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Nesco/American Harvest FD-80 Square-Shaped Dehydrator
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- Easy-to-use dehydrator for drying fruit, vegetables, herbs, and jerky
- Air-circulation system ensures fast, even drying; no need to rotate trays
- Adjustable thermostat; printed guidelines on motor housing
- Bale handle; dishwasher-safe parts; instruction manual
- Measures 14-1/2 by 14-1/2 by 9-5/8 inches; 1-year limited warranty
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|Item Dimensions||15.25 x 15.25 x 10 in||10.25 x 15.25 x 15.63 in||22.13 x 13.75 x 13.87 in||15.5 x 15.5 x 9.5 in||17 x 19 x 12.5 in||11 x 13 x 13 in|
|Item Weight||9.35 lbs||9.9 lbs||9 lbs||8.95 lbs||22 lbs||8.76 lbs|
|Material Type||Plastic||Plastic||Plastic||Plastic||Plastic||BPA Free Plastic|
|Wattage||700 watts||—||—||1,000 watts||440 watts||500 watts|
Dry slices of fruit and vegetables, herbs and flowers, granola, or strips of jerky using this easy-to-operate dehydrator. With its square shape, the countertop appliance provides 41-percent more room for drying compared to round dehydrators. It also features a unique air-circulation system with a top-mounted fan and patented Converga-Flow Action, which pressurizes heated air downward through the outer ring and horizontally across each tray, converging at the center. This delivers not only speedy results but uniformity, so foods dry evenly--no need to rotate the trays around during operation. Its 700-watt motor also helps ensure fast drying times for results in hours versus days. A simple control knob adjusts the heat from 95 degrees to 155 degrees F to accommodate appropriate drying temperatures, and printed guidelines on the motor housing help determine the correct thermostat setting. Other highlights include a bale handle for removing the power head, dishwasher-safe parts, and an instruction manual for getting started. The dehydrator measures 14-1/2 by 14-1/2 by 9-5/8 inches and carries a one-year limited warranty.
From the Manufacturer
NESCO/American Harvest - "The Best Food Dehydrators in the World."
NESCO/American Harvest has been the leader in food dehydrators for over 30 years. These units feature patented technologies that dry your food faster and more evenly than any of the competing models available, we know, because we've tried them all. Our Converge-a-Flow air flow assures even drying from top to bottom, without the tray rotation required by others.
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced "pro", making beef jerky, drying fruits, vegetables, herbs, or flowers, NESCO/American Harvest offers the best units available.
Introducing our newest dehydrator the FD-80 square dehydrator & jerky maker. This innovative design features 700 watts of drying power, and generates maximum speed and quality for dehydrating fruits, vegetables, beef jerky, and venison jerky. The top mounted fan eliminates liquids dripping into the heating chamber.
- Adjustable Thermostat
The adjustable thermostat allows you to dry different foods at proper temperatures (95-155º F), providing the flexibility to produce the best drying results.
- New, Powerful Top Mounted Fan
Top mounted fan and 700 watts of drying power generate maximum speed and quality for dehydrating fruits, vegetables, and jerky. Helps dry food in hours, not days like other food dehydrators.
- ExpandableThe FD-80 comes with 4 trays, but is expandable to 8 trays. Additional SQT-2 Add-A-Trays available in sets of 2.
- Dehydrate a Variety, All at Once
The patented Converga-Flow drying system forces air down the exterior pressurized chamber (not through the trays). The hot air is forced horizontally across each individual tray, converging on the core for fast, even and nutritious drying. No flavor mixing and no need to rotate trays.
Because of the unique design of the patented Converga-Flow system of your NESCO/American Harvest dehydrator, you’ll be surprised at how quickly most foods dry. Drying times may vary, depending on the type and amount of food, thickness and evenness of the slices, percentage of water in the food, humidity, temperature of air, altitude and the model of NESCO /American Harvest dehydrator you are using. Drying times may also vary greatly from one area to another and from day to day, depending on the climatic conditions. Keep records to help you predict drying times for specific foods.
