Dehydrators

Discussion in 'The Mess Hall' started by pault, May 20, 2017.

    In following up to the jerky thread I thought I would share my info with others. Before I made this last batch of jerky I have only used a ronco 15 yr old heat from the bottom dehydrator. It worked, my dog kept watch.
    Fast forward to today and the selections are endless. Here is what I found and what I bought and why.
    There are e bay plastic ones from china, cheap, but not sure how they would stand up to shipping and overall quality.
    Thee are a number of plastic round ones, ie ronco etc that heat from the bottom up and no fan. Having this kind before I didn't want another it is a pain to clean out the bottom.
    I wanted a square one, like the excaliber but was kind of pricey for my needs, home use, only one eating jerky.
    I was looking at a nice stainless 10 rack one with digital timer, but was too big and bulky and wife would have frowned.
    I saw many options , some with dryer sheets some with ground beef guns some digital and some dial. I decided not to get a dial as some feedback was they got damaged in shipping, so was looking at a digital.
    However I wanted to store it on a shelf , easy so wife would be happy, after 2-3 pounds of jerky it can sit for a while giving me time to eat that , I decided to get an American harvest -Nesco from amazon.
    There are many models this one had 500w, had the dryer sheets for fruit roll ups, herbs and 5 packets of jerky mix and cure. and the jerkey gun all for $50+-.
    Other models had same design, higher wattage but not the accessories, and if you add it up it was a bargain.
    So made strawberries today, came out well , but it shrinks to way paper thin, and some banana, which was OK,
    Next will be some ground beef jerky with the packets they included and wanted to see how it goes using the jerky gun.
    I haven't found and Morton tender quick yet in the stores here, but ill keep looking.
    MY whole thought was if I had some meat to dehydrate and it doesn't fit on the 5 trays I have, Ill just let the rest marinate another day and finish the next day. Keeping the purchase inexpensive and handling easy and storage easy.
    Ill try to post pics of the ground beef jerky if it comes out ok, and if anyone has questions , ask or pm me, and why did I choose nesco? they have been around a long time, they have a decent wattage 500w,adjustable heat and they have a blower motor on the top(no mess). Lots of good reviews helps. I did set it at 135 degrees and put my digital thermometer in the bottom where the air is forced out and it read 131, so not bad.
    The only negative is no on off switch or timer, but I don't need that.
     
  1. oc_in_fw

    oc_in_fw Contributor

    I wonder how this would work for making dry roasted peanuts. I made one attempt (there is a thread here about it), but I wasn't too pleased with the results. I have been thinking of going with a dehydrator instead of the oven.
     
  2. bberg100

    bberg100 Moderator

    I used an American Harvest for several years, now it is relegated to drying brass when I reload. Bought a large 80 liter Cabels's "commercial" dehydrator a few years ago. Major difference. The AH unit has taken a beating and still works very well, but I have stuck over 10 lbs of muscle jerky in the Cabela's, not to mention mass quantities of fruits, whole chilies, and such.
     
  3. DoctorShavegood

    DoctorShavegood Ambassador

    Whole chilies? Now you've got my attention. Please elaborate.
     
  4. I did a quick google and didn't have much luck finding any dry roasted using a dehydrator, may need an oven .
    I may have missed it though.
     
  5. Intrigued

    Intrigued Contributor

    I haven't tried to dry roast peanuts, but how about trying to dry roast the peanut using a basic Chex-mix time and temp. That would be.... a 275F degree oven for 45 - 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
     
  6. bberg100

    bberg100 Moderator

    Smoke some Jalapenos, dehydrate for dried chipoltes. I also dry full green chilies for later seasoning use.
     
  7. Dehydrating is my latest "fad" in the kitchen. I have one of the cheapo round stacker units. Only 5 trays, and 260W with fan, but it works quite well.

    Last month I vac packed some chicken and mushroom risotto meals, and fish and rice dishes, both of which rehydrate into really nice meals. Just pour boiling water over them out of the kettle, leave to soak for 30 mins, then boil for 10 mins. Super easy and very tasty.

    I also did mixed fruit snack packs (banana, apple, peach, kiwi, and raisins), and beef jerky with dried veg (sweet potato, spicy marinated aubergine, beetroot, and spicy peas), for the bad health days when cooking is tricky.

    I have some spice packs on order, hot thai curry, and jerk seasoning, for making more jerky. I've also just received a couple of the silicone trays for doing fruit leathers, eggs, and anything else that would otherwise fall through the trays.

    It's good fun, and stored food takes up a lot less space than it used to. I also don't have to worry so much about using up veg before it goes off, or running out of space in the freezer. Anything that doesn't immediately gets used gets dried and stored in the cupboard for whenever I need it.
     
  8. Toothpick

    Toothpick Moderator

    We’ve got a Presto. 5 or 6 trays high. It’s exclusively used for peppers. Ghost Peppers, Habanero, Chocolate Habanero, Chili, Jalapeño, and on and on. After the first use with peppers it’s useless for anything else.
     
  9. oc_in_fw

    oc_in_fw Contributor

    I once bought dehydrated water, but I didn't know what to add.



    Stolen from Steven Wright.
     
  10. I'm going camping with friends very soon, and am taking homemade dehydrated foods with me. Omelettes, banana and nut porridge, strawberry panbread, jerky and veg, cheese and herb scones, risotto, biryani, bannock, fruit mixes, cheesecake, and a couple of others are all being taken in vacpacks.

