It hasn’t hurt the flavor of my dried fruit.
I had a Nesco. My wife easily overwhelmed it with fruit leather and sliced fruit from our trees. The trays had to be rotated for even drying. It did not have a timer. The temperature control was not useful, it was always set to max because it was underpowered.
The story is the same as always, you get what you pay for. We upgraded to The Sausage Maker dehydrator with 1/4" stainless racks and non-stick sheets for the fruit leather. What a difference! It has much more capacity, a temperature control and timer. This thing really works. We eat dried fruit and fruit leather year round.
The brownish color does not affect the flavor in my experience.
I’ve never sulfured anything, but if you dip them in lemon juice, that certainly changes the natural flavor. If you want to counter-act lemon sourness with sugar, that further changes the fruit flavor.
I just got the gardenmaster 8-tray fan-on-bottom unit on amazon. 1000 watt like scotts.
A few observations:
1 crazy-fast sompared to inlaws rig which i believe is 600 watt
2 adjustable temp is really nice
3 significantly larger
4 i heard apples dehydrate but rehydrate well for baking–i think i am buying a bag of granny smith and honeycrisp or golden delicious, drying the sweet and tart, and then rehydrating both later in either merlot or a home blackberry/black currant wine, to infuse them and make winey-a$$ apple pie in the near-term
I’m looking at the fruit and flower sets so far this year and think it might be time to go for a dehydrator. ( optimism!)
I’d mostly want to do small fruits: sour cherry, strawberries, raspberries and haskap. Any suggestions/guidance for drying these types of fruit?
I got the older version of the 5 tray 304 stainless steel dehydrator from The Sausage Maker. It has the temperature controller and a timer. At that time I paid extra to upgrade from the chrome plated trays that would rust. I dried grapes, cut in halves, and various slices of pluots, mangos, figs, and apples. The suggested drying temperature for fruits is 135F. However, the enzymes will be destroyed at 118F, so I set the temperature at 115F because the dehydrator comes with a variation of plus or minus 2F. I washed and sliced the fruits but put nothing else on them. It took much longer time, but the dried fruits retained the fresh color and taste. My daughter and sisters liked them a lot. I put them in the Ball glass jars with the food grade desiccant silica gel. We are still finishing the leftovers figs and apples from 2017. Please note that the air is mostly dry in SoCal so the dried fruit last longer. Last year we had none to dry because of the heat wave.
2020 pick of the day
Woot.com has been running “open box” specials on the 9 tray and 5 tray Excalibur dehydrators. (Woot is an Amazon warehouse / clearance site). I got a 9 Tray for $158 and free shipping.
I’m looking at buying an Excalibur dehydrator. I was wondering how useful/important the timer feature is? Do you find that you use it or, in reality, do you normally find that you’re keeping an eye on it anyway etc? Also, presumably an extra half hour here or there if you’ve been out is no biggie when you’re drying for leathers for hours anyway?
I’m also considering buying two 4 tray units instead of one 9. It would cost about the same but I’m thinking that it would be more versatile as cheaper to run the the 4 tray version if I was only drying a small amount. Is my logic sound or would the 9 tray offer other advantages of two smaller units?
Edit. I should probaly say that this will be our first dehydartor and so I have no experience of them what so ever
Sometimes the time needs to end in the middle of the night… the timer is very handy for that. If not all done in the morning I just run for a bit more.
You could always use a timer on the plug if needed.
Thanks. I guess i just need to make my mind up really and buy one, before all my apples ripen.
I use timers as I leave for weekends, and it’s a must for me. I do watch stuff, but once experienced I know how long each fruit type needs to dry.
Correct, not a big deal. On size I would get the bigger unit myself, as I would not have room for two units. I have a 6 tray unit and it’s usually full. I just harvested a boatload of grapes and have been making raisins. The tray slots are close, and with figs and other bigger fruit (I like to dry figs whole, just flattened and pressed down) I can only fit three or four trays. So depending on what you’re drying, you may need the room. Some herbs like large basil leaves curl and need room to dry. I can only fit three trays in the 6 tray unit.
The basil is sticking up so much. I guess I could cut it down more, although time is money.
Anyway back to drying grapes!
I use a Cabelea’s 6 tray unit. Thy make a 10 too, but the space I had would only fit a 6 tray. I don’t want to take out and put away. It has a space on a shelf rack in the garage.
I have used it for 2 years. As you can see it dries very evenly left to right and front to back.
It was not very expensive either. No timer, includes temp control dial and on/off switch. Auto fan.
Can you share the time you set your timer on the different fruits? I’m looking on getting a dehydrater but do not know anything about it or time for different fruits and vegetables. Thanks
The room temp, elevation, humidity and temp unit set at all matters. Most things take at least 24 hours. With these grapes it’s taking about 48 to 55 hours. I start looking at them the 2nd day. Figs take about that long too. I’m drying those fruits at 130 degrees. Garlic takes less time. I like to grow enough garlic for the year round. I often have hardnecks that have only a 4-6 month shelf life, so I freeze it and if any left once a new crop is in I dry and make garlic powder. I usually don’t use much, but I use it more now as it is superb! I will never ever buy garlic powder after seeing the difference. Homemade is ten times better!
I dry herbs at lower temps and usually for 12 to 24 hours. I have not dried that many things. I dry peppers sometimes, but only every 4 years or so. I mostly want it for figs.
Since our environments will differ, so will the time needed. So these are just ballpark figures. .
Drew, your grapes/raisins are looking great!
I’d not thought about the ability to miss out trays for extra height or that extra space would be needed for folding herbs, thanks. It’s a very good argument for the bigger unit.
Thanks they are very good too. As good as or better than any commercial raisins The wife and I use them for various purposes. We make an arugula salad that calls for raisins. Also for baking etc. I eat some of them fresh. The vine produces too many to eat fresh before they will go bad. So this is working well for me.
I got about 5 bowls. I do keep it at this size to produce about that many. It will grow on and on if I let it.
I dried 8 trays worth.Leaving the rest for fresh eating.
I’m happy with the Presto I got like this one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G919C6V/ref=dp_prsubs_2
The trays nest for compact storage, and I ordered more trays to double the capacity.
You can load just the number of trays you need and run it.
The Presto dehydrator doesn’t seem to available here in the UK
I’m watching a few dehydrators on Ebay and Facebook market place. Hopefully a bargain will come along soon. All the Prestos on Ebay uk though are actually in the US.
The Excaliber 9 tray has been on Woot (an Amazon company) for $169. They’re open box items, but I got mine from there and it arrived looking new.