Author Topic: Just got a dehydrator  (Read 11733 times)

onehair

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Just got a dehydrator
« on: June 07, 2016, 08:00:25 AM »
What do I do with it?  My mom gifted me with it from my late grandmother's house and it was never opened it is 6 years old.  I look forward to firing it up and using it for fruits and vegetables.  Jerky sticks in my teeth which is the only reason I won't make it...

Miss Piggy

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2016, 08:18:54 AM »
Apples are excellent.

rahby1us

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2016, 11:12:27 AM »
my friend in college had a dehydrator and made some killer jerky... but his whole room would smell like jerky for a week. Is this normal? that, and limited remaining shelf space is the reason i don't own one yet. JW

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2016, 12:49:30 PM »
Grow yourself some paste-style tomatoes like Romas. You can just slice and dry, skins on, for great shelf stable tomatoes in jars. Rehydrate with hot water for things like pizza toppings (flavor to die for), throw into soups still dry, grind up in a blender and then rehydrate for tomato paste.

Kaydedid

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2016, 10:08:58 AM »
Dehydrated applesauce = delicious fruit leather

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WSUCoug1994

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2016, 10:57:18 AM »
My grandmother always had dried bananas around the house.....I could use some right now.  She also did apples, peaches and apricots. 

Rezdent

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2016, 11:31:52 AM »
Kale (or chard) chips

onehair

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2016, 01:11:02 PM »
So far I have done apples (limp but edible) red peppers and yellow onions.  I used the peppers and onions in making black eyed peas.  Next is carrot chips (they were on sale at Food Lion and I used a few for salad but intend to dry the rest no facepunches please), green peppers more onions and maybe a tomato.

MissNancyPryor

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2016, 08:04:33 PM »
Costo mushrooms-  slice thin on a mandolin.  Easy to rehydrate in sauces and stroganoff when you don't have fresh.  I keep mine in a quart jar that has been vacuum sealed with the Foodsaver, lasts forever. 

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2016, 08:11:59 PM »
We use it for peppers.

Trudie

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2016, 06:41:05 PM »
Costo mushrooms-  slice thin on a mandolin.  Easy to rehydrate in sauces and stroganoff when you don't have fresh.  I keep mine in a quart jar that has been vacuum sealed with the Foodsaver, lasts forever.

A worthy project.  Mushrooms can be expensive and add so much flavor.

Trudie

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2016, 06:50:35 PM »
Also posting to follow.  I'm considering getting a used dehydrator but am not sure if it would be worth it for me.

Choices

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2016, 09:52:04 PM »
Congrats! Dehydrators are awesome for fruits, veggies, fruit roll-ups, jerky, etc.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2016, 04:51:41 PM by Choices »

Miss Unleaded

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2016, 07:05:16 AM »
We use ours mostly for mushrooms. We're fortunate enough to live in the Swedish countryside and in the Autumn the forests around here are full of porcini and other mushrooms. After drying they'll keep in glass jars for ages and can be powdered and added to just about any meal. This would probably work just fine for other mushrooms as well like champignons

We've also used it for drying roma tomatoes and chillis. You can slice up garlic cloves and dry them at the same time to add additional flavour. Kale also can be dehydrated to make kale chips.

Try googling 'raw vegan recipes'. I know a lot of raw vegans dehydrate instead of cooking so you could probably find heaps of ideas online.

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2016, 11:04:20 AM »
My grandmother always had dried bananas around the house.....I could use some right now.  She also did apples, peaches and apricots.

My favorite thing to put in the dehydrator is bananas! But not chips, the ones you buy are usually fried and salted. I like to slice a ripe banana in half lengthwise (or, if it's really ripe, it may just fall apart into thirds with a gentle squeeze), and dehydrate those strips until they're moderately chewy but not hard. I could eat bunches of those a day!

opnfld

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2016, 12:00:34 PM »
I got one for free off craigslist.  "Sun-dried" tomatoes from the garden were superb.  An attempt at "freeze dried" green beans ala Trader Joes was a massive failure.  I would like to try fruit leather this year.  It's a fun novelty, but I wouldn't recommend buying one unless you grow your own garden, have an apple tree or other source of surplus produce.

