on February 5, 2010
This Excalibur dehydrator has exceeded my expectations. It makes great organic, "less sweet" fruit rollups and dehydrates cooked broccoli to a crunchy treat. It does make more noise than a fan so make sure to put it away from your bedroom if you will be running it overnight. Make sure to buy the Paraflexx sheets sold separately if you intend to make rollups. The recipe book is very helpful and quite extensive. I'm delighted with it and wish I had purchased this dehydrator sooner.
on September 28, 2011
I wanted to write a review after immediately trying it and an then do an update (in the near future). I have had the 5 tray model (2500) for three days. I was hesitant about getting the 5 tray since everyone says it is not large enough and to get the 9 tray. Since I live alone, I opted for the 5 tray. It's a nice looking machine with minimal parts. The trays are a little flimsy but sufficient. I had heard a lot of people complain about the noise but I don't think it is loud at all. Maybe the 9 tray has a larger fan making it loud but the 5 tray is like a box fan on medium speed.
The first thing I tried was Kale chips. Since kale is a leafy produce it is a bit high so you have to take out three trays to fit which only leaves you two trays of kale (Which isn't very much). I guess you could squash another tray in there but didn't want to try that for my first attempt. Already I am wishing on the 9 tray.
Kale came out pretty good. You really need to try and get the leaves as uniformed as possible since the smaller ones dried first and the larger ones were still a bit chewy in spots. Obviously you could leave the larger ones in longer. The yield was nice size bowl but would really like to have done more.
I know for almost all the other items: fruit, jerky, veg's., they are flat and five trays will be enough.
Next, I tried beef jerky. The EXC did a nice job but again, keep an eye for the proper time. I did mine for 6 hours and it was bit tough. I prefer them a bit more chewy. And, London Broil was better than Eye Round. Still experimenting on "with the grain" or "against".
The I tried an onion bread. Was in there for 15 hours and was cracker like (which I wanted). The EXC did a nice even job on them. Now I am doing an apple fruit leather, apples, grapes and pineapple.
Cons: The one thing I didn't like was when I was doing the kale, I had one tray on the 2nd level, and one on the 4th level. I definitely had to rotate the trays (top/bottom)since the bottom tray had more moisture than the top. I also rotated front/back for the heck of it. I was surprised that the trays NEEDED to be rotated. This is why I took off 1 star.
As I mentioned, I wanted to give a first impression on this dryer and after I get more experience, I will give an update.
on December 16, 2010
This is a great dehydrator that I recommend for all people who would like to save food in an economical way. The food is very, very tasty and also very convenient to use. Be careful of dehydrating onions though. I did and smelled up my house for weeks! The fan is loud and annoying to me but can't be helped. My kitchen is in the open right by the living room so we moved the dehydrator to a back bedroom and set it on a foldable table. That worked great until I did the onions and that stunk up the entire guest bedroom and I tried opening windows, washing bedding, putting out baking soda, and even coffee to try to deodorize the area. I also tried opening up windows and blowing fans--still have the smell. So, be careful of what you dehydrate.
on July 20, 2009
This machine is the simplest when it comes to storage, use, and clean-up. It fits easily on my pantry shelf (sideways), though I have to say, I use it more than store it. I highly recommend buying the model with an automatic timer -- this way, you can turn it on and walk away.
The shelves are easy to load, insert, and eventually clean. The unit is quiet and uses very little electricity.
I was brand-new to dehydrating when I purchased the Excalibur. Now, I am a full-time convert!
on April 9, 2012
I bought this 5-tray Excalibur 3500 dehydrator to handle my dehydrating needs mainly due to my son's peanut allergies. Much of the pre-packaged dehydrated and free dried foods have peanut warnings about possible contamination so I decided this product would help me to store food safely for my family, save storage space, and be safe in the knowledge that during an emergency I would not be putting my son in jeopardy by exposing him to peanut products.
The dehydrator is well made, is a bit loud running on my kitchen counter adjacent to the tv in the family room.
ACTUAL USE EXAMPLE: This 5-tray model holds 9 - 1lb 4oz cans of Walmart Pineapple Slices. It will take 14+ hrs at the recommended 135 degree heat setting to dry them depending on the surrounding environment. In the effort and time required to prepare for dehydrating...I now wish I had bought the 9 tray model, my only regret.
I am now buying some Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and a heat sealer to properly store my dehydrated food and lengthen its storage life. This will allow me to store 10x more food in the same space vs. leaving it in cans.