    Most of the ingredients are already dried, but I still need to do cottage cheese, a couple more fruits and two or three different types of jerky.
     
  11. Oh man......dehydrated cottage cheese....thats just wrong in so many ways....i cant stand it hydrated let alone the other way......lol. :tongue1:
     
  12. I’ve been packing the dehydrators tonight and putting up food that may spoil before I get back to eating. I am planning some pemmican. Drying mushrooms and parsley for a big pot of chicken soup maybe a week or two out. Bison, Lamb, a little smoked Salmon, and Blueberries and Raspberries for the pemmican.
    I also juiced up a large mixing bowl of fruit and carrots for juice to break the fast with, which made two quarts. Carrots, apples, oranges, limes, clementines, pears, ginger and a kiwi.
    The pemmican fat may be Lamb or Bison if we can find some locally in time. I have a pint of Bacon grease ready, and will use Coconut oil along with it if no Bison. I usually grind it all by hand in a mortar.
    I made a batch of kale chips this week. Also chopped two bulbs of garlic and put it in apple cider vinegar. The baggie on the counter if another batch of kale marinating.

    Man it smells good in here!

    28181C08-0C22-465F-B3CF-D1A991163F42.jpeg D45C7EB1-F97E-4625-B926-65F065C57181.jpeg
    4D3ABB67-50BB-4943-9DE3-6FF4DE895ED4.jpeg F0720235-16B6-4D69-8525-2F33E5BAF454.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  13. D2C375B2-AFE5-4A90-B6C1-A4CC9C100432.jpeg EFB38404-8BF1-4DCD-BD4B-289E600A66E9.jpeg 529E002D-2539-47F6-A73C-8D62F553F92C.jpeg 2809B914-988C-45CF-980C-0AD5EA3923B9.jpeg Pulled the kale batch and am making another, moved the bluberries around, which take along time to dehydrate for my purpose. I’m drying more berries to equal the volume of the meats, and dehydrating them under convection in the oven at 135° which is roughly where I start the dehydrating process for higher moisture content items.
    The meats are ready and waiting. I have four bacon weaves on the Foremen and will be adding some of that to the pemmican as well. Mushrooms need a little more drying time yet. I turned it down overnight with intentions of sleeping in and didnkt want to overdo the other items in the dryer at the time.
     

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  14. Thank you very much for that tip, which I will employ going forward. I figured the stem end was enough to dissipate the moisture. Awesome tip. Using larger Jersey this batch so it will go quickly.
     
  15. Your welcome! Only bought blueberries for freezing this year so haven't had an opportunity to see whether piercing does make a difference, does sound like a rather tedious task.
    dave
     
  16. It went quick for a cookie sheet full. I had made a handle for a needle to keep with my juicer, in order to clean out the screen holes if they get plugged by pomegranate seeds or such. I used a steel rule across the pan to guide my progress across the pan as I went doing rows of about four berries at a time then moving the rule over.
     
  17. There are some things that aren't worth dehydrating, in my opinion.

    Small berries that need pricking - buy them ready done, and add them to all the other fruits that were worth doing at home.

    Onions - they'll stink the house out - again, buy them predone.
     
  18. Good stuff there @AimlessWanderer, but I’ll add that “worth” is relative to what your dietary goals are. Pre-packaged dried bluberries and many other fruits, often contain items I or others may have to avoid, which is one component behind why I dehydrate.
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    Secondly, my wife works with a berry/fruit farmer at a local farmer’s market 6 months out of the year and gets great deals on things, blueberries being their specialty, to store up through the off season. We only need to store shop for berries maybe once or twice a year aside from the market scores. We get gorgeous one day old berries, picked the next state over. I have no qualms with cleaning the dehydrator and it only took me a few minutes to perforate them. Drying time is of no real concern to us either. But thats my case.
    One side note: the berries set out on the cookie sheet shined it up for us. Their rich antioxidants removed some or most of all the dulling oxidation on the alloy tray's surface.
    We often set out half onions through the winter to ward off colds and flu, so smelling them on the dehydrator doesn’t seem too threatening either. I may try it to see how offensive it is, but we dont consume a lot of them and when I make a pot of soup they are purchased with it’s ingredients. I am not into it for making camping/survival food, and as such haven’t gone into making soup mixes, but for making snacks and storing up food in general, and extending their shelf life. Should I do a mix with onions, thanks to your tip, perhaps I would dry outside or in the shop.
    I can apppreciate your advice in general, but I have health considerations that are behind why I prepare my own food and this is one case where I have to be careful. We can buy dried coconut, figs, dates, apples and more where it isn’t commonly seen that they are treated with unnecessary ingredients. Bananas, cranberries, and some others often are. For the package above, natural flavors is one ingredient I have to avoid. Berry products with natural flavors often have cranberry flavor as part of its make up. I have a severe sensitivity to cranberry. As well, to the oils most dried fruits use. Sunflower oil is fine in this case but I don't want the corn syrup or added sugar either.

    I enjoyed reading your posts above and would be interested in the strawberry panbread and bannock recipes if you’d care to share them. In turn I will try to come back and post my jerky recipe that I’ve been using for 30 some years.

    Thanks much!
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019

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