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2016, 12:11:32 PM »
..or if you backpack.  I have a garden and so use mine quite a bit.  But what I really like it for is backpacking meals.  I make my favorite meal, say Chili or a soup or stew and then dehydrate it.  While my camp mates are shelling out $10 a meal for packaged stuff, I'm eating homemade meals that I carried in a small ziplock bag.  A lot less waste to pack out, cheaper, healthier, and way tastier!!   I also make something called walking carrot salad - it's a mix of shredded carrots, applesauce, agar powder, honey, raisins, and walnuts - cooked for about 5 min to soften the carrots.  Then put them in the dehydrator in disc form -- totally yummy snack anytime!

opnfld

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2016, 02:22:53 PM »
..or if you backpack.  I have a garden and so use mine quite a bit.  But what I really like it for is backpacking meals.  I make my favorite meal, say Chili or a soup or stew and then dehydrate it.
Excellent suggestions.  I hadn't thought about the possibility of dehydrating complete meals.

noodlestache

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2016, 03:04:32 PM »
Nice, I have a dehydrator and have used it for making beef jerky and dried pineapples. Dried pineapples are really tasty but will cut your tongue if you eat too many.  I will definitely have to try bananas and mushrooms. Never though to dehydrate those.

One time I tried to dehydrate sweet potato to make into chips but they came out inedible. I think they were not sliced thin enough.

onehair

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2016, 08:40:51 AM »
I confess I hate bananas but can tolerate mushrooms dried powdered or finely chopped.  I think I will do blueberries and strawberries next.

Spork

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #20 on: June 24, 2016, 08:46:55 AM »
Nothing to see here.  Just following.

FIREwoman

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2016, 01:56:01 PM »
homemade jerky makes me nervous due to veneers and a permanent retainer but you can make jerky with ground meat that is far easier to chew. i found a brand new jerky cannon for $8 at a saver's (in the toy department...).

"pizza" flavored kale chips are fun (and taste and smell like pizza goldfish crackers), fruit leather, cauliflower "popcorn", and depending on the style of dehydrator, you can make yogurt too. i do zucchini chips frequently; the flavors you can do are practically endless.

make your fruit leather goo a little thicker, pipe it out with a frosting tip, and you have homemade twizzlers.

Spork

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2016, 02:42:05 PM »
homemade jerky makes me nervous due to veneers and a permanent retainer but you can make jerky with ground meat that is far easier to chew. i found a brand new jerky cannon for $8 at a saver's (in the toy department...).

"pizza" flavored kale chips are fun (and taste and smell like pizza goldfish crackers), fruit leather, cauliflower "popcorn", and depending on the style of dehydrator, you can make yogurt too. i do zucchini chips frequently; the flavors you can do are practically endless.

make your fruit leather goo a little thicker, pipe it out with a frosting tip, and you have homemade twizzlers.

Lots of fun ideas.   ... but I'll add that you don't need a fancy machine to make yogurt.  We either put ours in the oven (warmed only by the oven light) or set it on top of the stove (warmed by the pilot light).  All you really need is a culture and a warm spot.

FIREwoman

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2016, 02:57:50 PM »
homemade jerky makes me nervous due to veneers and a permanent retainer but you can make jerky with ground meat that is far easier to chew. i found a brand new jerky cannon for $8 at a saver's (in the toy department...).

"pizza" flavored kale chips are fun (and taste and smell like pizza goldfish crackers), fruit leather, cauliflower "popcorn", and depending on the style of dehydrator, you can make yogurt too. i do zucchini chips frequently; the flavors you can do are practically endless.

make your fruit leather goo a little thicker, pipe it out with a frosting tip, and you have homemade twizzlers.

Lots of fun ideas.   ... but I'll add that you don't need a fancy machine to make yogurt.  We either put ours in the oven (warmed only by the oven light) or set it on top of the stove (warmed by the pilot light).  All you really need is a culture and a warm spot.

true, but my ancient apartment oven doesn't go low enough temp-wise and has no light. just giving ideas.

sparkytheop

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2016, 12:27:18 PM »
I've used mine for a lot of hamburger jerky (I buy a half to a side of a cow from my brother, so I end up with a lot of ground beef).

Mushrooms
Cherries and other fruit (I live in an area with a ton of orchards, and friends/coworkers/family who have trees)
Mushrooms
Sweet potatoes (for dog treats when I had a dog, she loved them!)

onehair

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #25 on: June 28, 2016, 09:57:38 AM »
I need to get a cherry pitter before tackling those I also want to improve on the dried tomatoes I attempted.  They seemed slightly leathery and not fully dried also celery for a homemade mirepoix...

sparkytheop

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #26 on: June 28, 2016, 03:25:37 PM »
I need to get a cherry pitter before tackling those I also want to improve on the dried tomatoes I attempted.  They seemed slightly leathery and not fully dried also celery for a homemade mirepoix...

