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Food Dehydrators

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  Ha-v-v on 3/24/2012, 7:50 am

@camprn wrote:A solar dehydrator
http://naturewitch.blogspot.com/2008/10/solar-food-dehydrator.html

Do we have the same people on our email or facebook list? :-D Seems so how fun.
:-D

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  camprn on 3/24/2012, 7:52 am

@Ha-v-v wrote:
@camprn wrote:A solar dehydrator
http://naturewitch.blogspot.com/2008/10/solar-food-dehydrator.html

Do we have the same people on our email or facebook list? :-D Seems so how fun.
:-D
Could be! Isn't it amazing how the big wide world seems to contract at times Wink

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  shannon1 on 3/25/2012, 12:27 am

soon it will be hot enough to use my car again:D

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  mschaef on 4/9/2012, 1:21 pm

Today my husband informed me that he would like to get a dehydrator. :scratch: Not like my husband but I am so excited that I just am going to go with it and not ask questions. I have wanted one for a while now! We are looking at getting one of the excalibur dehydrator but not sure which. Any recommandations would be appricated.

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  JeanneRamick on 4/9/2012, 2:51 pm

I'm in my 70's and have used various types for many years ... sometimes only using "solar power" as we didn't have access to electricity.

My suggestion is to get a SQUARE type. Meaning the trays don't have a hole through them.

Yes, the round ones with a hole in them do dry A LITTLE BIT faster, but you can't do fruit leathers on them as easily.

On another note ... in line with the "I don't even know what I don't know thought: Please make it a habit to run your dehydrator in the garage, an out-door shed, etc.

You will never be so sorry as the day you realize that smell from the onions in your dehydrator have premeditated everything in your closet. OR ... that you can't sleep because the smell of that jerky in the dehydrator is making you hungry.

Yes, voice of experience. lol

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  Hoggar on 4/9/2012, 3:31 pm

Back when I was young and dumb I had a half owner ship in a health food store,
we would dehydrate fruit and veg a couple hundred lbs per day in multiple units like
like the one in the instructables link the only difference is we used window screen
for the shelves it worked fantastically.

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  AvaDGardner on 4/9/2012, 4:12 pm

I have made jerky in the oven. Haven't tried to dry anything else. But I did consider that I'd want a dehydrator this year, having a garden.

The freezer is only so big!

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  plantoid on 4/9/2012, 6:53 pm

It would be nice to buy half a sheep , 1/4 of a pig or 1/8 of a cow and a dozen chooks . Then sort it out ourselves as that is the cheapest way to buy the meat , but even with our massive chest freezer out in the garage there is no way we can handle that amount .

So , can you dry cubed/ 10 insh by 1.5 inch slabs of beef ( other than jerky & biltong ) , pork and chicken in the dehydrator .. if so what dishes / recipes do you use the reconstituted meat in ?

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  Judy McConnell on 8/23/2013, 8:25 am

You all have convinced me - a dehydrator is needed for all the brown turkey figs that our tree has produced this year.

Found one on CL (Presto - $5) and am trying my first attempt at drying some of the figs. 

Is it safe to leave the unit running over night??  Sure don't want the house to burn down.

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  camprn on 8/23/2013, 5:10 pm

I leave mine going until everything is dehydrated. Unless there is a short circuit in the one you have, you should be good to leave it plugged in.

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  floyd1440 on 8/24/2013, 6:22 am

I have tried many methods to preserve my herbs, mainly basil, and saw this post on dehydrators.  Does anyone use them to dry herbs?


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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  llama momma on 8/24/2013, 6:38 am

Judy, my dehydrator is very old and I'm not comfortable with leaving it on over night. 
I usually plan to start it early in the morning so it's finished that evening before I go to sleep. 

 I've also taken a tray of unfinished fruit roll ups and put it in the fridge over night, re start the dehydrator in the morning until it was finished.  I haven't heard of anyone else doing this but in this case you would never know the process was interrupted with refrigeration.

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  camprn on 8/24/2013, 8:33 am

@floyd1440 wrote:I have tried many methods to preserve my herbs, mainly basil, and saw this post on dehydrators.  Does anyone use them to dry herbs?

Yes, I do basil, oregano, marjoram and thyme in mine.

