Post contains affiliate links to products, but the opinions are my own.
I remember as a kid my mom making fruit roll ups in a dehydrator…one time. I don’t know if we didn’t like them, or it is just not our thing to eat a lot of dried fruits. The second is probably most accurate. It was the 80’s in small town Indiana. We ate pretty simply…fried steak, fried chicken, fried pork chops, potatoes, corn, etc.
As I grew up and moved away from home my food horizons expanded. I cannot eat whatever I want all the time like when I was a teen. Fruits and veggies are great low calorie alternatives to traditional sweets and salty snacks.
I am also a little obsessed with the survival prepping culture. I don’t really practice it, but I love watching shows, reading, and trying simple things when it comes to saving money in particular. I try to hang clothes to dry as much as possible, have a small garden, and am pushing for rain collection barrels. I would also love love love some solar panels on the house!
The food dehydrator looked to be a great way to store fruits and veggies that are best priced during the Summer, but go to waste so quickly. I do love freezing whatever I can, but there are limits to this. I have not done any canning, but I just bought a canning pot and jars today to try jam later this Summer as well. First things first..let’s find a dehydrator and do some research.
Of course I hit Pinterest for some recipes and information. The library was a great source as well..who doesn’t love free books (for a couple weeks anyway). So far my two favorite books are The Dehydrator Bible: Includes over 400 Recipes and The Beginner’s Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods: Preserve Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs, and Meat with a Dehydrator, a Kitchen Oven, or the Sun. They are both very informative and full of recipes. I’m torn on which I would buy to add to my own collection. Most likely I will buy both since they are just over $13 each on Amazon right now!
I decided to go with the Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A that was $69.99 with Free Shipping. I used our Amazon Prime, because I’m super impatient and we pay for it so might as well use it.
The Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A comes with 5 trays, 2 fruit roll sheets, 2 clean-a-screens, and 3 jerky spice packets.
TheNesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A is very simple to use and clean. It is top-rack dishwasher safe if you remove before the drying cycle. I would suggest to just handwashing. It is faster, and they are easy to dry. You can expand the unit to 12 trays, and they are sold in 2 packs at stores like Amazon and Bed, Bath, and Beyond (look for the 20% off coupon). The top is labeled clearly with temperatures and what they are for. The trays stack on top of each with the fan/heater on top. No latches or locking mechanisms needed. Plus it in and off you go. The unit heats up quickly, but even at the 135 degree setting I tried it was not crazy hot like my crock pot. I know you will be curious about noise. It is quiet. Just a white noise, fan sound. I made a little clip for you to hear yourself.
I happened to be at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and found bought more Clean-a-screens. I highly suggest you get those. Fruit sticks when drying, and these made it much easier to remove. They are flexible, and have a small grid for smaller items as well. I plan to also buy another set of fruit roll up sheets, so I can do larger quantities at a time. The Clean-A-Screens and Fruit Roll Sheets both come two in a pack and were about $6-7 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Extra trays (two in a pack) were $9.99 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
Next up I will be writing about each food, or craft I try. Yes, it says you can use it for crafts like dough ornaments, drying flowers, or making pet treats!