I found out (in my quilters group) yesterday that the local True Value has a cherry/olive pitter for $5 and they said it works great (one at a time, but good quality).  I had been using a metal or hard plastic straw, depending on the size of the cherry.


Stachey

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #27 on: June 28, 2016, 03:43:32 PM »
Strawberries!!!
There is always such a huge surplus this time of year.  Slice the strawberries thinly, place in a single layer and  dehydrate away.
It really concentrates the flavour!  Delicious!  Oh my mouth is watering.

Rosy

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2016, 08:19:24 PM »
Oh - thank you for this thread. I bought a small one at Aldi two years ago, it's still in the box, totally forgot about it. OK, first thing tomorrow, I will harvest more peppers and slice up a couple of bananas, before they go bad.
Then I'm drying lemon verbena leaves - mint leaves (chocolate mint, orange mint, peppermint and applemint) and pineapple sage for tea.

Been eying the elderberries, but I don't think I have enough to make wine or liqueur, maybe I should leave it for the birds. The little woodpecker  loves them and the blue jay literally sat on my flowerpot while dining on the berries on the lowest bent branches. Hilarious to watch.

I think I'll try that disc MsSindy is talking about - that sounds really cool, you should call them paradise discs or heavenly discs:) and sell them. 

 
..or if you backpack.  I have a garden and so use mine quite a bit.  But what I really like it for is backpacking meals.  I make my favorite meal, say Chili or a soup or stew and then dehydrate it.  While my camp mates are shelling out $10 a meal for packaged stuff, I'm eating homemade meals that I carried in a small ziplock bag.  A lot less waste to pack out, cheaper, healthier, and way tastier!!   I also make something called walking carrot salad - it's a mix of shredded carrots, applesauce, agar powder, honey, raisins, and walnuts - cooked for about 5 min to soften the carrots.  Then put them in the dehydrator in disc form -- totally yummy snack anytime!

Kitsune

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #29 on: June 30, 2016, 06:21:55 PM »
Strawberries!!!
There is always such a huge surplus this time of year.  Slice the strawberries thinly, place in a single layer and  dehydrate away.
It really concentrates the flavour!  Delicious!  Oh my mouth is watering.

Omg this this this.

Seconding. And thirding. And possibly fourthing. STRAWBERRIES.

galliver

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #30 on: June 30, 2016, 07:11:37 PM »
How has no one mentioned mangoes? In CA they are 25c each right now, and if you dehydrate them without adding sugar they have the chewy texture of jerky, but not as stringy. Trader Joes sells plain dehydrated mangoes, which we were trying to emulate because they're crack, and that's about how ours turn out.  :D I've also done kiwi and saved some dying-in-the-fridge ginger (that can now be added to stir fries without loss of flavor!)

Oh - thank you for this thread. I bought a small one at Aldi two years ago, it's still in the box, totally forgot about it. OK, first thing tomorrow, I will harvest more peppers and slice up a couple of bananas, before they go bad.
Then I'm drying lemon verbena leaves - mint leaves (chocolate mint, orange mint, peppermint and applemint) and pineapple sage for tea.

I accidentally discovered that if you wash mint leaves and then leave them in the fridge for a few days, you get perfect dried mint. Dehydrator might do it faster, though.

noodlestache

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #31 on: July 01, 2016, 05:41:43 AM »
How has no one mentioned mangoes? In CA they are 25c each right now, and if you dehydrate them without adding sugar they have the chewy texture of jerky, but not as stringy. Trader Joes sells plain dehydrated mangoes, which we were trying to emulate because they're crack, and that's about how ours turn out.  :D

Nice! I saw the prices of mangoes dropping recently but never really thought of dehydrating them since we usually eat them fresh. What thickness do you find is best for cutting them before dehydrating?  I would really like to try that out!

NinetyFour

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #32 on: July 01, 2016, 06:04:12 AM »
I'm interested in this for several reasons (including food for camping trips).

Any recommendations for brands/types of dehydrators?  About how much do these contraptions cost?

Thanks.

galliver

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #33 on: July 01, 2016, 10:30:20 AM »
How has no one mentioned mangoes? In CA they are 25c each right now, and if you dehydrate them without adding sugar they have the chewy texture of jerky, but not as stringy. Trader Joes sells plain dehydrated mangoes, which we were trying to emulate because they're crack, and that's about how ours turn out.  :D

Nice! I saw the prices of mangoes dropping recently but never really thought of dehydrating them since we usually eat them fresh. What thickness do you find is best for cutting them before dehydrating?  I would really like to try that out!
I do about 1/4". They basically take overnight. :) Great hiking snack...If they last that long.

