Author Topic: Dehydrators: Brands & Features  (Read 20233 times)

Offline healthyinOhio

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Dehydrators: Brands & Features
« on: June 15, 2006, 08:06:19 AM »
Does anyone have a really good brand for  a dehydrator?  I borrowed my MIL's from an infomercial.  This thing was horrible!!  Everything was so chewy and tasted like a fruit roll-up.  Are all dehydrators like this?  I want banana chips to taste like a crisp chip.  Not something that will stick to my teeth like a jujubee!!  Any suggestions?

Offline Chickory Chick

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2006, 09:16:38 AM »
I have an "infomercial" one, but have been eyeing the Excalibur dehydrator when I replace the one I have, based on the reviews I have heard.  It is pricey, but I have heard a lot of good review.  It has rectangular trays and you can get a 4 tray model or as a big as a 9 tray model depending on your needs.  You are also able to control the temperature!

Hope this helps.
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Nickole

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2006, 08:47:49 AM »
I just bought a Ronco off ebay last night - on the one hand they seem really good, on the other hand there are LOTS of people on ebay selling them.  Hmmm....well, I got it because you can make yogurt in it too.  My other dehydtrator, not sure the brand, died finally.  I called to get a part but no parts, just told me "well, unfortunately things don't last forever."  Funny.   

I like the bananas chewy, not crunchy.   ;D  If you want them crunchy, just slice thinner and perhaps leave them in longer. 

Offline floydian

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2006, 10:13:42 AM »
Try this site:
www.urbanhomemaker.com

They test their products and recommend.  I have never bought a dehydrator but have bought other products of theirs or that they recommended and been very satisfied.

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Offline ShabbyChic

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2006, 10:45:00 AM »
We've been using our RonCo for years and LOVE it.  Very easy to use and clean and store.  There are also good recipes for making yogurt (which I haven't done) and fruit leather (which I have done) using it.  Makes the house smell great, too!  I think the reason there are so many on EBay is because of the volume of how many have been sold through TV, not because of any flaw.
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Offline HeyMom

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2007, 09:41:17 AM »
reviving this ....

am looking at the Excalibur or the Gardenmaster............anyone have these and what do you like/dislike?

TIA -  ;D
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Offline mexmarr

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2007, 10:07:48 AM »
reviving this ....

am looking at the Excalibur or the Gardenmaster............anyone have these and what do you like/dislike?

TIA -  ;D

I love the Excalibur!!! It is worth every cent it cost!  It is a great dehydrator.  One BIG plus is that you get to set the temperature, and if you want, you can make it low enough that you don't kill the enzymes and your food is considered raw.  Most dehydrators only have higher temps.

I have a nine tray one.  I also use it to incubate yogurt.  I just pull out the trays and then sit my jugs in there.  I usually do 1-2 gallons at a time, but it can hold four.

From all I have heard and read, the Excalibur is the best.

I have not used the Garden Master.

Offline HeyMom

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2007, 04:39:07 PM »
thank you - that really helps   ;D
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Offline Leah IL

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2007, 10:37:55 AM »
Can someone tell me why you need an expensive one?  Do the inexpensive ones not work the same, or are they just smaller?  I saw one on Craigslist for like 5 bucks and thought maybe I would grab it but don't want to bother if it's not a good choice.  I think the brand was Home Trends and it was round, like a big birthday cake.
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Offline mexmarr

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2007, 10:44:31 AM »
I love the Excalibur!!! It is worth every cent it cost!  It is a great dehydrator.  One BIG plus is that you get to set the temperature, and if you want, you can make it low enough that you don't kill the enzymes and your food is considered raw.  Most dehydrators only have higher temps.

This is a big reason why.

But... much better to have a cheap one, than not have one at all.

Offline herbalmom

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2007, 06:09:06 PM »
I want banana chips to taste like a crisp chip.  Not something that will stick to my teeth like a jujubee!!  Any suggestions?

"Dried" banana from the store has actually been deep fried- that's why the ingredient list includes oil. You will not be able to match that with any dehydrator.

Can someone tell me why you need an expensive one?  Do the inexpensive ones not work the same, or are they just smaller?  I saw one on Craigslist for like 5 bucks and thought maybe I would grab it but don't want to bother if it's not a good choice.  I think the brand was Home Trends and it was round, like a big birthday cake.

