I bought a cheap 30 dollar dehydrator and tried to dehydrate some white chicken chilli, I lined all of the trays with way paper and put it in and about 30 minutes later it was dead. I don't know if it was my fault or faulty.
So I am looking for a reasonably priced dehydrator. What do you suggest, I need it to be able to dry meals (soups, chilli, fruits, make jerky, maybe some herbs)
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
You want to use parchment paper, which allows air to flow through, not wax paper which is not air permeable and which may, under heat, transfer part of the wax coating to your food. Parchment paper should be available in your supermarket.
You want a dehydrator with a fan (so you don't have to rotate trays) and a thermostat. Meats need to be dried at a higher temperature than fruits and veggies. While you can get along without these conveniences (rotate the trays manually every couple of hours), they make life easier.
In the meantime, check the warranty on the one that died.
Also, do a search because this topic has come up before. Instructions on how to search are in the "sticky" post at the top of the "General Discussion" section of this forum.
Edited by OregonMouse (04/03/1309:45 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
With driers, as with most things, you get what you pay for. I use an Excaliber drier with a thermostat, fan and five trays. It cost a bit more new than some that are available but is still working well after eight years of steady use. I second Oregon Mouse on the basics of drying: use parchment where needed, use the proper temperature and keep the air moving.
Honestly, I cannot recommend the Nesco American Harvest series dehydrators highly enough. They're reasonably priced, well built, offer lots of useful upgrades and have their heating units mounted on the top. If you need to seek out a replacement, you really can't go wrong with a Nesco. Mine was about 70 bucks on Amazon, and that included two additional trays and some spill sheets.
Avoid any dehydrators with the base-mounted heating units like the plague. They're a major pain to clean up, and run the risk of getting fried if something liquidous gets dripped into them. Also avoid square units, because they just don't distribute the heat as evenly as round units.
Finally, a $7.00 roll of fiberglass window screen from a local hardware store will provide a lifetime's worth of cheap dehydrator screening for fine things, like ground meat, quinoa, rice and other food bits. The screen is about 1/5 the price of a pack of "official" plastic screens.
Hope this helps!
"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready." "The joy of living is his who has the heart to demand it." - Theodore Roosevelt