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Talk to me about your dehydrator-and why I need one!

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Old 08-26-2012, 07:17 PM   #1
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Default Talk to me about your dehydrator-and why I need one!

Ok gals. I've been getting the idea that I NEED a dehydrator. It seems that they are a necessity. I spent some time today researching them. Please give me the skinny on them. I need one, right? My guy is looking at me and rolling his eyes. I need another gadget like I need a hole in my head. So I'm looking to you guys for back up.
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:11 PM   #2
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I want one too... I've been looking at the zucchini chips Rainbow has been making and that is reason enough for me! LOL
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:19 PM   #3
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I used to have one but didn't use it enough and gave it away. I went to 2 Goodwills today. I'll wait 'til I can find a used one.
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:15 PM   #4
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I love my American Harvester, but I only use it for jerky and foods I don't mind smelling like jerky (because the liquid smoke in the jerky marinade has permeated the motor, so it blows jerky-scented air).
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:57 PM   #5
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so far my zucchini chips have come out fine in the oven, but I've kinda been thinking about a dehydrator too. Not sure what else I would use it for...
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcrochet View Post
so far my zucchini chips have come out fine in the oven, but I've kinda been thinking about a dehydrator too. Not sure what else I would use it for...
Jicama chips, zuke chips, kale chips, homemade jerky, when you're on maintenance carrot chips, apple chips....
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:12 AM   #7
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I told my husband I would like a dehydrater and he suggested I use the one that is programmed in our oven. First thing I thought of was the cost of running my oven for 3 hours...He says that it shouldn't be a problem cost-wise because the temp is so low...I hope he is right. I always see them at our thrift shop but havent seen them now that im looking... figures! Lots of things I would like to try...jicama, bell pepper, red bell pepper, zucchini, and I wonder what cucumber might be like...
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:41 PM   #8
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I LOVE my dehydrator! I have an Excalibur and it runs almost constantly in the summer especially. Right now I am drying Roma tomatoes (fabulous for sun dried tomatoes anytime), cucumbers, and kiwi. Just pulled some Thai chili peppers off the dehydrator this morning.

I have a big garden so I can, dehydrate and freeze tons of food and herbs. I make homemade Greek yogurt in my dehydrator every week and turn that into yogurt cheese and frozen yogurt. It's very healthy and much cheaper than store bought.

I have jars and jars of dehydrated food in my pantry. I love just going in and grabbing jars of goodies for a quick throw together food (especially crock pot meals) and baked goods. For example, I have lots of zucchini in the pantry that I can toss into just about anything to boost the nutritional level (and sneak more veggies in my kids diet.

I also adore being able to travel with lots of healthy, unmessy foods. We took lots of jerky and dried fruit on our vacation to the beach this summer. Lots of great nutrition packed foods that I don't mind the kids pigging out on.

I buy copious amounts of produce on sale and dehydrate it for later in the year when it's much harder or more expensive to come by. I dry tons of apples! We love dehydrated apples with just a sprinkle of cinnamon. YUM! The only thing is that dried fruits are not FREE with WW so I have to be careful about how much I eat.

Anyway, there are a thousand reasons I will never, ever be without a dehydrator if I can help it. It's become one of my most essential and used kitchen gadgets I own and believe me I own a lot!

So those are just my 2 cents. It's well worth the investment, but be sure to learn about all that it can do. I am on a preserving food forum and I am constantly learning more about what I can dry and how to use the the dehydrated foods.