Fruits, fruit rolls and vegetables should be dried at 130°F to 140°F (55°C to 60°C). By drying foods in this temperature range you will minimize the loss of heat-sensitive vitamins A and C. All foods sweat when they begin to dry, the temperature may be set higher than 140°F (60°C) during the first couple of hours of drying. The actual temperature of the food will remain 15°F to 20°F (6o to 8o°C) lower than the air temperature for the first couple of hours. Meats and fish should be dried on the highest temperature setting of your dehydrator. These temperatures also keep bacteria and other spoilage micro-organisms, common to meat and fish, to a minimum during the first stages of drying. Nuts and seeds are high in oil, and if higher temperatures are used, they will tend to become rancid, developing off flavors. The best temperature is from 90°F to 100°F (30°C to 40°C). Herbs and spices are most flavorful when they first open and should be harvested while very fresh, before they begin to blossom. Because the aromatic oils are very sensitive, temperatures should be 90°F to 100°F (30°C to 40°C) for drying. Take care not to load trays too heavily as this will prolong the drying time. Dried flowers, herbs and spices used for potpourri should be dried at temperatures ranging from 90°F to 100°F (30°C to 40°C) to maintain aroma and color.
Drying Fruit Rolls
Fruit rolls are a favorite snack for young and old alike. It is a chewy fruit product made from puréed fresh fruit, which has been dried and rolled into snack sized pieces. Fruit rolls are easy to make and cost less than those bought at the store. Selection Almost any fruit will make an excellent fruit roll. Most fruits can also be combined with others. Some fruits, such as apples, are high in pectin and fiber, and have an excellent texture when dried. The combinations are limitless. Use your imagination and have fun. Use fresh fruit in season. You can also use slightly overripe fruits, irregularly shaped fruits, or slightly bruised fruits that would be unsuitable for canning or drying. Some fruits, such as citrus, should be used in combination with other fruits because they have so much liquid and very little pulp. If you find that a fruit is too runny, combine it with apple, applesauce or a similar fruit that will give it more substance. When fresh fruits are not available, canned fruits (either sweetened or un-sweetened) can be used. Simply drain the liquid, and pour the fruit into the blender. Applesauce can be taken directly from the container for wonderful fruit rolls. Frozen fruits can also be used, although they tend to be a bit more runny. Simply thaw and follow directions for using fresh fruits.
Jerky is a favorite snack for school, lunch, on the trail or just about anywhere. It is made by seasoning lean, raw meat in a salt mixture, then drying it without cooking. The finished product is a protein-rich exercise in chewing and ever so delicious. Jerky also makes a savory broth base for soups and stews.
Homemade jerky is much less expensive than jerky slices or sticks purchased at a grocery or convenience store. Most lean meats will yield about 1 pound of jerky for 3 pounds of fresh meat.
Jerky may be made from a variety of wild game meats, fish and poultry. Use filets of fish and the breast of chicken. When purchasing meats for jerky, choose lean meats with minimal marbling (fat), as fat tends to get rancid during storage. A lean cut of flank steak or round steak makes excellent jerky. You can make delicious jerky from ground meat, using the NESCO/American Harvest Jerky WorksTM kit. It’s best to use ground round or lean (or extra lean) meat. Season with NESCO/ Harvest Jerky seasoning mixes.
- Q: What is dehydrating?
A: Dehydrating is a method of food preservation in which moisture is removed from the food. Dehydrating inhibits growth of microorganisms and decay. Dehydrating can dramatically increase storage life for food.
- Q: Does Dehydrating food destroy its nutrients?
A: Dehydrating causes minimal loss of nutrients, but if done properly that loss is quite small. You will retain about 90% of the vitamins and minerals. When using higher heats, foods will dehydrate faster, but this will result in more nutrient loss.
- Q: How do you know when foods are dry?
A: Always let foods cool for a few minutes. Check to see if the food is still moist or sticky. If it is leathery and pliable, it is usually done. However, foods that are overdried may become brittle and turn brown.
- Q: How do you store dried foods?
A: Always store dried foods in airtight containers. Store containers in a cool, dry place. Exposure to humidity, light and air during storage adversely affects storage life of dried foods.
- Q: How long can I store dried food?
A: We recommend a maximum storage time of one year for the best appearance and nutritional value. Vacuum packing greatly extends shelf life. Refrigeration or freezing will double or triple shelf life.
- Q: How long does it take to dehydrate foods?
A: It depends on the type of food you are dehydrating, quantities, and capabilities of dehydrator. Refer to your fruit drying guidelines.
- Q: If I powdered my dried vegetables, what could I use them for?
A: Powdered onion and garlic, of course, are great seasonings for meats and sauces. Powdered tomatoes can be reconstituted into tomato sauce, paste, catsup, juice or soup. A blender or food processor will give you the finest texture. Store in air-tight container.
- Q: Is it necessary to pretreat foods before dehydrating them?
A: Pretreating can enhance color and flavor of certain foods, but is not necessary. Pretreatment options are dipping, blanching, and marinating.
