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Dehydrator, anyone?
25 Feb 2014, 09:53
I've been toying with the idea of buying one for years. I'm especially drawn to the idea of dehydrating vegetables to use in soups and casseroles; love my freezer but it gets crammed at times!

Do you have one? Do you use it? Would you recommend I go for an all singing all dancing one? I'm always concerned that cheap gadgets don't work out a bargain in the end.
Re: Dehydrator, anyone?
25 Feb 2014, 10:29
I don't use mine as much as I thought I would. I do fruit and veg when I have left over (I get a fortnightly box delivered) plus meat (a cheat's biltong - salted beef or tongue sliced thinly and dried, not nearly as nice as biltong, but still pretty nice) and rusks (spot the ex-South African LOL).

I think you're right about the potentially dodgy quality of "bargains", but I've found with appliances that you just can't pick which of the more expensive ones are going to be worth the extra money. (Eg I've had a cheap popcorn popper last for decades, and expensive, good quality kettle and toaster die after a year or two.)
Re: Dehydrator, anyone?
25 Feb 2014, 11:41
Thanks Kate :smile:

I also get a fruit and veg box delivered, and sometimes have a surplus of something and no room to do my usual which is 'bottom of the fridge' soup. Of course, the day the children move out I will have room for a second freezer, but probably won't need it then :confused:

I know what you mean about appliances. My very expensive kitchen aid toaster only works on two slots out of four, but my £10 Tesco kettle has been going for years. However, when it comes to dehydrators there doesn't seem to be much choice once you get beyond the simple round models - its Excalibur or Excalibur, and they get consistently rave reviews. So its really about whether I would use it rather than the risk of buying something that turns out duff.
Re: Dehydrator, anyone?
31 Aug 2014, 23:28
@Winsome, I have a dehydrator that I built (and doubles as a large proofing box for bread dough) and a 9 tray Excalibur that is scarcely ever out of use (particularly during the Summer).

I watch out for special offers on tomatoes (particularly cherry or baby plum tomatoes) and red peppers and then I dehydrate as many kgs as I can reasonably manage because we use vast quantities of them. We put tomatoes in lots of items such as savoury muffins and breads, add them to casseroles, soups and broths and eat them by themselves. Similarly for the peppers - as well as blitzing them into spreads.

We use kgs of nuts (various sorts) in a year. If I bought the unblanched sort then I'll sometimes blanch and skin 500g or so at a time after which I dry them again, using the dehydrator. (You can make some fabulously crisp almonds this way.)

We like fruit leathers and as we use a lot of apple puree in baking/granola this is very helpful for us.

How much use you get out of it depends on your buying patterns and what you like. I find it invaluable and wish I'd bought an Excalibur years ago. :oops: My home-made dehydrator is still good (particularly for jerky/biltong) but the finer temperature control of the Excalibur has enabled me to try many more techniques and foods and is much less fiddly than my DIY one.
Re: Dehydrator, anyone?
01 Sep 2014, 05:58
I have a six tray excalibur. I use it for fruit leathers, raw vegan dishes, eg onion bread, pie crusts made with nut flours as well as dried veggies (esp kale crisps) and fruits such as apple crisps. Have even made raw vegan brownies in it. You have to be patient but it's worth it. If you are not bothered by enzyme preservation and have a good oven that can stay down at 100 deg C or so (they generally run higher), then that is sufficient to do dried veggies overnight.
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