Many of the cheap dehydrators don't have any kind of fan so they take much longer to dry the food. Drying food isn't just about warmth, air flow makes a difference also. The moisture in the food evaporates into the air surrounding it. Since air can only hold a certain amount of water if the air isn't moving it will quickly reach it's saturation point. Once it reaches it's saturation point, water will stop moving out of the food until drier air again comes into contact with the food. If the heating element is at the bottom heat rising will provide some air movement but a fan will provide much more. Also since the air is rising slowly & absorbing moisture as it goes by the time it gets to the top tray the air may be too moist to absorb any moisture from the food on the top tray(s).

The reason the Excalibur is so highly recommended by so many people is because it has it's heating element & fan on the SIDE- that means the warm air blows ACROSS the food. This means the air is dry as it starts across each tray greatly reducing the drying time. HTH Blessings ~herbalmom 

Offline Melie

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2007, 07:56:30 PM »
I love my Excalibur.  My favorite thing to do is make fruit leather.  Just put bananas, strawberries or whatever in the food processor/blender, whirl them up and spread on the sheets.  When I make banana ones I spread peanut butter on them for a healthy snack for the kids.  They love it.  Not crispy like HIO was looking for but chewy and yummy.  Strawberry leather is good with cream cheese.

Offline mexmarr

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2007, 03:15:01 AM »
The reason the Excalibur is so highly recommended by so many people is because it has it's heating element & fan on the SIDE- that means the warm air blows ACROSS the food. This means the air is dry as it starts across each tray greatly reducing the drying time.

FYI, the new ones have the heating element in the back.  It serves the same purpose, as it still blows the air across each tray, but it makes the dyhydrater not so wide.  My MIL has the old one, and I have a new one.  There is no difference in the function, just didn't want anybody to think they were not getting as good excalibur if the heating element was not on the side.

You put it so well, Herbalmom.  Sums up the Excalibur quite well!l

Offline herbalmom

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2007, 06:56:45 AM »
The reason the Excalibur is so highly recommended by so many people is because it has it's heating element & fan on the SIDE- that means the warm air blows ACROSS the food. This means the air is dry as it starts across each tray greatly reducing the drying time.

FYI, the new ones have the heating element in the back.  It serves the same purpose, as it still blows the air across each tray, but it makes the dyhydrater not so wide.  My MIL has the old one, and I have a new one.  There is no difference in the function, just didn't want anybody to think they were not getting as good excalibur if the heating element was not on the side.

You put it so well, Herbalmom.  Sums up the Excalibur quite well!l

Thanks for the info. I did major research into dehydrators years ago & at that time the heating element in an Excalibur was on the side. In the back would work just the same & actually probably makes it easier since they can vent the outgoing air around the door. It would take much less space that way- with the old style you have to leave clearance on both sides- the one side for the air intake & the other for the air exhaust. With the heating element in the back & only having to leave space in the back it would be much easier to have a permanent spot for it so it is more convenient & gets used more often. This thread has reminded me that I really do want to get an Excalibur & with the new design it now I want it even more. Thanks, Mexmarr.

Offline sonja

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2007, 08:49:41 AM »
Well, I've read the reviews and I'm convinced that the Excalibur is the way to go.  But now I thought it would be fun to get lots of ideas from you guys as to what you actually dry.  I read an article recently about making squash "chips".  Anyone tried that?  Thanks!

Sonja

Offline LKS

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2007, 04:02:07 PM »
The American Harvest Garden Master is what we just bought. We ordered it from Cabelas. We did a lot of research and the Garden Master or the Excalibur are the way to go. So far we love our Garden Master. It has an adjustable temp and 1000 watt fan so it dries quickly and evenly. So far we have dried apples, strawberries, peaches, pineapple, and made jerky. Everything was/is awesome. Just today my son made some yogurt fruit leather--yummy! We picked the Garden Master because it is cheaper and smaller than the Excalibur. Unless you are doing major dehydrating and have big space for storing the Excalibur might be too much. Just my opinion  ;D
LKS
p.s. the Garden Master can be expanded up to 30 trays

Offline Calluna

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2007, 03:15:16 AM »
We have an Excalibur. We are still experimenting with drying different things in it, but we've tried a few things already. We made a raw cookie recipe from a Serene Allison cookbook and they turned out really well. The children loved them (as did the adults ;) ). We also dried tomatoes, planning on putting them on salads, but we didn't cut them small enough and it isn't easy to cut them after they're dried. The children ended up having them for snacks, which they enjoyed. We have also used the Excalibur to dry soaked nuts. We're thinking about trying to make jerky some time as that's a popular treat around here.