- Q: My apples and pears have darkened to a rusty-brown color while drying. Are they safe to eat?
A: Yes. Fruits that have turned brownish color are safe to eat. Many fruits will oxidize when the flesh of the fruit is exposed to air. By pretreating fruits, oxidation is reduced.
- Q: What kinds of foods can you dehydrate?
A: You can dry fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs, flowers, pet treats, etc. Dry left over bread for bread crumbs. You can dry almost anything that contains water.
- Q: Why should the edges of my fruit leather be thicker than the center?
A: With fruit leathers, the edges of mixture tend to dry first. If edges are the same thickness as center, they will dry too quickly and become brittle.
- Q: Will flavors mix if I dry different foods together in the same dehydrator?
A: If you dry foods in the same category, such as fruits with other fruits and vegetables with other vegetables, the flavors should not mix. However, we do not recommend drying onions with any other foods.
- Q: Are dehydrated foods recommended for camping and hiking?
A: You can use dehydrated ingredients to speed up preparation time. Dehydrated foods are lightweight and easy to carry in your backpack or camper.
- Q: What are the benefits of food drying?
A: There are many benefits of drying food. Here are some:
- You are in control of the quality of food you eat.
- You will save money.
- You can take advantage of supermarket specials.
- You can create a tasty snack that is good for you.
- You can take advantage of your own garden by drying your fruits and vegetables to be used year round.
- Q: My banana chips don't taste or look like the ones in the stores. What can I do?
A: The banana chips you buy in the store are deep fried. Dehydrating your own banana chips taste great and are more nutritious than store bought.
- Q: The fruit sticks to the trays. How can I prevent this?
A: Fruits or thinly sliced vegetables may stick to your trays. You may want to purchase Clean-A-Screens to put on your trays to prevent these items from sticking.
Top customer reviews
I also got two sets of the Add-a-tray (two trays per package). It dries with all 8 trays just fine. I do rotate the trays about half way through, but I'm not sure I would really have to. The instructions say that the trays are top shelf dishwasher safe, but that would limit my dishwasher to only two trays per load, so I take my top rack out of the dishwasher and stand the trays vertically in the lower rack. I can get all eight trays and the base into the dishwasher at once. I figured that my water heater is only set to 125 degrees and I dry jerky at 165, so the trays shouldn't have any problem. Just make sure that you turn off any internal water heating the dishwasher my have and make sure that you turn off heated drying (use air dry). I just wait for the washer to stop, take out the trays and shake them off. Stack them, put on the power head and run it at 125 for 30 minutes. All nice, clean and dry.
Now for the hint that Nesco doesn't want me to share :) for fruit, you really need to use the Clean Screens, but at 8 bucks for a pair, you'll spend $32.00 (plus any shipping) to get enough for all 8 trays. I went to my local craft store (you know the one owned by Michael) and bought 16 sheets of plastic embroidery mesh (7 square mesh) that were 14" X 10" (the ones you would use to make those awful square Kleenex box covers). Take two sheets per tray and cut them out yourself with kitchen shears. Put them together butted up on the long side and then cut the perimeter to fit the tray and cut out the hole (1/2 of the hole in each sheet where they are butted up) for the center and then lay the two pieces into the tray. The sheets were $0.33 each, so 16 sheets only cost $5.28 and a bit of time to cut them out. Didn't really need them for the cantaloupe, but I'd still be cleaning kiwi and bananas off the trays if I hadn't used them. I throw them into the dishwasher with the trays and just run the whole load at once. All in all, this was a great buy and I'm glad I got it.
---- UPDATE 11 January 2010 ----
So, I've spent a few more months with my dry friend... that's a pun... :-)
This unit is now $49. I bought it and am happy with it at $70. Now, there is no reason not to give it a try!
About 3 months ago, I bought the jerky squeeze gun. I got it at BiMart in Oregon for $2 more than you can get it here at Amazon (the instant gratification thing). Available here. Search for Nesco BJX-5 American Harvest Jumbo Jerky Works Kit. My daughter and I make the round "slim-jim" type jerky every couple of months (about 4 lbs of 96% lean ground beef each time). The squeeze gun is as easy as using a caulking gun. Actually even better since you really don't need to be concerned about the aesthetic appearance of the final product... I mean we're taking jerky here and you can't eat caulk. I use the Nesco spicy mix with additional black pepper, powered garlic and cayenne pepper (lot's of cayenne pepper).
