Food Dehydrator

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by thomas49, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. thomas49

    thomas49 Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    I'm thinking about buying a Exacalibur dehydrator. Has anyone had any experence with this brand or is there something better on the market.Thanks
     
  2. affenpinschermom

    affenpinschermom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    289
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    I have an Excalibur and love it. I have the 9 tray size and did get teflon liners for them. I use it to make jerky, dry apples, make fruit leather and it works wonderful for making yogurt. I love the fact I can make a large quantity of yogurt at one time. Well worth the money.
     

  3. jersey girl

    jersey girl Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    823
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    I also have the nine tray model. I only have one sheet though, I will get more at some time. I do want to try the yoghurt though. Could you give me some info on making it?
     
  4. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    700
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    SouthEastern Illinois
    "Instead of giving kids candy, give them apple snacks or banana chips. And it's great if you're a hunter, fisherman, backpacker, or camper. Makes beef jerky for around $3 a pound, and you know what went in it, because you made it yourself!"

    Take advantage of this amazing offer! Save hundreds of dollars: Make your own delicious beef jerky, turkey jerky, and fish jerky! You can buy Food dehydrators for HUNDREDS of dollars, but Today only you can get the Ronco Food Dehydrator for ONLY $39.95. That is $40 dollars off the retail price!
     
  5. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,649
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Location:
    northcentral Montana
    Ours is a HarvestMaid, and we really love it. Even on the lowest setting, it's a little too hot for herbs, though.
     
  6. halfpint

    halfpint Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,585
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    Alabama
    I have the 9 tray excalibur and love it, much better than the smaller round one we used to have. The things I make the most are jerky and sweet potato chips. We use it for lots of things though. Mine came with the timer on it, I'm not sure if they make that model anymore.

    I would love to have the instructions for making yogurt also!

    Dawn
     
  7. Lawbag

    Lawbag Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    416
    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    Next month, I'm getting the 9 tray with the timer, model # 3926T. How do you make the sweet potato chips? Sounds interesting, especially since we will be planting sweet potatoes for the first time this year.
     
  8. halfpint

    halfpint Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,585
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    Alabama
    I slice the sweet potatoes with my food processor, marinate in a little Braggs liquid amino's, and then dehydrate - usually around 8 hours. They usually don't last more than a day or two around here.
    Dawn
     
  9. nogreaterjoy8

    nogreaterjoy8 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    188
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Location:
    Wyoming
    We had the ronco model for several years and were relatively happy with it........until we got the Excalibur. They are like comparing apples to oranges.......with the excalibur you do not have to rotate trays, everything dries uniformly, with the thermostat you can do herbs and such........It is well worth the money!
     
  10. JackieA

    JackieA Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2004
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK


    I have the same/9 drawer also and very happy with it...especially drying tomatoes.
    JackieA
     
  11. Beststash

    Beststash Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    132
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    Location:
    Liberal Texas (Austin)
    We also have the 9 tray model and like it. We usually dry jalapeños and tomatoes every year. Work great and seems to last a long time - I think we have had ours for 10+ years.
     
  12. dragonflyz9C

    dragonflyz9C Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    248
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Location:
    East Central MN
    I have the Gardenmaster Pro Food Dehydrator (the big round/white one) ... I am making raisins tonight. I really like this machine. The best thing I like about it is the versitility. I can do a few trays or as much as 30 trays with a big tomato harvest. It has a temperature control which allows me to make adjustments to what I am drying as well.

    My favorite thing to dry is zuccini... it makes the most delicious crunchy chip...sweet and delicious. If you dry bananas instead of cutting them in circles like you would on a bowl of cereal, split them in third length-wise. Bananas naturally will split that way. Takes just a few to get the hang of it. You can really process a lot of bananas that way and they make handy little snacks for on the go.

    If I want to prepare some food quick for camping, I will just take packages of frozen vegetables and dehydrate them... They are lightweight, taste great, cheap and quick. You can make some soups with them too.

    I am starting to smell the raisins... has anyone ever wondered why raisins and prunes have their own special name, when other dried fruit don't? And have you noticed that prunes have decided they should be called dried plums...do you think it will help the sales? Just thoughts that came up while I was washing my grapes before they become dried grapes??? Nawww, raisins....

    Did you know that (for Diabetics) dried fruit, which seems sweeter actually has a lower glycolic index number than fresh fruit. My husband is diabetic and can tolerate dried fruit much better... less sugar spiking.

    Nancy (dragonflyz9C)
     
  13. Firefly

    Firefly Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,386
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    Keene-Green-Bratt Triangle
    I was reading a description of an Excalibur and had an idea. Not to sound too dumb--I've never used a dehydrator!--but could you use an incubator?? It's the right temp, and has a fan..... :shrug:
     
  14. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,390
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Location:
    Central WV
    We're wanting to buy a dehydrator before harvesting the garden this year and from the reviews at epinions and maybe amazon, the Excalibur is the way to go, despite the higher cost.

    Folks that have only had the round plastic tray dehydrators seem happy with them except that they are a bear to clean.

    Folks that have switched from the round plastic ones to the Excalibur say it is like night and day (get the teflon things though!). They are lots easier to clean, dry more uniformly, and it's easy to take out one tray (apparently in the round plastic ones you have to kind of disassemble it all, remove the bit that's done, and put it all back together).

    The consumer reviews have us convinced, we just need to budget for it.
     
  15. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,117
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Location:
    France
    The smaller round ones (I have a stoekli) are good, but you will become a slave to them....forever rotating, and scrambling to fill it, prepare stuff to fill it, or pre-prepare stuff to fill it.

    If I could do it, again, I'd get the biggest that money could buy.
     
  16. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

    Messages:
    577
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    Highly Variable
    How about solar dehydration?
     
  17. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,390
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Location:
    Central WV
    Solar dehydration is a great idea, depending on where you live. In very humid areas, you can't dehydrate enough (or quickly enough) to prevent mold. Solar should definitely be considered!
     
  18. Bitsy-Bet

    Bitsy-Bet Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    139
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    I use my American Harvester and was given 2 Roncos and use them all all the time. A lady in my spinning group built one from instructions in a Foxfire book. It uses a lighbulb as the heat source. Don't know how she moves the air around tho.
     
  19. 3ravens

    3ravens on furlough-downsized Supporter

    Messages:
    1,516
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Location:
    WV, FINALLY! (zone 5b)
    I have 2 of the little round ones, got 'em both curbside shopping.... :dance: I want to get one with a thermostat. Will probably go with an Excaliber. But what i've got works well for the price! :p
    Word to the wise......if you dehydrate onions, do it on the porch! :help:
     
  20. MomOf4

    MomOf4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    626
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Location:
    Indiana
    I have an American Harvest that my MIL gave me...came with 2 trays, so I bought 2 more, along with the mesh plastic for each one, and 2 trays for making fruit leathers. I love it...just bought a case of bananas to dry. I'll have to try the zuchinni and sweet potatoes!

    I live in central Indiana, so I cannot do solar due to the humidity in the summer, but I found a book called "A Pantry Full of Sunshine...Energy Efficient Food Preservation Methods" by Larisa Walk. (If you are interested, you can write Seldom Scene Productions, RR3 Box 1603, Winona, MN 55987. I think it was about $10-12).

    This lady, by pure accident, figured out how to dehydrate foods in even the most humid conditions, and the instructions and some recipes are included in this book. Well worth the money - I hope to build one this summer.