I am living in Mexico for the time being. I will be returning to the states next month and want to get food dehydrator. It would be wonderful here. Can anyone help me with what type to get? I am low income, but want to get a good one.
I had trouble finding a dehydrator when my 7 year old one broke. I finally found one on line at Walmart.com. They range from $25 to $45. I bought the $45 one, it is a Nesco, as was the last one and they work well. This new one works better than the old model. Walmart will ship items free to the store if you order on line and then you pick them up at the store. You can return it to the store too. It took about 2 weeks to arrive, so plan ahead. (10/22/2007)
I haven't had one in a while. The one I had did not have a fan in the bottom. I don't know much about them, but I've heard that the better ones have heat plus a fan to help move the air. (10/22/2007)
Get a dehydrator with the highest wattage you can find because it will make the fan and motor more powerful. I had one years ago and can tell you that it was a waste of $ because when properly laid out and full, the air didn't circulate properly. It also had a sorry excuse for a motor. So, do not overload your machine! Allow more space between the food than required. Also, rotate the trays. The ones closest to the motor will dry more quickly (well, this is true for low wattage motors anyway).
Try making candied grapefruit rind for a test. And lastly, do not operate on humid days because it makes a difference (I learned the hard way). (10/22/2007)
I'd just had to replace my dehydrator this year, I ordered it from
Gardenmaster Digital Pro Food Dehydrator.
And it is worth every penny, it has a fan on the top now instead of the bottom.
You do not have to move the trays around, the food can be touching.
I bought the top-of-the-line back in 70 and I finally killed it last year. I suggest you do the same.
Some of my favorites are turkey jerky (out of ground turkey, bananas (they turn out like little pieces of taffy), Granny Smith apples sprinkled with dry sugar free Jello, cherry or strawberry flavor, tomatoes sprinkled with fresh minced garlic and slivered basil to name a few.
If you live in Mexico, do you really need a food dryer? Put cookie sheets and racks on the front dash of the car as it sits in the sunlight, and it will dry everything fast! (10/22/2007)
I saw a woman on TV who does this professionally and she made one herself using a fan and a 100 W bulb. She made a wood rack. I'm sure you could find info on the net. (10/24/2007)
For those of you who use a wood stove for heat: You can dry foods using a stack of screens hung from chains on hooks in the ceiling above the woodstove, not too close.
Another idea, would be a box made of screens (to keep the bugs off) set on your roof (or wherever) in the sunshine.
I see dehydrators at thrift stores all the time and garage sales. I've even given several to second hand stores myself. (They take up too much space and many folks never use them after receiving them as gifts.)
But I like the idea of using the hot car's dashboard the best. What a great idea. (10/24/2007)
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