We've also, since buying it, done some fruit leather. Just used a jar of store bought apple sauce with a bit of added cinnamon. Next time, I think we'll put a bit of Splenda(r) in it just to "sweeten" the final product a bit. Tip... even using processed apple sauce, we put it through the blender to completely break it down into a slurry.
My "home made" clean screens are still preforming perfectly. Hope this update helps others.
---- UPDATE 20 January 2010 ----
Whoops... I see that the price is back up to $65. Well, still a fine product regardless.
---- UPDATE 2 January 2011 -----
Well, it's been a year and not so much an update as an opportunity to say Happy New Year to you all.
Just before Christmas, the Lovely Mrs. symo, got a really good deal on some rump roast (two 7 lb pieces). It was very lean and after slicing, was easy to cut the one strand of tough sinew out. Used the Mr. Yoshida's again, but this time cut it 2 parts to 1 part water. Then put it into a sauce pan and heated to high simmer (did not let it boil). Added red chili flakes, onion powder, garlic powder and some Ow Powder ([...]). Let the mixture cool to room temp. I'm still working/experimenting with the final amounts of Ow. Marinaded the slices for 12 hours. Had 6 of the eight trays loaded. On two trays, I sprinkled (liberally) with fine grind black pepper. Came out fantastic.
Now a word about the Ow Powder. If you go to their website and aren't scared, then go back there again :-) This is the hot of the hot. I found this stuff in Albuquerque, at the International Firey Foods Festival. At the festival, I dipped a dry wooden coffee stirrer into the powder. Once the tears stopped, I found that I could drink 3 12-ounce bottles of Budweiser in about 2.4 minutes :-)
For 3 cups of the marinade (2 parts Mr. Y and 1 part water and all the other "stuff" mentioned above), I added 1/4 teaspoon of Ow. Next time I'll probably go with 3/8 teaspoon. This stuff starts off slow, but you will get some fire at the end. It contains a mixture of chili peppers, one of which is bhut jolokia (Indian pepper that was put on the planet by the All Mighty for some sadistic purpose, I'm sure). They also have pure ground bhut jolokia, but I think your should look into a gas mask/respirator before ordering that.
And now a word about the slices. Got a slicer for my B-day in October. One of the various brands that sell for around $69 here and elsewhere (http://www.amazon.com/Kitchen-Smart-Electric-Food-Slicer/dp/B002JKX59C/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1294017780&sr=8-14). Now this is the way to go for sliced jerky. First time I used it, I cut the slices too thin and the marinade basically dissolved the meat into mush :-) Second time, I sliced the meat somewhere around 3/16. This thickness worked very well. Really, the slicer is a great add-on if you really want to do slab jerky vs. ground jerky.
Oh, oh, oh... just remembered. Also I've taken to starting my slab jerky at the 165 degree setting for about 2 hours and then backing it down to between the 115 and 125 and letting it go until dry. This will cause you to need to rotate the trays, but the results are really worth the extra effort.
So, there you have it. Updated report and a couple of extras thrown in for free :-)
---- UPDATE 14 January 2012 -----
I'm still dehydrating with my Nesco. Daughter has moved on to her own place (yea! for her... and for mother and I). The wife and I are contemplating a move to Ecuador for our retirement. We were down there in November and after a trip to the market in the plaza (Otavalo), we saw so many FRESH fruits and vegetables (some of the fruits I didn't even know) that we're excited to take the Nesco there.
I really haven't tried much more experimenting as everything is working great, just as I've described over the last 2 1/2 years. My original "homemade" clean screens look as good as they did on the day I made them. I still love cantaloupe with pepper sprinkled on it and we're going to do another sliced jerky batch tomorrow to take with me to Ecuador on Thursday (going for language school for a month).
--- Update to the update --- Well, I did make a big batch and took 3/4 of it to work... don't those people eat? By noon, it was gone. The 1/4 I had left was in the suitcase, until I found out that dried meat is on the list of what you can't take. Oh well, at least I'll have 1/4 pound to come home to :-)
This will probably be my last update to the original post, but don't think I won't be sticking around, just in case I learn something new. Thank you all for your feedback and I hope this finds you all well and happy with your Nesco dehydrator.
Happy New Year (Feliz Año Nuevo) to you all and may God bless.
---- UPDATE 2 January 2013 -----
Happy New Year to all of you! It's great to see that this thread is still active.
This coming weekend, we're going to do apples. Got a case as a present and plan on making some 3/8 slices (soaked in Fruit Fresh) for some yum chews.