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #34 on: July 01, 2016, 10:41:34 AM »
How has no one mentioned mangoes? In CA they are 25c each right now, and if you dehydrate them without adding sugar they have the chewy texture of jerky, but not as stringy. Trader Joes sells plain dehydrated mangoes, which we were trying to emulate because they're crack, and that's about how ours turn out.  :D

Nice! I saw the prices of mangoes dropping recently but never really thought of dehydrating them since we usually eat them fresh. What thickness do you find is best for cutting them before dehydrating?  I would really like to try that out!
I do about 1/4". They basically take overnight. :) Great hiking snack...If they last that long.

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I just got a dehydrator as well. I am doing mangoes right now!  They are 11 hours in and getting pretty close. Frankly I just cut them as best I could and most slices turned out about 1/4".

My partner says dehydrated vegetables are excellent for camping - pour into instant noodles and have a much better soup. Apparently the key is to cut the vegetable to a size inversely proportionate to the cooking time. Long cook = small cut. Then they don't take forever to rehydrate.
You can also try freeze-drying. Stick whatever in the freezer and then put it in the dehydrator afterwards. This helps to retain more of the original shape and texture and the items get less goopy.

I also want to try this: http://olivesfordinner.com/2013/08/cauliflower-jerky.html

horsepoor

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #35 on: July 02, 2016, 09:43:36 AM »
Dehydrated sweet potatoes make good natural dog treats.  Check that your dog likes them before you make a ton though.  My recently deceased dog loved them, but my remaining dog is not so enthusiastic.

Raisins, if you find yourself with an excess of grapes.  I usually am gifted a couple bunches of homegrown grapes in the summer and don't particularly want to eat them just then, but they turn into way better raisins than the store bought ones.  I like to leave them a little less dehydrated and store them in the freezer to use in oatmeal during the winter.


I'm interested in this for several reasons (including food for camping trips).

Any recommendations for brands/types of dehydrators?  About how much do these contraptions cost?

Thanks.

You can spend a little or a lot on a dehydrator.  It's the type of item you could probably find at a yard sale or thrift shop as well. 

I have the Nesco American Harvest, which is about $60, and it works perfectly fine for my casual dehydrating projects.  More serious enthusiasts usually get a larger Excalibur for a few hundred dollars.  I've made jerky, dried herbs and dried fruits in mine with success.

NinetyFour

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #36 on: July 02, 2016, 10:01:54 AM »
I'm interested in this for several reasons (including food for camping trips).

Any recommendations for brands/types of dehydrators?  About how much do these contraptions cost?

Thanks.

You can spend a little or a lot on a dehydrator.  It's the type of item you could probably find at a yard sale or thrift shop as well. 

I have the Nesco American Harvest, which is about $60, and it works perfectly fine for my casual dehydrating projects.  More serious enthusiasts usually get a larger Excalibur for a few hundred dollars.  I've made jerky, dried herbs and dried fruits in mine with success.

Thanks for those suggestions, hp!

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #37 on: July 02, 2016, 10:40:42 AM »

You can spend a little or a lot on a dehydrator.  It's the type of item you could probably find at a yard sale or thrift shop as well. 

I have the Nesco American Harvest, which is about $60, and it works perfectly fine for my casual dehydrating projects.  More serious enthusiasts usually get a larger Excalibur for a few hundred dollars.  I've made jerky, dried herbs and dried fruits in mine with success.

I second the second-hand purchase.  Ours is the "larger Excalibur" from an estate sale for (I think) around $40.  We are just starting to play with it. 

So far: just some garden herbs and a bunch of cherry tomatoes.

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #38 on: July 02, 2016, 01:09:23 PM »
I like plums.  They turn out to be a sweet snack, great for camping or hiking.  People's trees seem to put on 50lbs+, and the owners never want to eat that much, so I end up with free plums :).  The same is happening right now with Kale - neighbors are giving it away since they can't eat it all and it's starting to bolt.  I am going to have dried fruit and kale chips for a looong time, all free!

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #39 on: July 02, 2016, 10:02:07 PM »
I like plums.  They turn out to be a sweet snack, great for camping or hiking.  People's trees seem to put on 50lbs+, and the owners never want to eat that much, so I end up with free plums :).  The same is happening right now with Kale - neighbors are giving it away since they can't eat it all and it's starting to bolt.  I am going to have dried fruit and kale chips for a looong time, all free!

