New food dehydrator

I always dry my cherry tomatoes in the sun, but last year’s cool summer meant I was having to use the oven most of the time. They need to be dried quickly or they will grow mould, however the oven isn’t really very suitable as it doesn’t produce the low temperatures needed for correct dehydration.

I’ve been thinking about doing more drying and also making fruit leather, so I’ve just blown out the budget and ordered one of these Excalibur food dehydrators.

I read about the Excalibur in The Resilient Gardener by American author Carol Deppe.  She says: ” for the resilient gardener, a dehydrator is not optional”.

She goes on:

The most relevant dehydrators for the home scale are of three types: poorly designed little round-tray dehydrators, workable little round-tray dehydrators, and far superior but more expensive Excaliburs.

The poorly designed little round-tray dehydrators push air up through the lowest tray to the next. So the produce in the second tray gets moist air that has already gone through the first tray, and dries considerably slower. Produce in the third tray gets even moister air and dries even more slowly. Avoid dehydrators with this design.

The other kind of little round-tray dehydrator has an airflow pattern in which the air comes up through a central column and goes out over the trays. This is a better design. The moist air from one tray doesn’t pass over any other tray. However the total amount of air is divided among all the trays. So while you can stack up four trays, for example, each will get only one-fourth the airflow as does a tray used singly, and the batch will take roughly four times longer to dry.

Anything a little round-tray dehydrator can do an Excalibur can do better. The Excalibur has a more powerful fan and heater and a much better design. The airflow is divided and a constant portion flows over each tray. Each tray gets the same amount of air no matter how many trays are in use.

There’s more, but she sold me right away on this type of dehydrator. I didn’t even bother to research any other type. I’ve never seen any of this type in the shops or advertised and thought it must be exclusively American. So I was delighted when I Googled and found an Australian distributor.

I’ll still use the sun to dry when I can, but the Excalibur will be faster and I can do so much more. It means I can buy fruit in large quantities when it’s cheap (or when I’ve grown it), dry it and store it away. Dried produce doesn’t need any electricity to store it like frozen food and takes up a lot less space. There would be no worries about losing valuable frozen food stores during a blackout.

4 Responses to “New food dehydrator”

  1. Mrs Bok Says:

    I’ll be very interested to see what you think, I’ve been thinking about a food dehydrator for a while now but they aren’t cheap!


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Well, there you go, Mrs Bok! If Scarecrow recommends it (see comment below), then it’s bound to be good!

      I will post some comments after I use it, though.


  2. Scarecrow Says:

    I love our Excalibur not only for fruit but vegetables too. Dry them to crisp, grind them in a blender/food processor and store in jars. Add this to winter soups for a real flavour boost.
    It was another way of using the mountains of Zucchini we get in the summer and mushrooms are excellent this way.


  3. Jason Dingley Says:

    You think gardening is just about growing plants, then you discover it’s about the whole food cycle. Due to the glut that seems to come from home gardening I have learnt I too need to start taking food storage seriously.


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