I have been in want of a food dehydrator for some time. I used to have one many moons ago, but I never got around to replacing it. Not too long ago I found a blog post for zucchini chips by The Creative Home and then shortly after came across a review of the Excalibur dehydrator. This rejuvenated my quest for a food dehydrator.
I had inevitably looked at Walmart first. I then turned to Amazon where I do a lot of shopping. I despise going to the store and shopping. I absolutely love shopping online if I can get a good product and deal with little to no shipping charge. I also happened to have a gift card for Amazon that I had received for Christmas.
There were so many options on Amazon that range from $28 to $385! Although the Excalibur received a glowing review I just cannot fathom spending $200 to $300 on a food dehydrator for the home. That just seems excessive to me. So, I set my limit in the $60ish range and started looking there. I like to read the reviews when available and there were many.
I opted on the Nesco American Harvest FD-37 400 Watt Food Dehydrator for the low low price of $30 and got a 2-pack of the easy clean screens to see how they worked. You can also get the fruit roll-up screens as accessories. All of us have outgrown fruit roll-ups so I did not purchase those.
The model features:
- 400-watts of drying power
- Expandable to 7 trays
- Clear top to monitor the drying process
- Fan forced radial air flow means no tray rotation needed
- Made in USA
I figured I would see how I liked it before buying the extra trays. I like being able to see inside without having to turn everything off and open it to check the progress. And it is made in the USA! It is hard to find much made in the USA any more.
Right now, I really did not have much of anything to dehydrate except to go buy something at the store that is off season. I wanted to test it out and gauge its drying times now before I had large quantities of food to dehydrate. So, I bought a few apples, strawberries, and bananas. In the past, I have mostly only dehydrated apples and deer jerky, but thought I’d try a few other fruits. I decided to do small batches to not ruin a lot of food in case it runs hot.
I have seen banana chips in the store, but had never tried them so I was curious. I sliced two trays of bananas not too thick as I would for a sandwich. I used one of the easy clean screens on the bottom layer of the bananas. The booklet called for 12-16 hours for bananas.
Then I decided to try one tray of strawberries. The only dried strawberries I have eaten were in granola bars. I capped them and simply sliced them in half and spread them out pretty far apart. As this was a test run, I wanted to save some fresh strawberries for Jon to eat. I used the other easy clean screen on the tray of strawberries. The booklet called for 10-12 hours for strawberries.
Then I did 2 trays of apples without the extra easy clean screens. I put a little bit of lemon juice in a bowl for my sliced apples to soak in as I peeled and sliced them all. A little bit of lemon or lime juice will prevent the apples from turning brown after being peeled. I sliced them not too thin, about like I would for an apple pie. The booklet called for 6-12 hours for apples. I strategically, layered my fruit trays in the order I anticipated them finishing.