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http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  Judy McConnell on 8/24/2013, 6:06 pm

Thanks to Camprn and llama momma for your replies - left the unit on last night and the house didn't burn down - LOL

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  Triciasgarden on 8/25/2013, 12:04 am

I have the same one as Camprn, the round one.  I haven't used it in many years.  I have made beef jerky and it was wonderful!  The butcher at the store sliced the meat for me for free.  My sister came over and we made all kinds of fruit leather and it turned out great!  She also tried dehydrating watermelon.  Watermelon is very full of water and the thick enough slices she started with shrunk down to where they were teeny tiny pieces, lol.  They did taste good though.  I know that the things we dehydrated were finished  much faster than we thought they would be.  Then we realized if we opened the vent at the top, it wouldn't get as hot and the dehydration process would slow down.  I will pre-check the temperature this year so I don't kill the enzymes.

I finally dug mine out of the garage and it is sitting in the kitchen waiting to be washed.  I will definitely do onions in the garage or outside!  I sure appreciate all the suggestions with this topic and others because it gives me the encouragement to do these things.  It sure is rewarding to dehydrate my own things.  I haven't done herbs in my dehydrator but I will this year.  I have usually put them thinly on a paper towel on a plate and let nature take its course.  It has worked for me but does take up counter space.  I can imagine the wonderful smell of herbs drying in a dehydrator!

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  batmap on 8/25/2013, 12:54 am

@floyd1440 wrote:I have tried many methods to preserve my herbs, mainly basil, and saw this post on dehydrators.  Does anyone use them to dry herbs?

I do not. I use my toaster oven for herbs in small batches. If a large batch, can include the oven drying or freezer is also an option.

Please note, I do not use any heat but only room temperature during summer Texas weather. A batch 100-300 basil leaves dry in 3 to 4 days on their own, although it has been rather dry here lately.

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Advice?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 1/15/2016, 12:11 am

Anyone have input about inexpensive, yet efficient dehydrators? I have no experience with one, but it sounds do-able. Wink

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  Kelejan on 1/15/2016, 12:18 am

I have a BERRON Food Dehydrator.  Very satisfied with it but they went out of business.  Often dry my own herbs on the lowest setting.  Looking forward to growing lots more this coming season.

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  sanderson on 1/15/2016, 1:42 am

SR, I would try your local Craig's List for a used one, cheap! Someone gave me theirs, a round one, I think American Harvester, with 5 trays. It also has a fruit/jerky insert. Variable temps for flowers, herbs, fruits and veggies. If you really get into it, you can always sell it and buy a larger, more sophisticated one

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  MelF77 on 1/15/2016, 6:58 am

I started looking at dehydrators last spring. I have a coworker that has a excalibur and loves it. Since this spring is gonna cost me a bit$ cause my yard is a blank slate, I may wait until fall to get 1. I do not doubt at all though that I would use it. I hate waste, but don't want to keep putting everything in my deep freezer. 1 more year and my fig trees should start producing full amounts. Fresh figs do not last long at all. plus all the other stuff I could dehydrate.

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  plantoid on 1/15/2016, 7:25 am

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Anyone have input about inexpensive, yet efficient dehydrators?  I have no experience with one, but it sounds do-able. Wink

 My friend from South Africa makes his own biltong and dries all manner of fruit & veg  by placing a 40 watt light bulb in a batten bulb holder screwed down on to a chunk of wood   under an inverted glass pyrex dish  lid,  The lglass id is raised up from the floor on bricks .

 Over & around this he put a big home made bottomless barrel made from an 8 x 4 thin sheet of larch ply that has a 1/8 inch set of sticks under the edges to allow air flow .

To get the barrel shape he sprayed both sides of the ply with water and used three ratchet straps ,  top , mid way & one set  low down to draw the sheet in to the barrel shape , done over three or four days , re-wetting and tightening the ratchets  a bit more some three times or more a day  a day till it was completed .
He then glued and pop riveted the barrel side joint  together , putting a large flat washer on either side of the pop rivet hole to stop it tearing the wood apart as he popped then rivets.

 He then used a 3/4 hole cutter to set four 3/4 dia dowels  in the barrel sides so he can lay a simple stainless steel drying rack ( each of i these racks only just fits  in his dish washer ) across two of the dowels   , there are four rack levels
 
Once done he made a simple ply lid , put in several holes in it with the hole saw cutter for the hot moist air to escape , using cut down champagne style corks to plug up the holes as needed  to vary the out flow of warm moist air.
 
