Which dehydrator to buy ??
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  1. #1
    Registered User KentuckySaver's Avatar
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    Default Which dehydrator to buy ??

    I have set aside 100 bucks to buy a dehydrator (not that I really want to pay that much but want a good one ) and I was wondering what you guys and gals are using. Any you like best or wish you had bought instead of the one you have ?? I don't mind paying a few extra dollars to get one that will work best for me (cheap is not always frugal ).

    Anyway, I would love to hear from you.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

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    Registered User KentuckySaver's Avatar
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    Or even better has anyone built their own solar dehydrator ???

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    For that amount of money, I'd suggest a Nesco American Harvest, which is what I have and have used for two decades. I no longer do home-canning, but do a lot of dehydrating instead.

    American Harvest dehydrators are readily available at Wal-Mart, ACE Hardware, True Value, etc., or check out the models available at their web site: The Official Online Store for Nesco Dehydrators

    I've added more trays over the years, as well as fruit leather sheets, clean-a-screen (for sticky fruit or small items), and a jerky maker (makes jerky with ground meat - I usually use ground bison because it's EXTRA lean).

    When I teach dehydrating classes, the American Harvest seems to be the most popular choice among students. If money is not an issue, or you need a larger capacity, the Excalibur is the "dream" machine. The American Harvest is light-weight (easy to move) and doesn't take up a lot of space. Do you prefer square to round....

    Here are some general suggestions that may help you out...

    National Center for Home Food Preservation | How Do I? Dry

    Choosing a Food Dehydrator

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    Registered User KentuckySaver's Avatar
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    "For that amount of money, I'd suggest a Nesco American Harvest"

    Which model would you suggest ?? I've seen a ton of them..LOL

    Thank you for all the links, very helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KentuckySaver View Post
    Or even better has anyone built their own solar dehydrator ???
    There are some things to consider when building your own.

    -Can you regulate the temperature and air-flow properly? It's about air-flow as much as temperature. Not all foods dry properly at one temperature. It's better to increase air-flow rather than to increase temperature. Too much heat will cause the food to "cook" rather than dry.

    -Avoid using lead-coated or chrome plated and/or nickel plated screen - use stainless steel or heat-resistant FDA approved polypropylene #5. Commercial units have screens that can often be cleaned in the dishwasher - a real plus...

    -Avoid ply-wood and pressure-treated wood. The chemicals in these products will off-gas and penetrate your food.

    -There are good instructions for making your own dehydrator in the book Making & Using Dried Foods by Phyllis Hobson. Check your local library for books on dehydrating food and you will also find some how-to instructions, as well as on-line.

    -Avoid dehydrating mistakes and follow food-safe instructions:
    National Center for Home Food Preservation
    National Center for Home Food Preservation | How Do I? Dry

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    I have a Snackmaster Express. It comes with 4 trays and is expandable to 12 trays - for a total of 10-square feet of drying space. Adjustable thermostat (95°F to 155°F). 500 watts and a 2,100 rpm motor is more than adequate for the task. Even in the fall when I run it almost non-stop with apples, then making dried sweet potatoes (into sweet potato powder), and any number of fall foods.

    My dehydrator is used all the time. I dry cooked lean meat (1/4-1/2 inch cubes), herbs, fruit, veggies, cereal, crackers, coconut crisps, egg noodles.... I dehydrate frozen veggies when I find a good bargain and don't have room for it in my refrigerator freezer (I don't have a free-standing freezer).

    Instead of wasting food in the refrigerator, that discounted container of mushrooms, celery I can't get used quick enough, and all sorts of foods are dehydrated. Dehydrate instead of waste!

    I soak and dehydrate all the nuts we consume (easier to digest and more nutrients available), and that's done once or twice a month.

    Fruit and vegetable leathers - a good place to use over-ripe produce. They work for snacks, but fruit leather can also be used to make fruit sauce (add some strawberry fruit leather to dried apples for strawberry applesauce), and vegetable leather can be added to soup/stews.

    Lentil Soup
    1/2 c. lentils
    1/4 c. dried carrots
    1/4 c. dried onions
    1/4 c. dried celery
    2-inch square of tomato leather
    To make soup: Add 5 cups boiling water and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 40-minutes.

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    Registered User marlas1too's Avatar
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    i just bought another dehydrator from wal mart for 30.00 its a oster and it works good -forced air and that brings my count to 3 the others are american harvester the one from wally world is a good starter but if you can find a better one for under 100.00 go for it

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    Registered User KentuckySaver's Avatar
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    Looks like the snackmaster express it is !!!! I will be ordering one this coming week and can't wait to learn all about it. I can foods like crazy but would love to have this option as well. Thanks so much for all of your help. Now I can read all the good info on here about how other dehydrate.

    Thanks again.

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