got a dehydrator, now what do I do with it?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by designer, Oct 23, 2004.

  1. designer

    designer Well-Known Member

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    I found a food dehydrator at the Goodwill store for $2. No instructions. What foods can I do in it? How long do I leave it on? I've never even seen one before so I don't have a clue where to start.
     
  2. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    What brand is it? You may be able to find a manual on line.
     

  3. margo

    margo Well-Known Member

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    I found a website for dehydrating with lots of info. It is farmgal.tripod.com/dehydrate.html will take you to the dehydrating page

    I haven't explored the site any further than this page, so don't know if it has other goodies.

    ............Margo
     
  4. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Does the dehydrator have a temperature setting? Is there a fan? Or does it just have a heater coil at the bottom?

    Pony!
     
  5. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    Dehydrators are just awesome!

    You can dry just about any fruit you want, slice the fruit thin and lay it on the dryer trays in a single layer. You don't want anything touching - there needs to be room for air to circulate. You leave the fruit in until it's crisp and not sticking to the trays anymore. You have to try dehydrated cantaloup and watermelon!

    Lots of veggies dry really well. Some of my favorites are bell peppers, carrots, onions, garlic (after it's dried, pulverize it in the blender and you have your own garlic powder - better than anything you can buy), and corn. Again, thin slices in a single layer with room between each slice, dry until not sticking to the tray.

    You can dehydrate ground beef and chicken sausage (this is what I use for meat when I'm backpacking). Buy the leanest ground beef you can find, fry it until it's done without using any other kind of fat. Once it's done, rinse it under HOT water until you don't see any more grease running out - might take a couple of minutes. Lay a good layer of paper towels on the dehydrator trays, spread the beef on the paper towels and dry until the meat is the consistency of kitty litter (icky image, I know. But you want it hard and crumbly). The paper towels will absorb any extra fat you didn't get out from cooking and rinsing. Use the same directions for chicken sausage. Pork sausage doesn't work as well - it goes rancid. To use, you rehydrate the meat for a couple of hours and then just heat it up.

    You can also dehydrate spaghetti sauce real easy. Line the dryer tray with plastic wrap, then spread your sauce on the tray. Dry it until it releases from the plastic wrap easy and looks like fruit leather.

    I'm sure other folks have lots of ideas.
     
  6. designer

    designer Well-Known Member

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    I can't find any label at all. ait is round about the size of a dinner plate and maybe a foot tall. The top is vented and it has several trays. A cord comes out the bottom but I didn't see any controls or switches. But I just sat it on the table and haven't checked it out throughly.
     
  7. designer

    designer Well-Known Member

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    I can't find any label at all. It is round about the size of a dinner plate and maybe a foot tall. The top is vented and it has several trays. A cord comes out the bottom but I didn't see any controls or switches. But I just sat it on the table and haven't checked it out throughly.
     
  8. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hmm... is the bottom black, with a heating coil inside it? Sounds like the Ronco dehydrator. I had a similar one for a while (till the inlaws blessed us with an American Harvester).

    You can order a replacement instruction book at

    http://store.popeilfamilystore.com/popeilfamilystore/fode.html

    You can also find general directions for drying foods and such in any thorough book on dehydrating.

    I do encourage you to investigate! I have so much fun with our dehydrator. How else could I fit half a bushel of apples into 2 half-gallon mason jars? Or make beef jerky that tasted the way *I* want it to taste? My daughter loves to make fruit leather, and it was certainly handy to dehydrate tomatoes when my back was bothering me too much to allow me to can them. You can also dry flowers, herbs... anything.

    Pony!
     
  9. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    Try plugging the dehydrator in. If there's a heating element in the bottom and some kind of fan to circulate the warm air you can use it successfully. The ones with thermastat controls and fan speeds on them are really nice, but I used a cheap one with just the heater and fan for years without problems.
     
  10. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    yes, but there are older off brands with out a heater , and others without fans !
    supposedly convection is supposed to help with the dehydrating ...
    like everyone else said, asl ong as theres a element that heats and a fan , youre set,
    test it with apples, slice and dip in lemon juice, to prevent browning time till leathery, and time till crisp dry
    then you have a base line, most foods take at least a day to dry, so you might as well fill all the trays, i ALWAYS rotate trays on any dehydrator, american harvest ones are great too ! ronco works pretty good
    i wish i had a dehydrator , i would have made persimmon leathers , instead of freezing it all....
    wonder how paw paws would dry out .....
    hmmm... now you got me thinking again :D
    right now all im using is a solar dehydrator , and its been rainy, so i cant dry food right now ....
     
  11. designer

    designer Well-Known Member

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    Yep that's it, the Ronco. No fan, no temp control. Just a heating element. Thanks for the links I can't wait to try it out.