It takes time, but I start up the dehydrator on the weekends after breakfast and before midnight I am done. Just getting started, I would not call this a 'fun' activity but it makes one feel more in control of what is in my food stores vs. using things like the cannery or buying from factories that may not disclose possible peanut exposure that could put my son at risk precisely at times when emergency help may not be available.
on July 5, 2011
Based on previous reviews I decided to buy this model. I got it to have more control about what's in the food I eat and to take dried veggies and fruits for our camping and hiking trips. I'm not disappointed.
Yes, the machine is huge, much bigger than I thought it would be and it takes a good space of the counter in my mini kitchen. So plan ahead, for me it means - no cooking while drying. When not in use make sure you have a lovely spot for it in some closet or move to a place with a bigger counter.
So far I have dried a variety of fruits, mostly apples, which all turn out to be delicious. Although it was already mentioned in the book (comes with the dehydrator), that Blueberries are not a good choice to dry, I wanted to try it out for myself. The result is - don't do it, believe what's written in the book.
Veggies, like celery, carrots and onions are extremely flavourful when revived in water. I couldn't believe it. It's important to cut everything as equal as possible. If you don't have a machine and only use your hands and a sharp kitchen knife, that's what I do, check the trays often once drying process has started.
Since this is the first time I'm using a dehydrator I'm not able to say if this one is the best on the planet, but I can say that 5 trays is the way to go. They are quickly filled up and whatever you dry it lasts for weeks, so don't hesitate to go for more trays.
on September 29, 2010
This was my first venture into dehydrating foods. After reading all of the reviews I made my choice to go with the Excalibur brand. I have been extremely pleased with the ease with which it works and the product it produces.
With the fan in the back, all of the fruit and vegetables placed on a single tray appear to be drying at the same speed so there is no need to rotate the tray from front to back, However, I have found that when I have all 5 trays loaded, I need to rotate the trays vertically. I move the top tray to the bottom and each tray up one slot. I usually will only do this a couple of times in a 12 hour period. As the fruit and vegetables get smaller from dehydration the air is able to circulate better.
The 5 tray size has been all we have needed so far but I could see a time down the road that I might have need for the 9 tray.
on September 12, 2012
I researched dehydrators before purchasing, and felt I had made an investment in a quality product that would serve me well, and that research paid off. I LOVE this! I have dehydrated zucchini chips (no oil, no fat, no salt,amazing flavor),at least 50 lbs of tomatoes by now, pears, figs, strawberries, strawberry/peach fruit leather/chips, raw coconut/cashew/lime cookies, raw portobello/vege/nut burgers (amazing), pears, chicken and carrot dog treats, and mushrooms. I sort of wish I had purchased the 9 drawer unit, as I am filling it as fast as I can with one batch after another, and have borrowed a smaller Excaliber dehydrator from a friend, and have it full all the time. It does take space, and I have mine running on my craft table in my art room. That way I don't have to listen to it 24/7 nor dedicate my kitchen space to it. Finding silica gel packs to add to my jars of dried food was a little tricky, and I had to search for and purchase those online. My daughter suggested I make my own out of rice sewn into little muslin bags. I will try this. You just throw the used bags into the dehydrator overnight for a new dry unit when you need to. The deluxe series comes with an amazing cookbook and dehydration guide. The variable temperature settings make it possible to do everything from meat to delicate herbs without over or under heating. And you can dehydrate at settings for raw food that preserve enzymes and vitamins with nearly NO nutritional loss! I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in dehydrating. Do spend the extra few dollars to purchase the film sheets used for making leathers and squishy stuff. I used them for the vege burgers, cookies, leathers, and dog treats.
on November 9, 2011
This, simply put, is the best dehydrator i have ever owned. it's fast, dries evenly, has temp control, is easy to clean, and with just 5 trays holds double what my last dehydrator did. i love the fact that the fan is in the back instead of below the trays. i love the fact that the trays SLIDE easily in and out instead of stacking on top of each other. i use it almost entirely for jerky, and it has earned every penny i spent on it. i read a bunch of reviews before buying, and it seems people complain about the size and the sound. well, if this machine takes up too much room in your kitchen, a)you didnt plan ahead for owning a dehydrator and b) find somewhere else to put it. i live in a tiny(and i mean tiny) house with a roommate and i found space for it. if you are worried about the noise level, you shouldn't be. it's a dehydrator, it makes a noise, no different than any other dehydrator. if you don't know what that means, it's a fan in a box making a low hum that after 5 min you forget about... absolutely nothing that should change your mind about buying this beautiful piece of equipment. im completely enamored with this machine, and when it decides it wants to quit, i will be buying another excalibur no questions asked. (after an appropriate burial, of course)
on July 23, 2010
I have a different type of dehydrator already but heard such good things about the Excalibur that I just had to give it a try. I LOVE it. So much more drying area and faster. I'm trying to find a home for my old dehydrator now.