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Cheapish dehydrator? Where can I get one?

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I have 20lbs of cherries in my freezer. After some internet research I feel very reluctant to try drying them in my oven (I've got a toddler who would love having the stove on and try to play with it, it would take freaking forever etc.). I would like to get an inexpensive food dehydrator, but I don't have a clue where I could find one. I only really want it for drying fruit once or twice a year- no huge heavy-duty stuff.

Help?

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  1. Not sure what you consider cheap, but Cayne's has two models -- one for $70 and one for $80.

    http://www.cayneshousewares.com

    1. Value Village or garage sales. I see them all the time.

      1. You can them at Canadian Tire as well if that's more convenient for you. Just check the webpage for which locations stock it.

        The only thing is, those cheap plastic dehydrators can be a real pain. They are slow, loud, and don't dry very evenly. The claims that appear on all of the packaging that says "no need to swap trays" is a lie. My biggest problem with them though; cleaning them is a nightmare, especially if you make beef jerky. For a while I was using the plastic dehydrators, and then just throwing away the trays and ordering new ones every time I used it. If you are going to be using it often it may be worth while to spend the extra money to get stainless steal.

        2 Replies
        1. re: graydyn

          I had a cheapo Wal Mart one ($45) that had one heat setting and really took a long time. Last year I found a better Nesco one on Craigslist. I use it a lot for kayak trip meals. It has variable settings and is much better than my older one. I just saw the same model at Bass Pro for around $100.
          I don't have a post-jerky problem with mine, I just soak the racks and they come clean. I also use parchment paper for some things, but you need to rotate racks a bit.

          1. re: koknia

            Personally I never had much luck with soaking, or the dishwasher. My jerky marinade used to drip and harden like cement, and need to be removed with a wire brush. Maybe times have changed since I switched away from the plastic units, I am talking about a very long time ago.
            I'm quite curious about the use of parchment. Are you just lining the bottom try to avoid dripping?
            I use mine for kayak trips too!

        2. I bought what would be considered a cheap plastic dehydrator from an "As seen on TV" store more than 10 years ago and it is still working great.

          I am not sure what kind of noise gradyn's unit made that would be considered loud but mine made no noise at all. Other than the heat, you would have no idea it was on.

          I used mine primarily for making beef jerky and would always marinate my meat first. In the process, what little blood there was would drain away so I never had an issue with cleaning my unit. I did rotate my trays but this seemed to make sense as the heating coil was at the bottom and I had six trays and so it was a no-brainer that the bottom trays would get more heat.

          2 Replies
          1. re: fogducker

            Actually same here. I now have two dehydrators - both bought at garage sales. I just picked up the second one a few weeks ago because it has a fan, which my other one does not. I haven't used it yet - so that might be where the noise part comes in. I've turned it on and it didn't make much noise but maybe that will change with time.

            The older one has worked very well for me. It has cheap plastic trays which do need to be rotated. This takes no more than 3 minutes to do and, depending on what I'm drying, I might only have to rotate once. Mushrooms take about 12 hours and one rotation. Tomatoes take longer. I haven't yet made jerky, but even if I did I can't imagine not being able to wash them after using - I usually just throw the trays in the dishwasher. No big deal. To be honest, until you know for sure you're going to really use an appliance like this I wouldn't be spending a lot of money on it. Eventually you can upgrade if you find you need to. Neither unit cost me more than $10.

            1. re: Nyleve

              I'll check Value Village and my nearest Canadian Tire. I don't mind swapping trays, and was going to set it up in the basement, so noise wouldn't be a problem

          2. re: the noise, I guess a fan would do it. Mine does not have a fan - just the heating coil and I only moved the trays around after 24 hours so that was no big deal.