Saturday, March 26, 2011

Delightful Dehydrating

I have been thinking about getting a dehydrator for a while. After doing quite a bit of reading, I had discovered that the top of the line is about $500, which is not an option at this point. There is quite a variety of affordable models but I couldn't quite decide which would suit us more. My bestie pointed out to me that a local bulk foods shop hires one out. This is a much better option. I am also worried that the novelty might wear off so we will see how a week or so of this will go.

After looking through the kitchen I found some stone fruit and some cherry and grape tomatoes. This would be a great way to start. I even found some strawberries in the back of the freezer. After buying some dried strawberries on Thursday and having them all eaten on the same day, strawberries would definitely be worth drying.

The machine comes with 4 trays and the manual suggests that you use all 4 for optimal drying.

Once I had turned the machine on, the aroma through the house was amazing. Every time I walked past, I made sure to deeply inhale. Every now and then I even had to try something from one of the trays. The things I will do for my family in the name of 'quality control'.

After about 10 hours I turned it off. I really should have kept if going, but as I have mentioned before, I am not super patient.

The tomatoes are incredibly sweet so I just slurped some local olive oil over them and broke up some of the lovely fresh basil a friend had given me earlier in the week. We are planning to make some pizza tonight so this will go perfectly.

So the first attempt at drying went well. Dried nectaries, peaches, figs and strawberries and no sulphites in sight.

I have some more strawberries thawing at the moment to have a go at some fruit leather.

I would really love to hear about other people's dehydrating experiences.

Take care


  1. What a great idea, to hire one! We invested in a Fowler Vacola Dehydrating unit and have been very happy with it. I bought some trays for making the fruit leathers on too, worth it!

  2. That is a great idea to hire it.
    I've used my mum's 70's one before but I'm sure the more recent ones would be more economical. Enjoy all the dehydrated goodness.

  3. Dixiebelle and cityhippyfarmgirl, the dehydrator is great. It is a Fowler Vacola with 4 trays. I am trying some more today. Apples, nectarines and pears as well as some strawberry fruit leather. The kiddies keep making 'mmmm' noises whenever they walk past the kitchen. That is a good sign. It is certainly a lot of fun. I am a bit worried that I will need to give it back in a week or so.

  4. I got a dehydrater for myself(from Santa) for Xmas, I have used it a few times, I have a few pics on my Blog, I have only done Tomatoes, Apples, Pineapple and BEEF JERKY..It is loads of fun, I haven't tried the fruit leathers yet, but they will be done soon, I haven't had heaps of anything lately, bought or grown to dry. One tip, if you plan on keeping anything, you do need to make sure it is completely dried out or it will spoil!

  5. Gooseberry Jam, your dehydrating posts have been very helpful. We tried pears over the weekend. They were amazing. My daughter asked if I covered them in sugar as they had a sugar-dipped texture and taste which was amazing. Tried some strawberry leather too.
    Thanks for the advice about completely drying the fruit. I must be more patient.

  6. Thanks for the info. I've been trying to decide which brand to buy too. I'd like to dry herbs so I have them all year.

  7. Farmer Liz, I am so glad that I hired one first as I am not sure not if I would buy one. Don't get me wrong, it tasted amazing, but the time and amount of power it took to do a batch of fruit, compared to the time it took us to eat the produce, makes me think that there must be another way. I met a lady at a course recently who uses an old flyscreen on the back ledge of her car (a sedan). Whenever her car is in the sun it is drying the tomatoes and capsicums she has on it. I was also doing a bit of reading about solar dehydrators. This could be a good option.
    I think if I was going to get one, it would go for a 9 tray Excalibur. I know they are expensive but having a square tray would allow for so much more food. A friend even makes pizza bases and crackers in hers. Then again, maybe I won't. Do I really need another kitchen appliance?


Thanks so much for dropping by. I really appreciate any comments you have to make.

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