Dehydrators

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by CVORNurse, Aug 17, 2009.

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  1. CVORNurse

    CVORNurse Well-Known Member

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    I would like to get input from those of you that have dehydrators. What kind do you have, and would you buy it again? I have never dehydrated, but SIL says she used to dehydrate bell peppers all the time. I would like to try not only bells, but onion bought on sale, and some of my garden produce to make it easier to store and keep. I figure if I put it in a canning jar and use my vacuum sealer to seal it, it will keep for a good while.

    So any and all input appreciated.
     
  2. doc66

    doc66 Well-Known Member

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    While I do not have a dehydrator, I have read up on them in preparation for one and from what I read, the pain and trouble that it takes to dehydrate onions, it's worth buying them already finished.

    Just a note on the whole "sometimes it's easier to buy it" thought.
     

  3. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    like a lot of things that aren't as convenient in the modern age, sometimes people dehydrate/preserve just to know where their food is coming from... sometimes

    I use many methods in my prep & try to learn about others as well 'just in case'

    :beercheer: to all of you
     
  4. doc66

    doc66 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you Blob, but it was an "eye opener" (and an amusingly written tale) so to speak on reading about the couple who spent almost an entire day cutting chopping dicing 100 pounds of onion for very little return other than infected eyes, smelly hands and clear sinuses. They were "hardcore" preppers, and even they said they would never, ever, try to dehydrate onions again.
     
  5. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

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    We have an Open Country. It's a round, 5 tray, thermostatically controlled, 500w dehydrator. Last summer we were blessed with more fresh fruit than we knew what to do with. "Bob" just kept bringing it faster than I could can it. It was his way of saying thank you for supplying him with wood chips that he used for mulch around his berry bushes and fruit trees.
    We decided to try dehydrating since you can load it, turn it on, and walk away. I would load it before bed or before going to work and when you come back - it's done. For peaches and pears, sliced about 1/8 inch thick, it took 8-9 hrs at 120 degrees. Apples 7-8 hrs. I looked up our electric rate and figured out that it cost $0.47 to dry each batch. That's a 1qt baggie stuffed full of dried fruit. ( About 4oz.) We liked this machine enough to buy a second one just before apple harvest. We also dried cukes, peppers, and some tomato.
    A lot of people I've talked to about them swear by the "Excalibur", the Cadillac of dehydrators, but at over $300, it would have taken a long time to recover that kind of investment. The Open Country was $90 at Bass Pro Shop. It comes with 2 plastic tray's for making leather( fruit roll-ups). One thing I learned when making leathers - they can stick to the tray's, so spray them before you pour the puree in. One more thing. Don't use the time and temp settings that come with the machine. We turned some beautiful blackberries into little charcoal briquettes following their directions. There are several good books that teach you to dry most anything. Hope this helps.

    BTW. I have to agree with doc. I wouldn't do onions. We just dig one up when we need it.
     
  6. CVORNurse

    CVORNurse Well-Known Member

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    Ok :eek: will just order a can or a case from honeyville farms. Think it took me 6 months to use up the one from my veggie sampler. Appreciate the input on dehydrators.
     
  7. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    I gotta say, I am a BIG fan of dehydrating the various slurries from my juicer to see if it could be viable, easiest fruit rollups I ever made ;)
     
  8. DenimBlue

    DenimBlue Member

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    I use the 5 tray Excalibur

    Amazon.com: Excalibur 2500 5-tray Food Dehydrator, Jerky Maker - Black: Kitchen & Dining

    and have been happy with it for 6 years now. Its busy drying some of the bumper crop of zucchini I got this year, this fall it will be making jerky for my kids.

    It is a useful thing to own and experiment with.

    I have to admit though, I bought bulk dehydrated veggies from HarmonyHouseFoods. Home dehydrating enough for my family would be an extremely time consuming task. I use the dehydrator for snacks and the occasional surplus.
     
  9. sailaway

    sailaway Well-Known Member

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    I bought an inexpensive dehydrator at KMart that I play with. I mostly make Beef Jerky. My wife usually gives part of it to the Dogs for treats before I can eat it all. Mine is round with 5 trays and has been good for learning on. Apples are good on it, you have to first soak them in lemmon juice to keep them from turning brown.
     
  10. Genevieve

    Genevieve I'm done - gone

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    I have a Nesco. I dehydrate tomatoes, peppers, lemon slices and rind,orange slices and rind, mushrooms,sliced potatoes,cabbage,carrots,strawberries,blueberries, spaghetti sauce and I plan on doing some apple slices here directly.
    I store all my dehydrated foods in mason jars with used lids ( from canning). I vacuum seal them with my foodsaver canisters. You can put the jar and lid in the canister and then use the hose attachment to vacuum seal the jar inside.
    I found a no-name dehydrator at a SPCA thrift store and bought it. I plan on using it outside in the carport for onions. IMO, those folks who decided to do 100lbs at one time was looking for trouble.
    I like my Nesco. I can't afford an Excalbur. Way too expensive for me. Seems to me that my effort isn't that much trouble. I'm always amazed at the prices of the dehydrated and freeze dried foods! Good grief! Thats not to say that I don't buy a can when I can afford it, I do. But gee whiz.
     
  11. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

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    We just picked up another one at an auction for $1. We also got a mixed lot of 60 quart and pint canning jars with rings and a pack of new lids. $1. I couldn't believe nobody bid on these things. :confused:
     
  12. sailaway

    sailaway Well-Known Member

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    I've got to start looking for those at sales around here.
     
  13. Genevieve

    Genevieve I'm done - gone

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    We have them around here all the time but, I'm a little aprehensive about going lol. I just have to screw up my courage and go to one just to see what they're like! ;)
     
  14. SurvivalNut

    SurvivalNut Retired Army

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    Auctions

    Auctions are fun. Sit through one or two to get the hang of the yelling, pointing and hand signs. Always have a max price and never - ever violate it. Leave emotions aside. Stories about the item are just stories. Some auctioneers flirt, kid, or plead. Don't buy it.

    I like to charge hard to a 70% price and then fold. Just when it is ready to close I will blow up to my 100% price, then quit. If you wander all the way up the price gets higher. If you allow that pause, you give the other party a chance think they have it in the bag, worry what they've done, second guess, regret, need time ask spousal permission or to chicken out.

    Get the auctioneer to count all or out and wind it up again to jerk the timeline.

    Never look back on a lost bid.

    Just my observations. Perhaps some pros here have some more scientific systems. I'd love to learn!
     
  15. Genevieve

    Genevieve I'm done - gone

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    LOL I have no idea what some of that lingo even means! But, thanks anyways LOL