Greater Denver Urban Homesteading Group Message Board › New Members › Bargain Price Dehydrators
Janice, Loretta is right - THERMOSTAT! and the Excalibur is the Cadillac of dehydrators. I found my first dehydrator at Salvation Army for $6 bucks - used and w/o thermostat. Magic Chef. Then Goodwill over on Grant and 100th (Thornton) had a new American Harvester w/ thermostat. $5 bucks (50% off sale).
For some reason they just keep coming. So, I've kept four w/thermostats and given three away - 2 Ronco's and the Magic Chef. Not an Excalibur amongst them. Mine are working great so I repurposed the money I was going to spend on the Excalibur and bought a Wonder Grain Mill.
The ehow.com website has some good instructions on how to. I like doing the frozen stuff cause you don't have to wash, blanch, cut, prep or mess with them. Get them when on sale (notice how the repackaging has gone from 16 oz to 12 oz?) 10/$10. Prices have been going up with less amounts and more cost, so getting close to that tipping point whether cost effective to do frozen store bought anymore.
My biggest project was processing 150#'s of stew vegetables. Wanted something I could share with neighbors and folks when times get really hard. Wally World carries Picsweet frozen vegetables for either soup or stew. The stew veggies are larger pieces and dehydrate better. Was $2.25 a bag-can't remember the size, but was very reasonable for the contents.
While watching my stories on the computer, I'd sit and separate the vegetables into bowls. Carrots in one, pearl onions in another, celery, potatoes, etc. Then place on racks. Tip: get the potatoes started first, they had a tendency to get mushy when thawed. Dehydrated they kept there form, but turned to powder when pinched. Rehydrated and cooked, they became like a thickener, since it was a stew, still tasty. No hassle or mess - discard packages and rinse bowls out.
Apples and bananas are fun to do and smell nice too. That banana slicer sounds interesting. Over ripe fruit was sticky - maybe would be better as leather. Haven't tried that yet. Mushrooms are another good one to do as well as dehydrating rice (cook first for instant) and frozen beans for some quick meal options.
To keep the rice from falling through the trays, I made my own fruit roll up trays using those thin plastic dish washing safe cutting boards - two to a package, also in a pinch parchment paper works too.
Storing dehydrates. I've collected a slew of the Arizona Ice Tea one gallon bottles, clean and dried. Use a funnel to fill them with the dehydrated vegetables along with a few sealed snack size baggies of powdered Knorr's tomato bullion with chicken flavor. Had the 100 size oxygen absorbers so put one on bottom, one in middle and another on top and screwed the caps on tight.
I'm good with my four dehydrators - no more room. If anyone is interested, I'm willing to pick up any dehydrators I find thift shopping under $10. Even if they are without a thermostat, they make a good back up or second machine if nothing else. Cost of unit and maybe a cup of tea
Lastly, if it has to be the Excalibur, check the website - there are reconditioned ones and a spot where you can explain your economic circumstances and possibly get a reduction in price.