Apr 17, 2010 at 11:00 am #1257827
I would like to start creating some meals and dehydrating food. Can you recommend some food dehydrators to look at. What should I look for in a unit?Apr 17, 2010 at 11:30 am #1598945
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Food dehydrators are often round, but there are a few rectangular ones also. Nesco is one of the more common manuafacturers and there are a number of models. Nearly all have four or more plastic food trays that can be stacked. Most have a fan in the top to circulate air, and there is a heater to keep the air hot. Some have thermostatic control, so you can set the temperature that you want. Since the food trays are optimized for small pieces of damp food, you need some non-stick sheets in case you want to dehydrate a sauce. Most of these have a power consumption of 500 watts to 1000 watts. The big ones tend to take up more space in the kitchen, and the small ones are more economical. One trick to proper use is to slice the food very uniformly.
–B.G.–Apr 18, 2010 at 4:11 am #1599131
I'm a very picky user and my dehydrator, with writing wilderness cookbooks, probably runs ten times more than the average person would. I've had very good and consistent results with Nesco Models between 500 and 800 watts.
When you buy a dehydrator make sure it is over 500 watts, has a fan and a thermostat control. Those are the most important elements. Also ensure that you have a side or top fan as it will make the unit less of a hassle to clean.Apr 18, 2010 at 8:49 am #1599156
Karl GottshalkBPL Member
@kgottshalkLocale: Colorado, USA
I got my dehydrator (I think it is a Nesco/American Harvest Snackmaker) at Wal-Mart. It was around $50. 4 trays. At least one insert for sauces, leathers, etc. No complaints, it has done everything I've wanted to do.
KarlApr 18, 2010 at 10:21 am #1599169
Nesco 75pr. $50 shipped from Amazon is a pretty good deal, IMO.Apr 19, 2010 at 1:04 pm #1599584
That's the one I use John. My review of it is here…
I noticed someone posted a negative review saying theirs died which I suspect was probably just a fuse or something simple. At the time I bought mine I got in a bulk order of about 50 of these and I haven't heard one complaint from any of the people I resold them to.Apr 19, 2010 at 1:44 pm #1599601
Benjamin MorysonBPL Member
I've got a very simple one from Bomann, but it qorks well.
here is a link.Apr 19, 2010 at 5:20 pm #1599696
Thanks for all the suggestions and advice. I think I'm going to give a shot to the one John mentioned. Looks reasonably priced. Do I need a special tray for sauces?Apr 19, 2010 at 5:59 pm #1599714
Greg MihalikBPL Member
You can buy non-stick sheets that lie on top of your trays.
Or you can use parchment paper.
The choice depends on your usage.Apr 20, 2010 at 5:02 am #1599934
the non-stick trays are worth every penny… while parchment works well I like the little lip on the trays for runnier things.Apr 20, 2010 at 5:58 am #1599947
@jeff-kLocale: New York
Do you have a link to which non-stick trays you are referring to?
Are they called the "clean a screen" trays?
Thanks. I am new to this and want to make sure I order the right ones.Apr 20, 2010 at 6:08 am #1599948
@nicklagosLocale: South Australia
Our 6 years of dehydrator experience is in Australia and so the models may be different to those you have access to in the U.S. but some of our revelations may be of help
We use our dehydrator for day to day things as well as trail meals so its gets a lot of use. as a result we had two break down (Brand – Fowlers) and have ended up with a great unit called an Excalibur that is the 600 watt 9 tray model that is made in the U.S.
its a very well made unit and definitely +1 to the silicone sheets – how else would you dehydrate all the yummy juices and wine in your bolognaise sauce or the stock you put in a soup
Individual trays mean you can be dehydrating different things at the same time and you can slip out a tray and leave the rest going or slop them in as you make things or cut them up
temperature controls allow you to can control the temperature for dehydrating different foods – fruit, vegetables, meat or for stuff like making yoghurt
and also it has a timer – also very useful when you leave it running for ages and might forget to turn it off – helps produce my favorite 3/4 dried bananas – also you dont over frazzle things
hope this helps and have fun enjoying the fruits of your dehydrating
nickApr 20, 2010 at 6:43 am #1599958
The clean-a-screen trays are the ones that you use with small veggies like corn and peas so they don't fall through the slits… the trays I am talking about are called fruit roll trays and they are perfect for spaghetti sauce, soups and stews.
Check http://www.nesco.com for more info.Apr 20, 2010 at 7:14 am #1599969
@jeff-kLocale: New York
I just bought the dehydrator with the trays you recommended as well as your book!Apr 20, 2010 at 8:16 am #1599988
Thanks… and if you have any questions at least you know where to find me. You'll have a lot of fun with the dehydrator. I use it for home quite a bit too. For example… I'm drying blackberries right now because they were on sale for $1 a 1/2 pint. I'll use them in sauces and muffins and pancakes until the local berries come into season.
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