When it's set up , any liquid drips are soaked up by the concrete floor or they drip onto the Pyrex lid instead of dripping onto the light bulb thus causing premature failure of the bulb.


Karl said on more than one occasion ...if the  session is interrupted for too long and there is still too much moisture in the food  don't try to fridge it and reheat it at a later time as the bacteria  still in the in the meat will have started to reactivate and could cause toxic poisoning when it gets re dried out .

 The idea is to get a long slow continuous drying session for best results .
He's has made some great stuff in it , especially his biltong & apple rings for us guys to eat on our sea fishing trips with him when we're  out on a charter boat in bad weather .

 One tip he did give that has helped me to make jerky in our electric fan oven at 50 o C over night ( 21.00 hrs .  to 0730 hrs. )   with a kebab stick nipped up  by the doors top edge to keep it ajar to allow fresh air in and moisture out ...... is to pop the uncut meat in the freezer for two to thee hours so it forms ice crystals & part solidifies   ..it makes it so much easier to cut than  room temp fresh meat .
 I  cut our iced meat it into these easy to cut  1/4"  thick  uniform strips/slices with a boning or carving knife , let the slices de frost fully for a few minutes laid out on a big plate ice ,  then  dry them off individually  with kitchen towel before giving them a 24 hr  marinade session  .

I then use cocktail sticks to hang the marinaded strip across  the bars of the oven rack (set to the highest height )  with some aluminium foil laid over th big meat dish in the  bottom of the oven to catch the drips , as these are a nightmare to remove from the oven floor when you have finished  making your jerky .

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  plantoid on 1/15/2016, 7:41 am

@MelF77 wrote:I started looking at dehydrators last spring. I have a coworker that has a excalibur and loves it. Since this spring is gonna cost me a bit$ cause my yard is a blank slate, I may wait until fall to get 1. I do not doubt at all though that I would use it. I hate waste, but don't want to keep putting everything in my deep freezer. 1 more year and my fig trees should start producing full amounts. Fresh figs do not last long at all. plus all the other stuff I could dehydrate.
 
 As the flies that gives forth a type of thread worm just love ripe figs on the tree to lay their eggs in.

 You might have to spray the dried figs with liquid paraffin or similar  to kill any thread worm eggs off , for on reading yourn post  I've just  recalled that my pal  Tarrqui had said "( whilst  we were scoffing some fresh just of the tree figs we'd picked )  that they are a major  source of thread worms when fresh & that simple dehydrating  them does not kill the eggs off .
 
Perhaps checkout  a pack of dried figs to see what they use on their figs .


Last edited by plantoid on 1/15/2016, 7:46 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  MelF77 on 1/15/2016, 7:45 am

@plantoid wrote:
@MelF77 wrote:I started looking at dehydrators last spring. I have a coworker that has a excalibur and loves it. Since this spring is gonna cost me a bit$ cause my yard is a blank slate, I may wait until fall to get 1. I do not doubt at all though that I would use it. I hate waste, but don't want to keep putting everything in my deep freezer. 1 more year and my fig trees should start producing full amounts. Fresh figs do not last long at all. plus all the other stuff I could dehydrate.
 
 As the fly that gives forth a type of thread worms just loves ripe figs onth tre to lay thir eggs .

 You might have to spray the dried figs with liquid paraffin or similar  to kill any thread worm eggs off , as I've just  recalled that my Tarrqui had said whilst  we were scoffing fresh just of the tree figs that they are a good source of thread worms when fresh & that dehydrating  them does not kill the eggs off .
 
perhaps checkout  a pack of dried figs to see what they use on their carrot figs .
thanks for the tip. I will have to look into that. I'm sure what we get this summer, because the trees are still small, we can handle eating fresh. I could eat handfuls of fresh figs at a time. Following year, we may not be able to keep up and I don't want the figs to go to waste. I could just make a fig jam though I guess?
Sorry for going off topic.

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  Scorpio Rising on 1/15/2016, 7:49 am

Yes, I think I will put something up at work, I bet someone has a dehydrator they aren't using! Cheap. Thanks, all!

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Re: Food Dehydrators

Post  AtlantaMarie on 1/15/2016, 9:32 am

We've got one of the big Cabela's commercial types (read: pricey!). LOVE it.

I've seen that our local Walmart is carrying the Excaliber now. Either that or American Harvest is what I would buy if looking for a small one.

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Re: Food Dehydrators

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