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Old 07-07-2008, 09:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Food Dehydrators

Last week it began raining Apricots at my home and I had procrastinated buying a dehydrator to deal with this year's bumper crop of fruits. I had done my research though, and was considering a 1000-Watt Nesco American Harvest FD-1010 or Nesco American Harvest FD-1020. Instead, in all of San Diego CA the only high-end dehydrator available was the L'Equip 528, at the Great News store in Pacific Beach. So I purchased it, quite reasonably at $125 + tax.

The L'Equip 528 is a 550-Watt system that comes with a 12 year warranty, six 1.2 square foot trays and an excellent user guide. It can be expanded to 20 trays by purchasing two-tray sets at $20 each. The thermostat control is labeled in degrees Fahrenheit (instead of low-med-high) so that you can get the right heat when needed for specialty fruits. So far I have dried 2 batches of apricots and another 2 batches of peaches. My experience is that it will dry 6 lbs of fruit (using six trays at 140 deg-F) in 12 hours, yielding 1 lb of excellent quality dried fruit. The trays need to be rotated about every two hours.

In comparison to the Nesco 1000-Watt products, I would expect the Nesco units to dry food in less time. The digital timer on the Nesco 1020 model looks interesting but some users report you need to rotate trays every few hours when drying significant quantities of foods. In terms of cost the units are essentially the same per square foot of drying space. The long warranty on the L'Equip is a plus. I still plan on buying a Nesco unit for next years crop -- it will be dueling dehydrators!

Those of you who do a lot of food preservation might find this gold-mine of information interesting: Food Preservation - Utah State University
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food Dehydrators

i have the ronco food dehydrator. i actually have 2 of them.i use it a lot to make turkey jerky and vinison jerky. we also use it to dry fruits. i love mine.
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Old 07-07-2008, 11:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food Dehydrators

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i have the ronco food dehydrator. i actually have 2 of them.i use it a lot to make turkey jerky and vinison jerky. we also use it to dry fruits. i love mine.
Food preservation is an instant love with just about anyone

Looking online, I see the Ronco is 110 Watts for about $40. If you fill one of your units with fruit slices, approximately how long does it take to dry the entire batch ?
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Old 07-07-2008, 11:26 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food Dehydrators

I'll definately be de-hydrating peaches and apricots next year. I will use the good old fashioned tool Sol...

It seems that it comes on strong around here just in time for the harvests.
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Old 07-07-2008, 12:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food Dehydrators

i know that to dry nana slices it takes about 4 hrs. mine is an older type of dehydrator. when i make vinison jerkey it all depends on the thinckness, but usually it takes 2 days.
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Old 07-07-2008, 01:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food Dehydrators

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I'll definately be de-hydrating peaches and apricots next year. I will use the good old fashioned tool Sol...

It seems that it comes on strong around here just in time for the harvests.
Given the amount of time sun-drying takes and the quantity of fruit ripening in that period, I would need a minimum of 500 square feet of solar drying space. The cost of materials to build a unit that size capable of keeping varmits out exceeds the price of a large electric dehydrator ($125) and the electricity to operate it over a 10 year period ($240). However, I'm always interested in learning about less expensive options!
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Old 07-07-2008, 02:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food Dehydrators

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Given the amount of time sun-drying takes and the quantity of fruit ripening in that period, I would need a minimum of 500 square feet of solar drying space. The cost of materials to build a unit that size capable of keeping varmits out exceeds the price of a large electric dehydrator ($125) and the electricity to operate it over a 10 year period ($240). However, I'm always interested in learning about less expensive options!
I won't need to put them in the sun for that. Tomorrow it will be 104 with less than 20% humidity. I just need door size screens to lay the fruits out on, and stack them with airspace between them. Some mosquito netting will keep out the bugs. The cat will keep away the critters. Heck, I can even dry them in the shade with that heat... No electric or other costs beyond the screening and frames.

