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Dec 30, 2013 09:15 AM

Food Dehydrator Recs

I'm considering getting one but my kitchen is tiny. Anybody have a rec for one that has a small foot print (lots of vertical height is fine)? I'm looking mostly to use up the left over veggie pulp from my juicer and make a kind of raw cracker. yes this can be done in the oven but it seems kind of wasteful to turn on the giant oven every time I make a small batch which is several times a week and "saving" it in the fridge until I have enough for a decent size batch doesn't seem to work as pulp degrades VERY quickly. Once I get familiar with this machine I think I'd also like to try making my own jerky with various meats :)

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  1. Keep in mind, smaller/lower end dehydrators can require some fussing/hovering for best results. Trays may need to be re-stacked to allow everything to dry evenly. Most of the Nesco/Presto/Waring lower-end brands go for under $50 and would serve as a good starter machine.

    On the higher end, I've never used the brand, but have read that the L'Equip has a good reputation. The footprint is approx 17" x 11", with 6 trays, and expandable to 12. Models are a bit over $100.

    The main deficit of this "stackable" configuration versus the Excalibur-style "box" is that it isn't as flexible for other uses such as making yogurt, drying crafts, rising bread, etc. L'Equip has a newer model, the FilterPro, that addresses this somewhat, that includes a couple of slightly deeper trays and flattish yogurt pots.

    Here's their website:
    Better prices available elsewhere, of course.

    I use a 9-tray Excalibur, big & boxy with removable trays, and I love it. I know you want small so I'm not trying to be pushy lol, but it's a great beast. I have used it outside the kitchen when space is tight.

    5 Replies
    1. re: DuchessNukem

      I have read really good reviews on the Excalibur. Let me ask you, how strong is that box? Its metal isn't it? Not some cheap plastic? Can I maybe stack/use my toaster oven on top of it? Because then maybe I can sacrifice some extra counter space but not too much.

      1. re: foxspirit

        Sorry, the Excalibur box is plastic (fairly sturdy). I have stacked a 10# cat on it (well, she stacks herself). I wouldn't put a toaster oven on it; it might bow a bit if the oven is heavy, plus my temp knob is at back and I wouldn't want the toaster to vent hot air on it. Plus you'd prob have to reach up for the toaster oven unless you're basketball height.

        I don't use the dehydrator daily; sometimes I go weeks without using it. I wouldn't plan everyday kitchen counter space for it if things were super-tight. You could consider a rolling cart or just pull the beast out as needed (I have taken over the stovetop for variable periods).

        1. re: DuchessNukem

          Ah good to know. perhaps I will have to reconsider this dehydrator idea.

          1. re: foxspirit

            I adore my dehydrator. I'd hate to see you give up the idea. For what it's worth, I considered and shopped for a year or so before actually buying, and I knew I needed it by then.

          2. re: DuchessNukem

            LOL what is it with cats and the excalibur, mine love to lay on top of it too.

      2. i've had a 9-tray excalibur for years.. before that, i had a round "as seen on tv" type. the round ones are basically useless IMO because they don't dry evenly, and take forever and are hard to work with a round space (jerky cookies?). i wouldn't get a 4 tray, even though they are cheaper: the 9 tray is more useful for proofing and also if making kale chips, which need a lot of space between trays.

        keep in mind the excalibur doesn't HAVE to be in the kitchen: works well in the garage or on top of washing machine! anywhere there is a flat space...

        3 Replies
        1. re: rmarisco

          Hmm that is a good tip. Maybe I can see if there's anywhere else I can leave it in the house. Does it get very hot? Like, if I leave it in a little cubby hole shelf area, will it possibly melt/damage the things around it?

          1. re: foxspirit

            i seriously doubt it, but i'm sure you can ask excalibur. i've never had a problem with their customer service, and they are in america last i checked..

            also, don't forget you need an electrical outlet, so maybe a cubby won't work. it does make "some" noise, so i usually time things to leave on overnight so i'm away from the kitchen for a good portion of the drying time.

          2. re: rmarisco

            Completely agree with marisco. I had the cheap round one before getting the excalibur 9 tray with the timer. There is no comparison. My husband is depressed he didn't make it out for deer season this year so no deer jerky.