Susan
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:36 PM   #9
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Ok pro-dehydrators, fire away. I have a dehydrator that has not been used in 3 years. My dehydrator is about 20" in diameter with 5 shelfs. I broke it out two days ago to make some zucchini chips. First of all, I don't know what size the zucchinis are in your grocery stores but in my grocery stores they are small. It took 10 hours to dehydrate them (2 zucchinnis sliced 1/8" thick). When they were done (5 shelves), I filled one-third of a sandwich bag, most were the size of a nickel and some the size of dimes. I looked at buying an Excalibur dehydrator but just could not justify the cost. I had to have a "good self-talk" as to whether this is just one more of those gadgets that I had to have and then did not use. For once, rather than acting on an impulse that I just had to have it, I decided that I could not justify spending $200+. The chips were delicious I will have to admit. Anyway, that is what I decided for myself. When I want them I will bake them.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:05 PM   #10
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The key to loving your dehydrator is to learn what it can do for you! I am all about saving money, eating healthy and convenient foods. Since I have a garden and I used to give away so much of the food that took me a lot of time (and money) to grow. Not any more! I have recently learned to can in addition to dehydrating. But canning is really time consuming compared to dehydrating and dehydrated foods are often much more flexible to work with. I can choose to use a pinch or a whole bunch depending on what I am making.

You wouldn't believe the things you can dehydrate! When produce goes on sale, buy lots! Then chop or slice it and get it on the dehydrator. There are a bunch of YouTube videos on the process. One of the most informative channels I have found is Dehydrate2Store. She has lots of vids and I always learn something new when I watch them.

I don't know what I'd do without my dehydrator, but admittedly I didn't really know how useful it would end up being when I first purchased it. I just bought portabello mushrooms on clearance and button mushrooms and dehydrated them for the first time a couple days ago. Once you dehydrate something, you can then powder it and use it to boost the flavor of lots of dishes. I heard mushroom powder is awesome in gravies! I just powdered lots of my tomatoes so I could have tomato paste whenever I need it or to add to stews, soups, dips and such.

Dehydrating food also allows you to retain the nutritional value of food. It also saves a TON of space! I don't freeze nearly as much food as I once did and can store much more in my pantry because the dehydrated foods shrink significantly. I also don't have to worry so much about power outages zapping so much of my frozen foods!

I could go on and on. It is honestly one of the best purchases you can make... if you use it! And in order to get your money's worth most people have to do a little research to learn all that it can do. The Internet is a fabulous source of info, but there are books about it to. I have Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook, but I think I have learned more from the preserving foods yahoo group then I did from the book.

Susan
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:11 PM   #11
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wondering the same thing....for the cost, and the size of space a large one takes up, plus the noise....is it going to be worth it??

i can use a dehydrator for many reasons:
1. dried veggies and fruits when i get to the next phase
2. i can cut down on wasted foods because before they went bad, i could just dehydrate them
3. i could easily dehydrate veggies and can them together for future use in soups, make my own leek soup for example!!
4. buy when the food is less expensive and enjoy it year round
5. you can even make potpourri!!
6. i could give gifts of dried fruits and make my own trail mix as gifts to the kids and grand kids instead of candy!!! they would love that!!
7. i could buy more in bulk from the co-op!!!!
8. all kinds of jerky!!! beef, chicken, even tofu!!!! and i saw a recipe for jicama bacon jerky!!!
9. fruit leathers
10. yogurt
11. granola!!!
12. i read some people dry their own pasta...!!! i wonder if the crepe mix would dry in a dehydrator into crackers????
13. people make pet snacks too!!
14. drying my herbs from my herb garden

i am sure there are LOTS AND LOTS MORE ideas on how to use one!!

more ideas anyone???

Last edited by rainbowsmiles : 08-27-2012 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:17 PM   #12
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Psassy, what is the preserving food forum that you are on? I've been loooking for one. I'm a pickle maker!
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:37 PM   #13
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capecodmomma, I am on preserving-foods yahoo group. Great bunch of people! Super helpful and extremely informative forum.
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:35 PM   #14
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Default Brand of dehydrator???

So tell me about what kind/brand of dehydrator you have. I remember reading someone saying they had had one kind and got a new one, and the pros and cons between the two, but I don't know who it was. But I'm curious what kinds/brands you guys have and if you'd recommend it.
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:43 PM   #15
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I'm looking at the Nesco American Harvest Snackmaster - they have it at Bed Bath & Beyond and I'm always getting 20% off coupons for them!
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