When life gives you hot lemons, dehydrate them!!
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food Dehydrators

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I won't need to put them in the sun for that. Tomorrow it will be 104 with less than 20% humidity. I just need door size screens to lay the fruits out on, and stack them with airspace between them. Some mosquito netting will keep out the bugs. The cat will keep away the critters. Heck, I can even dry them in the shade with that heat... No electric or other costs beyond the screening and frames.

When life gives you hot lemons, dehydrate them!!
Well, that's hot! How many hours or days does it take for the fruit to dry that way?
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Old 07-09-2008, 08:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food Dehydrators

Richard, I haven't tried it before, as this is my first year of good fruit production. I think it'll take at least 2 days, and up to a week depending on the temps to fully dry. Our Delta Breezes (nature's airconditioner) would slow the drying down at night, but I would keep them under my patiocover to keep any dew off them. I don't think this idea will work for my apples and pears, as they ripen during much cooler temperatures. I am going to be prepared for next year's 'Fruitopia'. I'll set the screens and racks up this winter. Maybe a fan for circulation...hmmm...

In past years, I have had my Liquidambers in the front yard sprayed with Florel to abort the stickerballs, and I think I've been getting some drift into my backyard, even though I covered some trees, and told the company not to spray toward the backyard (they are lazy though and just spray from the street unless you watch them...which is difficult). This year we are a little less than financially set, so we decided not to spray. Wow! what a difference! I've had to cull fruits like crazy!

The non-sprayed trees are now dropping large broken branches chock full of stickerballs all over the yard and street. Now the DW says I can FINALLY cut them down (she's afraid someone will get hurt or it'll damage their car). I've wanted to do that since we moved in 9 years ago. We've paid about $1200 to spray 2 trees for 8 years.

The liquidamber is the #2 pollen producer in this area (fruitless Mulberry is #1 which I cut 1 down this spring). It drops something all year long! It drops amber sap all year, stickerballs in winter, all the leaves in fall, TONS of pollen in spring, and now big, heavy branches in the summer.

I'm trying to come up with something that fruits to replace them with after I cut them down. I wanted Macadamia, but I don't think they'll last thru my winters. I have a full assortment of stone, pome, and citrus fruits, and the DW hates Figs and Persimmons. I would like some Persimmons though. I've tried to choose varieties that'll flower and ripen in succession thru the season...

I think I've reached 'babbling' Must be the heat.

Microfarmer out...
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Last edited by microfarmer : 07-09-2008 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 07-09-2008, 09:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food Dehydrators

Mmm thoughts of dried apricots makes my mouth water!
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Old 07-09-2008, 09:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Food Dehydrators

Richard - those dehydrators look awesome. But with our erratic electricity and high humidity, it will have to be gas oven drying over air or electric - it is tricky enough trying to match the washing machine to the power without another machine too. Hey - but just chill!!

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Old 07-09-2008, 10:20 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food Dehydrators

Microfarmer -- sun drying would take at least a week here too. We have a partial marine layer that moves in at night so I'd have to deal with that. There are also rats, skunks, and jays about which normally eat out of the compost pile -- apparently the tree-fruit is not ripe enough for them. I'm currently drying 100 sq. ft. per week in the dehydrator and canning the majority of the harvest in preserves, but next year I'd like to start drying half the harvest, which would require 500 sq. ft. of space per week.

Island Cassie -- decades ago I designed and built home energy systems for persons living beyond a stable power supply -- as I did. I commiserate with your situation!
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Old 08-04-2017, 02:42 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Still going strong!
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Old 08-05-2017, 10:58 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Food Dehydrators

So, did you buy the Nesco? I've got the digital 1000watts. Works great for pineapples and raisins...
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Old 08-05-2017, 11:03 PM   #15 (permalink)
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So, did you buy the Nesco? I've got the digital 1000watts. Works great for pineapples and raisins...
I bought the The L'Equip 528 and it performs so well an additional unit isn't needed.
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Old 08-07-2017, 08:33 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Smile Re: Food Dehydrators

Nesco 300 watt 5 tray for me..love it.

I dry all the food groups.
Great for apple shrunken heads

Here is a tray of stupid hot rockets I did last year.


New crop

by
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on Flickr
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