...
(hope I'm putting this in the right place)
Can anyone recommend a good dehydrator?
Fruit and vegetables primarily but beef would be OK too.

I have used my refrigerator just as it is to dry grape tomatoes (but it takes about 3 weeks). My kitchen does Ok with mushrooms on occasion. However, I'm looking for something faster and more reliable.

Timothy Foutz
(glad777) - MLife

Locale: Virginia
Dehydrator on 10/29/2008 05:24:30 MDT Print View

I have a large NESCO. Be sure to get one with a fan. Heat does not dry food by itself it steams it. Some NESCO are called American Harvest and some are called Open Country. These are all made by NESCO. Be sure to get the accesories that fit the size dehydrator you buy it easy to make a mistake and buy trays and other parts that are the wrong size. Expect to spend 150 to 200 dollars don't get a cheap one with no fan as the fan is then most important part or the unit.

Edited by glad777 on 10/29/2008 05:25:46 MDT.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
NESCO Dehydrator on 10/29/2008 09:58:27 MDT Print View

Thereis a NESCO dehydrator (American Harvest) with fan, 4 trays for about $50 at Walmart. Hydrators and accessories sold at AntiGravityGear

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
NESCO on 10/29/2008 10:05:19 MDT Print View

I have the NESCO dehydrator from Wal-Mart, too (I think they call it the "Snackmaster Express"). I've been really happy with it.

Blue _
(lrmblue) - MLife

Locale: Northeast (New England)
Excalibur? on 10/29/2008 10:31:28 MDT Print View

A few years back I was able to get a really good deal on an Excalibur dehydrator. It has worked so well for my wife and me that I think if we ever have to replace it we would be willing to ante up the full premium price that they usually sell for in order to get another. Put simply, they are pricey but quality. I haven't used a NESCO, but the cheap-o dehydrator that I started with nearly discouraged me trying to dehydrate my own food altogether. From what others are saying here the NESCO sounds like it might be a good choice. Good luck and have fun.


Andrew Lush
(lushy) - MLife

Locale: Lake Mungo, Mutawintji NPs
Another vote for the Excalibur on 10/30/2008 02:40:17 MDT Print View

My partner bought me an Excalibur as birthday present and it is a truly great machine.

It dries evenly throughout the various levels and has a very precise temperature control. The square trays make it very easy to use.

As I write this, it is whirring away in the background drying some pasta and rice for an upcoming bushwalking trip. (while the radio plays the third cricket test between Australia and India - India are 6/513 - not looking good for the Aussies)

Coin Page
(Page0018) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern USA
Excalibur rocks. on 10/30/2008 06:49:52 MDT Print View

Get the larger size - 9 trays.
It helps doing large production runs, like apples or peaches or other seasonal produce.

The timer is unnecessary and I wish I didn't have it.
I want the dehydrator to run until I'm ready to bag and store, so the food, especially fruit, doesnt' start reabsorbing water and soften.

Blue _
(lrmblue) - MLife

Locale: Northeast (New England)
Dehydrators: NESCO / Excalibur / Others? on 10/30/2008 09:20:46 MDT Print View

I always suspected that the timer option for the Excalibur would be of limited value, for the very reasons you point out. Still, although I like my Excalibur very much (as I posted above) I’ve often wondered if this is because my only other dehydrator was of very poor quality. For people who are looking for something less expensive than an Excalibur, what advice would be useful for Norman?

If you haven’t done so already, you might find it helpful to search the BPL website for postings about dehydrating and dehydrators—there have been many postings from many different perspectives that may be helpful to you.


Edited by lrmblue on 10/30/2008 09:22:24 MDT.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Nesco Dehydrator on 10/30/2008 10:47:21 MDT Print View

You will find my review of the Nesco FD 75PR dehydrator in the Reader Reviews section. It runs about $69 and is a great value. I have used Nesco dehydrators for over a decade and with writing cookbooks (I am on my second book now) I give my appliances a lot of use (and abuse sometimes). The FD 75PR is the same as the Open Country model.

In the past I have also used Mr. Coffee, Deni and Ronco and you couldn't pay me to use them again.

What you need in a dehydrator is the following...

- temperature scale that goes to at least 155ºF
- adjustable thermostat
- minimum 500 watts power (700 watts is better)
- top or side fans (easier to clean than bottom fans)
- ability to add additional trays

Always run your dehydrator with 4 trays or more even if you only have one tray of food. It helps the food dry properly by giving adequate air circulation.

Hope that helps.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 10/30/2008 10:48:41 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Food Dehydrators on 10/30/2008 13:28:14 MDT Print View

I used a Nesco for years - great buy - you can get good ones at Amazon for $45-65 these days.
My current one I use now is a L'EQUIP. It has a bottom fan but for me that isn't an issue - I like how the L' one has sensors for detecting moisture.
Though the Nesco did just fine - I wanted one that did a bit more.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
l'Equip on 10/30/2008 19:45:13 MDT Print View

I often wonder how well the moisture sensors work in those... if it is anything like the moisture sensor in my uber-expensive-over-priced clothes dryer then it wouldn't be worth my while. A timer would be useless for me too.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: l'Equip on 10/30/2008 21:41:01 MDT Print View

The sensor works quite nicely.

Norman Bradley
(NormanB) - F

Locale: New York
Food dehydrators on 11/02/2008 11:12:29 MST Print View

All, thanks for the recommendations.
I'll go and check out the Nesco's in a week or so at my local Target, thay have 4 models listed: 700 watt, Gardenmaster, Snackmaster and 4 Tray.

Laurie, I know what you mean about abuse....ah, wearing out equipment. I have a Quisinart Miniprep; I've so far busted 3 blades on it making sauces, dips and dressings. The plastic ring just seems too delicate to handle anything like cream cheese, chopped aged cheeses or nuts. Wish they had an all metal version.

Edited by NormanB on 11/02/2008 11:13:08 MST.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: Food dehydrators on 11/02/2008 16:11:18 MST Print View

I have a full size food processor by Black and Decker and one of those Magic Bullet thingies (that's my big technical term of the day - lol). The MB is great for grinding spices, nuts, making powders from dehydrated foods and such. If it were bigger I could use it for everything. The food pro I use for hummus and other spreads/dips.

Back to dehydrators. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the Nesco. I know the folks that wrote the Lipsmackin' Backpackin' books used a Nesco brand (American Harvest) for both books. It was purchased, used, at a garage sale for $10 or something like that. They upgraded when I got in a large order of the 700 watt units and as far as I know, Christine really likes it.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 11/02/2008 16:14:22 MST.