My parents have plum trees. It's awesome to have dried plums all year round. And the wine they make is super spectacular.

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #40 on: July 03, 2016, 01:00:37 PM »
I use my dehydrator for many things - but my favorite is all my herbs.  I don't have to buy most herbs and I also use some for tea. 

onehair

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #41 on: July 15, 2016, 09:01:46 AM »
I just did blueberries.  I put a few in my oatmeal this morning not too bad.  I was concerned my son couldn't have any dried fruit due to his Crohn's and too much fiber but I read on some blog about rehydrating then pureeing dried fruit so now he can have it too! Next up is blackberries and strawberries once I find some for a price I am willing to pay.

ender

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #42 on: July 16, 2016, 06:13:45 PM »

You can spend a little or a lot on a dehydrator.  It's the type of item you could probably find at a yard sale or thrift shop as well. 

I have the Nesco American Harvest, which is about $60, and it works perfectly fine for my casual dehydrating projects.  More serious enthusiasts usually get a larger Excalibur for a few hundred dollars.  I've made jerky, dried herbs and dried fruits in mine with success.

I second the second-hand purchase.  Ours is the "larger Excalibur" from an estate sale for (I think) around $40.  We are just starting to play with it. 

So far: just some garden herbs and a bunch of cherry tomatoes.

Do cherry tomatoes dehydrate well?

I've wanted to get a food dehydrator for a long time but don't really think we'd use it. But this is making me reconsider, as I see a lot of things in this thread I never really thought of (though are obvious in hindsight).

I've not seen much on our local craigslist for dehydrators. I think the Excalibur is one of the higher end ones though, if I remember right.

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #43 on: July 16, 2016, 06:24:22 PM »

Do cherry tomatoes dehydrate well?

I've wanted to get a food dehydrator for a long time but don't really think we'd use it. But this is making me reconsider, as I see a lot of things in this thread I never really thought of (though are obvious in hindsight).

I've not seen much on our local craigslist for dehydrators. I think the Excalibur is one of the higher end ones though, if I remember right.

Yes, but...  Jeez, they go to nothing.  Cherry's are so prolific that we were trying to find SOMETHING to do with them.  That's why we dehydrated.  But it isn't the size of your standard "sun dried tomato" when you are done.  We've done 3 big batches and we have a medium sized baggy of tomatoes.

We haven't done much with them yet.  We've just popped a handful in our mouth.  Tasty... but tiny.

ender

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #44 on: July 16, 2016, 06:28:20 PM »
Interesting. Cherry tomatoes are annoying because even if you get continually producing ones, you get something like 1-2 tomatoes a week for a month, then 1000 a week for a few weeks, then 1-2 again. Be nice to be able to dehydrate and keep them.

Spork

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #45 on: July 16, 2016, 07:08:50 PM »
Just for fun...  Here is a pic.  The big paw is for scale.

Wifey said it started out at 6 or more pounds.  I weighed it and it was less than half a pound now.

1967mama

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #46 on: July 16, 2016, 08:40:31 PM »
I have a round Nesco for my dehydrating.  I recently dug it out of storage when I was gifted a grocery bag full of mint and dill.

I have a prolific plum tree and had never thought of dehydrating them! May I ask how those who have dehydrated plums have done so? Do you slice them in halves, quarters? Or make a purée?

ETA: Googled it! (duh!) and have a jar and a half of dried plums now. They're excellent! I cut them in half and dehydrated overnight.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2016, 12:47:42 AM by 1967mama »

horsepoor

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #47 on: July 20, 2016, 11:30:29 PM »
I always dehydrate lots of black cherry tomatoes.  Sweeter than big tomatoes, so good for different types of uses.  They help counteract bitterness in pesto if your basil is a bit too mature.

Spork

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #48 on: July 21, 2016, 09:19:43 AM »
I always dehydrate lots of black cherry tomatoes.  Sweeter than big tomatoes, so good for different types of uses.  They help counteract bitterness in pesto if your basil is a bit too mature.

Mmmm... Our black cherries barely make it into the house before they get eaten.  They don't make it to our dehydrator. ;)

onehair

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Re: Just got a dehydrator
« Reply #49 on: July 26, 2016, 08:57:44 AM »
My last batch of blueberries has some soft ones still blast! I will have to pick those out tonight.  The strawberries came out well sliced in half.