Food dehydrator

Discussion in 'Kitchen Appliances, Cookware, Gadgets & Cookbooks' started by epicuric, Jun 3, 2018.

  1. epicuric

    epicuric Über Member Staff Member

    Shropshire, UK
    It's been in my shopping list for a couple of years, but I've finally taken the plunge and bought a food dehydrator. According to most reviews I read, the cheap ones aren't worth buying, and the best regarded seems to be the Excalibur range. So I bought American (you're welcome, Mr Trump). It came out of its box yesterday, and I couldn't wait to try it out - in went thinly sliced apple and banana. Eighteen hours later they are still in there. Dehydrating.

    The main reason for buying it is to make more use of abundent garden crops - particularly tomatoes and soft fruit. I also fancy having a go at fish.

    Does anyone have any experiences or tips to share on dehydrating food?
  2. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member Recipe Challenge Judge

    My only experience id dehydrating in the microwave to make 'dusts'. It was very successful. I can absolutely recommend making strawberry dust which you should be able to do easily in the dehydrator. See here

    I also made celery dust, spinach dust and mushroom dust using the same microwave technique.

    Dehydrating mushrooms would be an excellent idea, I think.
  3. Snackmeister

    Snackmeister New Member

    Huntington Beach
    I have dehydrated a lot of fruits with mine! (Personal favorite is mango) One thing you can do to prevent the fruit from browning while it is dehydrating is give them a little spray with lemon juice or some other citrus juice. I think it makes them look a little better if you ever share them with friends.
    morning glory likes this.
  4. SatNavSaysStraightOn

    SatNavSaysStraightOn (Site Owner) Staff Member

    NSW, Australia
    Patience and find it an out of the way place where it can rumble on quietly by itself.
    Mine will be used in the garage. It used to be used in the studio which was a separate building.

    I too have the Excalibur one. A 5 tray one without the timer. I did have a 9 tray model with timer but found the timer pointless when I simply at it going and left it for a day. And well I can fill 5 or 9 trays easily.

    I have several recipes on here for things like raw onion bread (fantastic by the way). Fruit leathers are another I love. Sweet white miso kale crisps are amazing and then there is courgettes tossed in tamari soy sauce dehydrated. Wow.... I love my dehydrator but haven't used it much this season for health reasons ironically.

    If you haven't already done so, do invest in some of the teflex sheets, the proper ones. They are well worth it.
    There is a UK company that does them surprisingly cheaply compared to their competitors. Yell if you want me to try to find their details. It's a good few years since I last used them, but they were excellent both with those and with parts I need to fix the 9 tray version I purchased second hand where the thermostat had failed. The 5 tasty one I also purchased second-hand but tested it got warm and blew the hot air around before transporting it. I drove to Hull for that one from the Warrington area. Easy M62 journey all the way from one end to the other...
  5. Shermie

    Shermie Über Member

    Brighton, MA.
    My toaster oven is a dehydrator, but I NEVER used it as one,
  6. epicuric

    epicuric Über Member Staff Member

    Shropshire, UK
    Thanks for all the tips. Fruit leather is definitely on the list. @SatNavSaysStraightOn if you could point me in the direction of a cheap supplier of teflex sheets I would be very grateful - they are £24 for a pack of nine on amazon!
  7. MrsDangermouse

    MrsDangermouse Senior Member

    Hampshire, UK
    This has been on my list of things to buy for a while now - we want to try making biltong and fruit and vegetable crisps, but am looking for more ideas.

    I've found instructions on how to dehydrate potatoes to make healthier crisps, or just to preserve potatoes to use later (which would be very useful to get rid of the crate of potatoes we still have in the garage from last year's harvest!). I've even found instructions on making your own instant mash - not sure on this one as I really don't like the instant mash you can buy.
    epicuric likes this.
  8. oddduck

    oddduck Active Member

    My sister has one. She uses it to dehydrate bananas for her dog as he is allergic to regular dog snacks and he loves banana chips. She wishes her's had a timer tho, she bought it at walmart so not sure the brand but it was not overly expensive. Its not any louder than say an ocillating fan.
    morning glory and epicuric like this.
  9. SatNavSaysStraightOn

    SatNavSaysStraightOn (Site Owner) Staff Member

    NSW, Australia
    Tactfully suggest she just saved a lot of money by not having a timer and purchase one of those timers you plug into the wall between the socket and your equipment. You know the non digital type for putting lights on and off to pretend someone is home. It's much cheaper!
  10. epicuric

    epicuric Über Member Staff Member

    Shropshire, UK
    First attempt at making fruit leather over the weekend using a glut of early raspberries from the garden. It went surprisingly well, but took longer than I expected - around 18 hours until fully dehydrated.
  11. SatNavSaysStraightOn

    SatNavSaysStraightOn (Site Owner) Staff Member

    NSW, Australia
    That's about right. It needs to be long and slow in order not to cook the fruit whilst drying it out.

    Did you include an apple in your recipe? Otherwise raspberries only will go brittle rather than be a fruit leather. Also if you don't dry them for long enough they won't store without going mouldy.

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