Excalibur 3500B Excalibur 3500B 5 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator Black, 1, Black
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- 5-tray dehydrator, 8 square feet of drying space
- Built in on/off switch
- Perfect for families with small gardens
- Includes adjustable thermostat
- Easy to clean Polyscreen tray inserts
- VOLTAGE: 110V
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Dehydration is the healthiest, easiest, and most economical way to preserve foods. Load the trays and set the temperature, the Excalibur dries the contents of all trays evenly so everything's done at once. Dehydration concentrates the natural flavor, sweetness, and aromas of your food. Leaving you with a flavor that's far healthier than high-fat snacks and high-sugar candies that are filled with chemical preservatives. The Excalibur 5-Tray Small Garden dehydrator provides 8 square feet of drying space, and is perfect for families with small gardens. Includes flexible polyscreen tray inserts to prevent foods from sticking to trays, 5-Inch fan, built in on/off switch, and adjustable thermostat.
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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.
I bought the 5 tray as I'm on my own and didn't see that I would need 9 trays. However, now I'm seeing the benefits of having more trays - especially in the summer when there will be an abundance of produce. So, that being said, I'd recommend that you go with the most trays that you can.
The unit is quite big and I have limited counter space in my kitchen. So this makes it awkward to use and store - but again - that's my problem - not the appliance's. It's noisy and it rattles from time to time. This tends to get on my nerves when it has to be on for 12+ hours. My co-worker agreed and told me they moved theirs to a spare room in their house - and some of her friends even use the garage. So that will be what I do in the future. I have been leaving it on overnight now that I've used it a couple of times and am confident that its not defective, but I really don't like leaving appliances on like that. So, I'll move it and all my little annoyances will be addressed and then I'll be 100% in love with it!
I did not get the model that has a timer - I can definitely see the appeal in that. It would be nice to be able to program it to turn off as it can get tricky to time the dehydration process within the hours I am home/awake.
I am mostly using it to dehydrate soaked and sprouted nuts. This is awesome! The nuts come out nice and crunchy just like they've been roasted. I've been keeping the dial at 105 degrees to maintain maximum enzymes. I also make my own almond milk, and so then I dehydrate the pulp left over and now have a nice supply of almond meal/flour.
I've made terrific crackers and wraps as well.
Have not dehydrated any fruit yet - will do that as local fruit comes into season.
All in all, it's been a great addition to my raw food kitchen and once I figure out a home for it, I'm sure we'll co-exist for many years to come :)