Dehydrated this last year, 6 more batches of the sliced jerky and probably 8-9 batches of the ground jerky. Did some pineapple and other fruits. Everything working great. Didn't experiment too much on the jerky, as I really have my spices dialed in for the family and the guys at work... who, apparently still don't eat regularly, considering they way they go through the jerky. My original substitute clean screens are working perfectly.
Retirement is less than 90 days away (29 March 2013). I have now attended language school in Ecuador for two months (my wife has been for a month) and I have all my documents lined out for the Residency Visa. Mid April is the "fly away" time frame. Lynn will come next year (school contract thing).
I hope you all have a great time using this Nesco Dehydrator! Like I said before, I'll be spending less "active" time here, but even Ecuador has internet connections... I'll be keeping an eye on the discussions. Experiment, have fun, eat what you make, experiment some more.
I've had a great time in this thread and still want to know how long a million mangos take to dry :-)
---- UPDATE 9 January 2014 -----
Hope everyone had a great Christmas, and I bid you Happy New Year.
Well, the mid April "fly away" didn't exactly pan out... the company asked me to stay through May, so I did. However on 27 September 2013 I gathered everything I could in two suitcases, a briefcase and a backpack and set off for Ecuador. Submitted all my paperwork on 14 October and on 4 December was notified that my permanent visa was approved. So now I have my visa and my cedula (national identification document). I'm legal :-)
2013 found me doing more "slab" jerky than the ground type and I started experimenting again with fruits. The dehydrator is still working flawlessly, and I'm still amazed everytime I dry something with how well it does. Now I will be taking a respite from Nessy as I won't have my household goods shipped before this summer.
Keep dehydrating and enjoying the great results.
---- UPDATE 7 February 2015 -----
Whoops... almost missed my 2015 update. Daughter is getting married in April, and has already put in her "order" for jerky. Life in Ecuador is fantastic. The fruits, vegetables, meats from the Mercados is excellent. I've lost 50 lbs. (none of which am I looking to find), by walking (haven't driven a car for the last year) and eating better. I'll be in EEUU for two weeks... Nessy has his work cut out for him :-). Packaged dried meat is OK to bring into the country... I'll be bringing about 10 lbs. worth. I'm really wanting to try to bring Nessy back with me, then I would have both, FRESH produce and meat to start working with. I'll update the post if I can get the darned thing through customs :-)
Update: I still use this dehydrator. But I would no longer recommend it if you are going to do alot of dehydrating. I spent the extra money and bought an Excalibur and it is amazing how more efficient it is compared to the Nesco square dehydrator. While I liked having the fan element on the top away from any drips it is not as efficient as the Excalibur's fan that blows the air across the trays instead of vertically through all the trays and the wet food. The Excalibur is noisier than the Nesco.
Bottom line: If noise is a bigger issue than efficiency for you then get the Nesco. If efficiency is more important than noise and you will be dehydrating a lot then splurge for the Excalibur with the horizontal blowing air.
It helps to do some research, thoroughly reading the guidebook that comes with this Nesco, and also browsing the Web to learn from others. I have made beef jerky numerous times, both from marinated strips of meat, and from ground beef extruded from my "jerky gun," (like caulk only MUCH better tasting). I kept track of marinade ingredients and cooking times for a while, so I could learn what tastes best (for me), and that was fun. I've done lots of different fruit, and find that apples slices are easiest and, dusted with cinnamon, make a fabulous travel snack. Kiwi and apricots were interesting, strawberries became raisin-sized, bananas were a mess. It's fun to just play around, and eat the results. I've also done some herbs, and at one point I dried some orange peel and ginger, ground it up with some whole black pepper, and made my own pork spice blend!
If you've never dehydrated before, be aware that beef slices can marinate for 24-36 hours, but take only about 5 hours to dry. Fresh fruit can be cut up and dried immediately, but can take up to 24 hours in the machine. If you do make beef jerky, please try Mr Yoshida's "Original Gourmet" marinade, available in a large jar at Costco. I use it (cut 2:1 with water) as a base for all my jerky attempts. With three pounds of good lean beef, you can make about 20 ounces of jerky, and not the nasty gunk that's mass produced. I've paid $8 for 4 ounces of homemade jerky at hot sauce shows. So for about a $12 investment (plus electricity) in fresh beef, you've made $40 worth of brilliant jerky. With extra lean ground beef, you skip the marinating time (just mix the ingredients in), and get super tasty beef "sticks" (or strips) in about 5 hours.
Five years on, I'm still enjoying the heck out of this machine. Best kitchen gadget I ever bought.
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The square shape is easier for me to work with.