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Recommendation for a dehydrator?
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Kristin Fiebelkorn
(kushbaby) - MLife

Locale: South Texas
Recommendation for a dehydrator? on 09/20/2011 14:13:07 MDT Print View

I am currently doing some food planning for a few upcoming 3 or 4 day no stove trips (burn/open flame bans). I sucked it up and ordered some prepackaged add-cold-water items for large meals (e.g., Packit Gourmet hamburger), but this whole process (and my wallet) has led me to the conclusion that I need to just go ahead and get a dehydrator. Besides, I love to cook and to tinker with my food and with recipes - it's probably more reasonable for me to put this stuff together myself.

I would much rather get a nice, full-featured dehydrator that will function well, allow me to try lots of methods, make big batches sometimes, and last a long time even if more expensive (as opposed to a cheaper smaller one that I might get frustrated with quickly as I try to experiment with pushing limits - I tend to be adventurous. :D).

I have poked around on this forum to get some ideas (I like the look of the larger one recommended in Dehydrating 101, for instance), but I would really appreciate it if I could get some brand and model recommendations/thoughts (and features I probably don't know about) to help me in my decision making...

Any advice would be appreciated!!!

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Recommendation for a dehydrator? on 09/20/2011 14:46:17 MDT Print View

Looks aside the big players all work well and can come down to how much you want to pay ;-) Nesco, Lequip, Excalibur are all good for the most part.
It never hurts to buy the best you can though - and get the model that does the most.

Like for me....I don't use my dehydrator for everything but I love that I can do odd things - fancy rice, pasta, artichokes, olives, etc - the things I cannot get easily or cheap (although http://www.frontiercoop.com/ is a great source for dried veggies and so is www.harmonyhousefoods.com)

My baby these past couple years has been a Lequip - but I also love the style of it - it isn't a big ol' circle ;-)

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Recommendation for a dehydrator? on 09/20/2011 14:52:37 MDT Print View

Good4U : Timer, Thermostat, Not a circle, Not expensive.

I've had mine for years, no problems.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: Recommendation for a dehydrator? on 09/20/2011 21:24:21 MDT Print View

Kristin... an adjustable thermostat is a must-have on any unit

If you are looking for something under $100 go with a Nesco but choose a model that has at least 500 W of power, a thermostat and a top fan.

If you plan to do a lot of this and want to spend a little more then I recommend the Excalibur 3926T with a full set of the Paraflexx sheets.

I have had both Nesco and Excalibur units and they've all served me well. My Nesco FD75 is still going strong as is the FD50 I had before that (it's now being used by my sister for making potpourri, jerky and drying herbs).

The biggest advantages to the Excalibur are drying times and the timer function but you are looking at more substantial investment.

Scott Truong
(elf773)

Locale: Vancouver, BC
RE: Recommendation for a dehydrator on 09/20/2011 21:26:40 MDT Print View

Upon recommendations from one of the ladies on here, I bought this Nesco from Amazon . I think I paid about $45 for it shipped.

It's pretty simple and straightforward to use. You can dehydrate soups/stews, etc. I have pretty simple needs though, as I only currently do ground beef, carrots and peppers but I'm sure it'll work for the majority of stuff people use dehydrators for.

Stephen P
(spavlock) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Recommendation for a dehydrator? on 09/20/2011 22:13:49 MDT Print View

I have an Excaliber 5 tray. I think it's $190 on amazon. This is the only dehydrator I've used, so my opinions are probably biased. that being said, the Excaliber has performed very well. The fan is at the back of the unit, so all trays dry evenly. I also have the Excaliber dehydrating sheets. These are nice if you are doing something like sauce, but parchment paper will do the job just as well. I've used mine now for a little over 2 years. If it lasts me many more years, then it was worth the extra money.

Note: I usually dehydrate whole meals (everything together), so dehydrator sheets (or multiple parchment papers) are a necessity due to sauces on most of my meals.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Re: Recommendation for a dehydrator? on 09/20/2011 22:38:37 MDT Print View

keep in mind, some dehydrators have a fan that blows down across several trays, thus making the process take longer, and may cross-interfere with tastes. (apricots and jerky at the same time...not a good idea for this type)
others even have a fan and mechanical parts in the bottom, blowing up.. which is difficult to clean.
Excalibur has a fan in the rear, which blows across the trays and has less chance of getting dirty, and cross-contaminating food tastes.
that's where i put my money.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: RE: Recommendation for a dehydrator on 09/21/2011 09:12:53 MDT Print View

Scott... that's the FD75. It has been a really great little dehydrator and survived my abuse. When writing the first book it got 10 times more use than the average person would give it (I test every recipe I create at least 3 times - and it dried a load of food). Beyond backpacking, I use it to make organic fruit treats, fruit roll-ups, carrot-muffin tasting rollups and yogurt rollups for my son's school lunches. I've also used the FD 75 to incubate homemade yogurt and kefir. Totally over-used the thing.

