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797 of 817 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Kit!
I was in the market for a dehydrator mainly for making beef jerky, as I am a jerky lover. I visited frequent local chains such as Walmart (in 4 different cities). All stores seemed to be out of the base Nesco FD-61 model. I reluctantly ordered this kit from [...] as it contained all the 'extras.'

When it arrived I opened the box to see:

o) Nesco...
Published on August 24, 2007 by Greg

versus
158 of 205 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not actually made in USA.
It performed very well in making jerky, though needs added trays to do more than about 3 lbs of meat at one time.

Really my only dissapointment was the feeling of being conned by the large "Made in USA" advertisement on the outside of the box. You can feel the pbysical quality is better than most completely China-made versions, but to my surprise, on the...
Published on November 5, 2009 by Amazon Customer


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797 of 817 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Kit!, August 24, 2007
By 
Greg (Southern California) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator All-In-One Kit with Jerky Gun (Kitchen)
I was in the market for a dehydrator mainly for making beef jerky, as I am a jerky lover. I visited frequent local chains such as Walmart (in 4 different cities). All stores seemed to be out of the base Nesco FD-61 model. I reluctantly ordered this kit from [...] as it contained all the 'extras.'

When it arrived I opened the box to see:

o) Nesco American Harvest FD-61 Food Dehydrator. One base, 4 large trays, and a power head rated at 500 watts, variable climate control (~95-155 temp range for various things). Most of the accessories that came with the kit were located inside the trays. Made in the USA! The dehydrator is rated as whisper quiet and is rather quiet. The emitting hum is close to quiet window-mounted AC unit. The unit is very stable and the construction is excellent. This unit really does get warm.

o) One extra tray (totalling 5 trays). Keep in mind that although this unit is expandable to 12 trays, you may have to begin rotating lower trays to the top during the drying process. With the included 5 trays it doesn't seem necessary, though I do trade the top tray with the bottom tray after the first hour during jerky drying.

o) A Jerky Kit. The Kit included a jerky gun, 3 tips, and 5 cures and 5 seasonings. The Jerky gun holds almost 3/4lb ground beef jerky mix. The tips included extrude a strip shape, narrow beef stick shape, and wide beef stick shape. The seasonings and cures are for ground beef as well. For each one pound of ground beef, you mix in one packet of cure and one packet of seasoning. The gun is great and works well. My only complaint is that that when the plunger is at the end (expelled all beef mix), there is some jerky left in the tip. This is especially true to the narrow and wide beef stick tips as they hold almost a full piece left.

o) Two Clean-a-Screens. These are screens with narrower holes for placement on a tray to prevent smaller food from falling as well as preventing sticky food (bananas, pineapple) from being hard to release once it's done drying. I have not used these yet though I have seen them used and they work well.

o) Two fruit "roll-up" trays. These are trays that cover the existing trays to prevent anything from falling below. The material is on the softer side so food release will be easy once drying is complete. I haven't used them for fruit rolls yet, though I hear they work great for that. I do, however, use them on the bottom tray to catch grease and other 'junk' when I dehydrate my beef.

o) Recipe/Guide. This book has the usual instructions and care handling. It also includes many recipes and instructions, tips and suggestions for preparing fruits, vegetables, meats (i.e. jerky), herbs, desserts, hobbies/crafts, and more. There are many cool recipes in here along with neat crafts such as wreaths that I plan to use.

Overall, this is an excellent kit and well worth the money. All items separate cost quite a bit. Don't forget, it's also made in the USA!
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401 of 412 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Choice of Dehydrator!, February 28, 2008
This review is from: Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator All-In-One Kit with Jerky Gun (Kitchen)
I had read many reviews on this site and others about which dehydrator to buy. I was impressed by all of the great things I read about the Nesco FD-61, so I got it!

I have used it 2 times and now have some comments to make. I started with 5 trays of mixed fruits, banana chips, orange slices, and apple slices. I dried them for approximately 12-15 hours. The bananas were not that great, still a bit too chewy. The apples were PERFECT. They had the same taste and texture as the store-bought dried apples. The orange slices were great (according to my 12 yo son) and crunchy. My deduction is that it's probably better to only use one type of fruit at a time. I'll be trying the bananas again on their own and see if I can get them a bit more crunchy next time.