Offline pecharka5

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Re: Dehydrators: Brands & Features
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2008, 02:55:37 PM »
how long is an excaliber, does it take to make fruit lether?  And what, you just puree' fruit of chioce and pour it on the trays (lined) dry and that is it?  Is it that easy?  Thanks.  Plus anyone dry sprouted wheat?  How long does that take to dry in an excaliber?  Thaks <><

Offline petrimama

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2008, 04:47:12 AM »
We also dried tomatoes, planning on putting them on salads, but we didn't cut them small enough and it isn't easy to cut them after they're dried.

I've had better success with my sharp scissors (from my knife set) than with knives.  ~L

Offline healthybratt

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Re: Dehydrators
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2008, 03:19:54 PM »
We also dried tomatoes, planning on putting them on salads, but we didn't cut them small enough and it isn't easy to cut them after they're dried.

I've had better success with my sharp scissors (from my knife set) than with knives.  ~L
They are so tough, how can you even chew them?  I chop them (with much sweat & tears) to put in a bread that my husband likes but they are very small when I'm done and the bread makes them soft again.
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Offline petrimama

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Re: Dehydrators: Brands & Features
« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2008, 05:57:04 AM »
Yup, they do get tough!  I've never eaten them plain, though.  I usually also snip them into tiny bits and then cook them in a recipe to soften them.  I just think that the sharp cooking scissors are much easier than sawing away at  them with knives.  Then again, I'm spoiled by a husband who bought me a beautiful Calphalon scissor that cuts everything like paper.   ;)   ~L

Offline likemanywaters

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Re: Dehydrators: Brands & Features
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2008, 08:47:40 AM »
I love my stainless steel Sausage Maker. http://www.sausagemaker.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=208  It takes up more room than an excalibur, but I wanted one without plastic trays. It also blows across the food from the back. You can use it to raise bread, make yogurt, & keep things warm in general. I have not used it for dehydrating as much yet, but hope to soon.
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Offline ktalbott

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Re: Dehydrators: Brands & Features
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2008, 03:39:01 AM »
American Harvest Garden Master is what we have.  You can't beat $15 at a garage sale! (And it's what I grew up using and am used to.)

I found a great way to make extra screen trays.  I bought window screening (for a couple $$)and cut it to fit in my trays.  Makes removal and clean up SO much easier.  Buying name brand screens is expensive! 

Does anyone have an inexpensive solution for fruit leather sheets?  I tried using plastic wrap and it was a mess.

Offline mdessy

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Re: Dehydrators: Brands & Features
« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2008, 06:56:59 AM »
I have an American Harvest as well, found through Freecycle.  Last year was the first year I had it and I used it mostly to dry herbs and tomatoes, it worked very well.  This year I am hoping to dry other veggies as well to use in the middle of winter, especially since we belong to a CSA.


Offline likemanywaters

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Re: Dehydrators: Brands & Features
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2008, 07:48:01 AM »
For fruit leather sheets, you can use parchment paper.
And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.

-Ezekiel 43:2

Offline LKS

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Re: Dehydrators: Brands & Features
« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2008, 11:34:33 AM »
OOOOOooo! Good idea!

Offline pljammie

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Re: Dehydrators: Brands & Features
« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2008, 03:04:46 PM »
Has anyone tried the Cabela's Commercial Food Dehydrators?  One has 12 trays and one has 24. 

I wonder how low the Temp will go....95 like the others?

Does it have a fan for forced air?

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Offline pljammie

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Re: Dehydrators: Brands & Features
« Reply #27 on: May 14, 2008, 03:28:12 PM »
bump
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Offline Isaacsmama

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Re: Dehydrators: Brands & Features
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2008, 05:37:44 AM »
considering the excaliber.... any opinions on the tray material.  It is plastic isnt it?  It isnt toxic is it?   

Also, what are your opinions on round versus square.

Offline petrimama

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Re: Dehydrators: Brands & Features
« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2008, 03:37:34 PM »
I don't know about the trays, but I would assume drying sheets would help prevent leaching.  Also, square is supposed to allow for more room for food than round (So I've heard) and more even drying since the fan is in the back, not on top.
  I have been looking at an Excalibur for a long time since they were supposed to be the best.  Then I noticed that the Amazon reviews were getting worse.  It seems they changed some aspects of the manufacturing over time and now the machine is not as good, but still as expensive.  Has anyone else heard this?
Does anyone have an opinion on the L'Equip Dehydrator?  ~L