The one other benefit of Excalibur is that you can adjust the height/space between the trays which means you can dry things like whole peppers easily.

Jessica Rankin
(JessiD87)
+1 Nesco FD75 on 09/22/2011 09:07:36 MDT Print View

I received one for Christmas a couple of years ago; it works like a charm. We've dehydrated soups, fruits, made jerky and I just recently made a few batches of fruit rollups using the leather trays. Just make sure that you spray those leather trays before you use them, raspberry/blueberry leathers are a pain to remove if you don't.

Jess

Edited by JessiD87 on 09/22/2011 09:08:26 MDT.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
sticky trays on 09/23/2011 09:21:11 MDT Print View

Jess....

You don't need to spray the trays. Here's a little tip. Just pop them in the freezer for 10 to 30 minutes. The tray and leather expand and contract at different rates and the leather will just pop off. Rick Carey at Nesco gave me the tip a few years back and I was skeptical but it worked like a charm!

Laurie

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: +1 Nesco FD75 on 09/23/2011 12:11:11 MDT Print View

Parchment paper pops leathers off immediately with no fuss, no mess and no wrecking fingernails to get it off.......and you'll never stain a tray again.

Kristin Fiebelkorn
(kushbaby) - MLife

Locale: South Texas
Thank you! on 09/23/2011 15:05:02 MDT Print View

Thank you so much for all the suggestions. I have some shopping to do! :D

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Check Amazon for prices. on 09/23/2011 15:11:56 MDT Print View

+1 on Nessco fd75
If you keep checking Amazon prices sometimes you can get great prices on these. When I bought mine the price seemed to go up and down frequently.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Check Amazon for prices. on 09/23/2011 15:30:55 MDT Print View

On Amazon you can do the price watching via camelcamelcamel.com - and then know when it is hitting the price you want!

Kristin Fiebelkorn
(kushbaby) - MLife

Locale: South Texas
Re: Re: Check Amazon for prices. on 09/23/2011 15:42:30 MDT Print View

Never heard of that - will have to try it! Thanks! (All for a good price!)

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Re: Check Amazon for prices. on 09/23/2011 18:19:41 MDT Print View

I think it is a plugin on Firefox that you can set up (and maybe Chrome??). Anyhow, I love it! I set up "watchs" on items I want. I am currently waiting for an item to come down in price - it gives you graphs of the highs and lows for each product. This item I want (and am in no rush for) drops 2-3 times a year by $50!!

R Y
(rhyang) - F
Nesco FD-75 on 09/29/2011 23:11:24 MDT Print View

A timely thread for me .. been thinking about a dehydrator, but mainly I just want to make 'instant' pasta sauce: nothing really elaborate, just want the stuff I buy in a jar at the supermarket, in dried form. Do I need an expensive unit to do this or will the model above suffice ?

Sorry, I don't mean to hijack the OP's thread.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Nesco FD-75 on 09/29/2011 23:51:32 MDT Print View

Most sauces like that will dehydrate well in any unit. Just make sure that the dehydrator tray has a non-stick sheet in it. Most of them have at least one sheet.

In fact, most foods like that with a high water content will dehydrate nicely.

Sometimes I dehydrate plain tomato sauce, and I get a thin sheet of red leather out of it. I crop that up into small pieces, then load them into a plastic bag to take on the next trip. Something like that might grow mold over a long period of time, so I do long-term storage inside the refrigerator.

--B.G.--

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Nesco FD-75 on 09/30/2011 08:38:53 MDT Print View

You don't "need" a pricey dehydrator - basically the money just buys more bells, whistles and looks (just like a car!). A basic Nesco with a fan and adjustable temp setting will get you by just nicely!
Take the savings and buy a roll o' parchment paper (any grocery store, next to the saran wrap). It will help you release those dried sauces quickly and without any staining.

PS: on jarred sauces - avoid those high in fat and those with corn syrup of any form. Corn syrup, especially HFCS, are poor driers.......and usually are lesser quality sauces as well.

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
Re: Re: Nesco FD-75 on 09/30/2011 09:12:46 MDT Print View

"" A basic Nesco with a fan and adjustable temp setting will get you by just nicely!""

Definitely. Watch for sales and/or coupons while you're shopping around. With a coupon from Bed, Bath & Beyond, I think I paid about $30 for a decent Nesco.