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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking into getting started dehydrating and was wondering what are some good dehydrator brands. I'll probably be looking on ebay at first, so I won't be finding an Excaliber, but what are some other brands that do a good job? What features should I look for?

TIA!
 

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Do you mean you are looking on EBay and don't expect to find an excaliber or you aren't interested in one? I found my excaliber on EBay--a recommendation from Penascodragonfly. It's really a great dehydrator.
Good Luck!

Jan
 

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You will find the Excalibur on eBay! Do some research. You should ask around on your local Freecycle groups AND check craigslist. I bought my used 9-tray Excalibur on craigslist for $125 plus a bunch of sheets for drying fruit leather.
 

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I've taught classes on the subject, and the first thing we do is a reality check. That might help you decide how much money to invest in your dehydrator.

-Just how serious are you about dehydrating? Will it be a hobby or a major food preservation method, or something inbetween?

-Do you have a large garden, a number of fruit trees, berries, providing lots of produce?

-How many people are you providing dehydrated food for?

-Will you actually USE the produce you dehydrate? Do you know how to use the foods you dehydrate? Will your family accept a new type of food?

-Can you realistically use as much food as you plan to make just because you have a large capacity dehydrator? Wasted food is the most expensive we pay for.

-You also need to plan on how long foods can be stored. Dehydrated foods don't have an indefinite storage time, that's a common myth - the nutrients degrade quickly. Recommended storage times for dried foods range from 4 months to one year.

-Dehydrated foods keep best, and for a longer period of time, if it's stored in an oxygen-free environment - vacuum-sealed (I vacuum seal mine in canning jars using the jar attachment on a FoodSaver), and stored in a cool, dry, dark area. If you have to store dehydrated foods without vacuum-sealing in a hot environment, it will last about half as long. Most dried fruits can be stored for one year at 60°F, six months at 80°F. Vegetables have about half the shelf-life of fruits.

-I keep many dehydrated foods in the freezer for longer storage time. There is a special method called dehydrofreezing that is a combination of partial dehydration and the food must be frozen to avoid bacteria growth. The benefits using this method:

-Food takes up less space in the freezer.
-Dehydrofrozen fruits and vegetables have good flavor and color.
-They reconstitute in about 1/2 the time it takes for traditionally dried foods.

I've got a Nesco American Harvest. It's a modestly-priced unit and readily available. I've added trays to it, and I can expand it to 12 trays for up to 10 sq. feet of space. It's easy to use, clean, and store. It's been a workhorse. If I ever find a bargain on an Excalibur, I'd give it a serious look because my American Harvest is getting pretty old (at least 10-years old) and is probably close to going to "electric appliance heaven."

I also have the fruit roll-up sheets for the American Harvest and use them for fruit and vegetable leathers, as well as making sweet potato powder. They are a nice addition. I also have a number of Clean-A-Screen inserts which are wonderful for sticky fruits. We also like using the Jerky Maker and make a lot of bison jerky (using ground bison) around the holidays.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the article! It was helpful.

I didn't mean to say I wouldn't find an Excaliber on Ebay, but there wasn't one on there when I looked. I know it's considered the best, and I'd probably buy something smaller and cheaper to see if I want to continue with dehydrating enough to justify the expense and the bigger machine.

I saw lots of Ronco's, Nesco's and other brands I'd never heard of and I know there's been some discussion about temperature controls, rotating trays, etc, and wanted to know if there was a brand that anyone particularly loved.
 

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I just bought a refurbished Excalibur off ebay last week . . . dh and I have already checked out a couple of dehydrating books in anticipation. :vibes:
 

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Thanks for the article! It was helpful.

I didn't mean to say I wouldn't find an Excaliber on Ebay, but there wasn't one on there when I looked. I know it's considered the best, and I'd probably buy something smaller and cheaper to see if I want to continue with dehydrating enough to justify the expense and the bigger machine.

I saw lots of Ronco's, Nesco's and other brands I'd never heard of and I know there's been some discussion about temperature controls, rotating trays, etc, and wanted to know if there was a brand that anyone particularly loved.
There is an american harvest dehydrator on walmarts website for a reasonable amount. It is square, holds 4 trays and you can add 4 more. It is not in a store near me but you can have it shipped to your nearest walmart for free and then pick it up. The ratings I have seen were good. Just some more info for you. I think it was $57.
 

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I bought mine last week at bed bath and beyond. It was $59.00 Nesco brand i have used and it works great.
 

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Thanks for the article! It was helpful.

I didn't mean to say I wouldn't find an Excaliber on Ebay, but there wasn't one on there when I looked. I know it's considered the best, and I'd probably buy something smaller and cheaper to see if I want to continue with dehydrating enough to justify the expense and the bigger machine.

I saw lots of Ronco's, Nesco's and other brands I'd never heard of and I know there's been some discussion about temperature controls, rotating trays, etc, and wanted to know if there was a brand that anyone particularly loved.

The seller on ebay that I bought my excalibur from is:
coolshinystuff

They are very nice and helpful (and they gave free shipping)
 

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Thanks for the article! It was helpful.

I didn't mean to say I wouldn't find an Excaliber on Ebay, but there wasn't one on there when I looked. I know it's considered the best, and I'd probably buy something smaller and cheaper to see if I want to continue with dehydrating enough to justify the expense and the bigger machine.

I saw lots of Ronco's, Nesco's and other brands I'd never heard of and I know there's been some discussion about temperature controls, rotating trays, etc, and wanted to know if there was a brand that anyone particularly loved.

I have owned 2 nescos and one Excalibur

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my excal but grainlady is absolutely right on the money honey (pardon the pun)....decide how much you REALLY plan to use it.

I've already paid for mine in veggies and bananas that would have been thrown out so I consider it a money saver.
One nesco finally croaked (after 15 years of use--RIP)
The other nesco I gave to my new son in law....(he loves it)

the excalibur will take up some space on your cabinet so i would recommend you finding a permenant home for it. nesco's are more portable.
 
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