The second time I decided to use the handy jerky gun and spices that came with the unit. I bought some 3% fat burger. (it calls for VERY low fat meat) I mixed it up with the 'general' spice packet that came with it and opted to use the flat jerky attachment. The recipe book said it would take about 12 hrs. It also calls for you to pat off the grease every couple of hours during the process. By the time I went to dab them at about 4 hrs... they were almost done! I gave them another hour and they were PERFECT! The general spice wasn't my kids' favorite, so I am on a mission to get them some other flavors.

My next endeavor will be the jerky with the 'sticks' like slimjims. I am going to assume they take longer than the flat sticks, but we'll see.

I have read numerous complaints about wasted meat with the jerky gun. I found that if you use a blunt knife and your fingers, you can get all of the meat through the flat jerky piece. As far as the slimjim/stick piece, a chopstick will push that meat through. Oh, one last thing, your dehydrator (as it comes here) will hold 1 - 1.5 lbs of meat, which is the amount those seasoning packets call for anyway.

For anyone not sure what to get, I would recommend this product 100%! For someone who has never dehydrated before, this is a great and easy product to learn and use. I had read that most units are very loud, this one is NOT. My kitchen is directly next to my living room. I didn't hardly even hear it running. My dishwasher is 10 times louder.

Okay, you've read this... now go click 'Buy'! LOL
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218 of 223 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product at a good price, June 22, 2007
By 
Fruit grower (Vista, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator All-In-One Kit with Jerky Gun (Kitchen)
This is the first dehydrator we've used, although we did some sun-drying in years past. Cookie sheets on the porch are not capable of handling this year's bumper crop of peaches, apples, and apricots -- but this machine is! The dehydrator works great; it is well-designed and made of good quality materials. It is also quiet and easy to clean. The top-mounted fan distributes air evenly, although we found it useful to rotate the top tray to the bottom after the first 2-3 hours of drying. After that, the trays can be left in place. The dehydrator includes five trays, each capable of drying 20 medium-sized apricots (split in half). That's a 100 apricots per load!

The machine lacks an on/off switch and must be unplugged when checking on the drying, so we use it with a lighted plug-in switch from a hardware store (about $3). The instruction book is very well-written and helpful. Overall, it's a great product and made in USA too.
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114 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for backpacking!, July 28, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator All-In-One Kit with Jerky Gun (Kitchen)
I love this thing. The trays and screens are currently soaking in my tub with some soap so I can dry my latest round of backpacking food for the summer.

I bought this product for a month-long backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada. I'd previously eaten freeze-dried food, but honestly - the stuff isn't that good, is expensive, and there's never enough. On this trip I ate home-dried fresh fruit (it's hard to find good dried bananas, pears, and pineapple - but easy now!), spaghetti with delicious meat sauce, chicken alfredo, rice and beef and beans, and Thai yellow curry (including homemade yellow curry sauce!) - all due to the dehydrator. I've dried meat (fresh and canned - just cook the fresh first), fruit, vegetables, sauces, beans, pasta, and more on this handy little device, all without a hitch and with delicious results. My meals received major compliments from other hikers, envious of my dehydrator. I've found it great for buying bulk produce from the farmer's market and having dried peaches for months (or weeks, depending on how fast we eat them!), dried herbs, and more.

The device is easy to use - a temperature gauge (which requires a little adjustment since it doesn't go all the way in one direction, but trivial to work around) makes food drying easy and safe - especially for meat. The two solid trays are great for sauces and beans and beef; you can fake more with saran wrap and the other trays. The screens aren't that useful for keeping the dehydrator clean, but are great for smaller things (dried frozen vegetables, smaller dried fruit) and are indeed easy to clean. My only complaint is that the trays themselves are hard to clean; they take up a lot of dishwasher space and are annoying to scrub in the sink, but signs show that the latest technique of tub washing is easy and effective. The fact that the heating element is on the top prevents it from getting dirty (don't want to soak the motor!) and it distributes heat evenly (although you may want to rotate the trays occasionally for best results). The bottom solid tray is washable too. And, as an added bonus, it still fits in the original box, which has gone through two moves safely!

Haven't tried the jerky gun, but it looks fun.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!!, January 9, 2007
This review is from: Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator All-In-One Kit with Jerky Gun (Kitchen)
Totally satisfied with this product. Does everything it

said it would. Makes jerky in record time and the gun and

spices were great extras. Well worth the money if you are

interested in a dehydrator
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow, January 6, 2009
This review is from: Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator All-In-One Kit with Jerky Gun (Kitchen)
It's winter so I haven't had the chance to use it with my garden vegetables.
But herb! They all kept their scent, their color, wonderful.
The family is also going through bags of apples, quickly dipped in oj and dried.
Favorite quick snacks for the kids (4 and 8).
Highly recommend.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tasty Jerky and Banana Chips, September 26, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator All-In-One Kit with Jerky Gun (Kitchen)
The Snackmaster is a fairly standard dehydrator.

Pros:
* It comes with 5 trays which is nice because I only use two or three at a time, and swap them out between uses so I always have a clean set ready to go.
* It has a heat setting on top so you can set more sensitive items at a lower temperature, however I usually dry things with the top two settings
* I'm drying a lot of veggies so I can make vegetable soup this winter.
* Dried Onions and Garlic are great to use for cooking later.
* The Jerky gun is nice, however it is messy. Make sure you don't overdry your jerky, or you'll literally cut your gums up eating it.
* Banana chips are easy to make- put them on the mesh insert, and half way through, flip the mesh on the tray and they'll dry and peel right off.
* The Jerky mix that comes with it is fairly tasty.

Cons:
* I hate cleaning it. Hate Hate Hate. If you use the platters, and you spill your fruit paste, it'll take forever to clean it off once it dries.
* the base has grooves- if you get drips in those grooves and it gets down to the inside of the feet, you'll never get it out.
* It is dishwasher safe, but the trays don't fit in my dishwasher very well.
* There's no off button, which means you're constantly plugging and unplugging it.

To be honest, you probably won't find a better dehydrator- it gets the job done as well as can be expected. Other than the cleaning grief, it's very nice.
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59 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars reliable, quick, adjustable dehydrator, September 1, 2005
By 
A. Colgan (Lovely Chester County, PA, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator All-In-One Kit with Jerky Gun (Kitchen)
This dehydrator has been in use almost constantly since we got it. We've dryed peaches and tomatoes with great, even, quick results even in the incredible humidity of SE PA in August. Can't wait for apples and jerky.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Little Dehydrator, September 30, 2008
By 
This review is from: Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator All-In-One Kit with Jerky Gun (Kitchen)
I got this from Santa last Xmas. What a nice appliance. I have used a couple of other dehydrators, and this one is the best one. Tho it doesn't say so in the description, mine came w/2 roll-up trays, and 2 clean a screen liners.

I have used mine to dry garlic for garlic powder. I use a Kyocera Adjustable Mandolin Slicer to slice the cloves thinly for drying. I have also dried hot peppers, apples, basil, dill, and a few other things.

Pros:
-Top-mounted power unit keeps it free of goop, seeds etc.
-Adjustable temperature.
-Fan circulated heat for even drying without rotating trays.
-Fairly quiet, tho you'll know it's running.
-Easy cleanup. This is where the top-mount power unit design shines. The bottom where all the goop drips goes right into the sink with the trays.
-Clear instructions.

Cons:
-Only one: No power switch. Plug in for on, unplug for off. I solved that with an in-line switch from the hardware store.

The instructions say top-rack dishwasher safe, but they are too big for my dishwasher. Not to worry, tho, because they clean up easily in soapy water. To dry, shake off the excess water, assemble the unit, and turn it on on high for a few minutes.

If you are looking for a dehydrator, this one should be on your short list!
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Food dehydrator, January 16, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator All-In-One Kit with Jerky Gun (Kitchen)
Easy to use, easy to clean. Very reasonable price for all extras--more trays, jerky making materials, liners. We use it a lot.
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