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Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator, White - MADE IN USA
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- Adjustable thermostat allows you to dry different foods at proper temperatures (95º-160º F)
- Powerful Top Mounted Fan. 600 watts of drying power. 120 Volt
- Comes with 5 trays, but is expandable to 12 trays. (Trays are 13 1/2" in diameter)
- Opaque Vita-Save exterior helps block harmful light which destroys nutritional content of food being dehydrated
- 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
- Made in the USA of Global and Domestic parts
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From the manufacturer
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.
NESCO Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
The Snackmaster Pro is one of the newest dehydrators in the NESCO/American Harvest product line. It's sleek, contemporary design In grey and marble color features a top mounted fan, 600 watts of drying power, and generates maximum speed and quality for dehydrating fruits, vegetables, beef jerky, and venison jerky. Helps dry food in hours, not days like ordinary food dehydrators.
Makes delicious Beef Jerky even turkey jerky, and fish jerky. Make trail mix, homemade yogurt, apple snacks, banana chips, dried soup mixes, dried tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, mangoes, papaya and other dried fruits at a fraction of the cost. Make dried herbs and spices; also make potpourri and dried flowers for any occasion.
- 5 Drying Trays
- 2 Clean-A-Screens
- 2 Fruit Roll Sheets
- 3 Original Jerky Spice Packets
- 52-page Recipe and Instruction Book
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 130ºF to 140ºF (55º to 60ºC). 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 140ºF (60ºC) during the first couple of hours of drying. The actual temperature of the food will remain 15ºF to 20ºF (6º to 8ºC) 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 90ºF to 100ºF (30º to 40ºC).
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 90ºF to 100ºF (30º to 40ºC) 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 90ºF to 100ºF (30º to 40ºC) 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.
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!
- Adjustable Thermostat allows you to dry different foods at proper temperatures (95º-160º F), providing the flexibility to produce the best drying results.
- New-Powerful Top Mounted Fan has 600 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.
- Expandable unit comes with 5 trays, but is expandable to 12 trays with optional Add-A-Trays.
- Opaque Vita-Save exterior helps block harmful light which destroys nutritional content of food being dehydrated.
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.
1. What is dehydrating?
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.
2. Does Dehydrating food destroy its nutrients?
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.
3. How do you know when foods are dry?
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.
4. How do you store dried foods?
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.
5. How long can I store dried food?
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.
6. How long does it take to dehydrate foods?
It depends on the type of food you are dehydrating, quantities, and capabilities of dehydrator. Refer to your fruit drying guidelines.
7. If I powdered my dried vegetables, what could I use them for?
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.
8. Is it necessary to pretreat foods before dehydrating them?
Pretreating can enhance color and flavor of certain foods, but is not necessary. Pretreatment options are dipping, blanching, and marinating.
9. My apples and pears have darkened to a rusty-brown color while drying. Are they safe to eat?
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.
10. What kinds of foods can you dehydrate?
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.
11. Why should the edges of my fruit leather be thicker than the center?
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.
12. Will flavors mix if I dry different foods together in the same dehydrator?
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.
13. Are dehydrated foods recommended for camping and hiking?
You can use dehydrated ingredients to speed up preparation time. Dehydrated foods are lightweight and easy to carry in your backpack or camper.
14. What are the benefits of food drying?
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.
15. My banana chips don't taste or look like the ones in the stores. What can I do?
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.
16. The fruit sticks to the trays. How can I prevent this?
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.
|Double Wall Converga-Flow||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Expandable to Levels/Trays||12||12||8||30||30||20|
|Includes Fruit Roll Up Sheet||1||2||No||1||8||1|
|Matched Accessory Model Numbers||LT-2W, LM-2-6, LSS-2-6||LT-2SG, LM-2-6, LSS-2-6||SQT-2, SLD-2-6, SQM-2-6||TR-2, MS-2-6, SLD-2-6||TR-2, MS-2-6, SLD-2-6, HP-9||TR-2, MS-2-6, SLD-2-6|
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|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Item Dimensions||22.13 x 13.75 x 13.87 in||15 x 14.5 x 7.25 in||3 x 13 x 13 in||9.75 x 13.62 x 13.5 in||15 x 14.5 x 6.25 in||11 x 13 x 13 in|
|Item Weight||7.75 lbs||8.5 lbs||1.2 lbs||—||7.5 lbs||8.76 lbs|
|Material Type||Plastic||Plastic||Plastic||Plastic||Plastic||BPA Free Plastic|
|Wattage||—||750 watts||—||500 watts||600 watts||500 watts|
Dry fruit, vegetables, and jerky in hours instead of days. The unit's patented Converga-Flow drying system forces air down the exterior pressurized chamber, then horizontally across each individual tray, converging in the center, for fast, even, and nutritious drying. Flavors don't mix, and there's no need to rotate the trays. It's top-mounted fan eliminates the worry of liquids dripping into the heater chamber, and an opaque Vita-Save exterior helps block harmful lights in order to retain more of the food's nutrients and vitamins during the drying process. The unit's adjustable thermostat ranged from 95 degrees to 160 degrees F, providing the flexibility needed to ensure excellent results. It's a 600 watts unit. Five trays come included, but the unit can be expanded to 12 trays (additional trays sold separately) for drying larger quantities at one time. Accessories include two fruit roll sheets, perfect for drying semi-liquids like soups, sauces, and fruit rolls; two Clean-A-Screen flexible screens, which allow for easy drying of small items such as herbs, spices and potpourri; and three original jerky spice packets for making jerky. A 52-page recipe and instruction book also comes included. With a speckled gray design, the food dehydrator measures approximately 13-inch by 13-inch by 10-inch. FD-75A is Frustration free packaging and FD-75PR is retail packaging.
Top customer reviews
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So, from my point of view, I see a number of excellent things about this dehydrator and one main problem. Let's start with the good stuff.
So far, I've used the dehydrator to make a couple of batches of each of:
- Apple chips (thin apple slices soaked for a few hours in a combo of lemon juice and cranberry juice, then dried)
- beef jerky (this dehydrator comes with a starter park for jerky, plus I made my own marinade the next time)
- chicken jerky
- bacon bits (the ends and "bad cuts" of my own home-cured, smoked bacon, finely chopped, cooked, and then dehydrated. best bacon bits you will EVER taste)
- sweet potato dog treats (just sweet potatoes sliced lengthwise and dehydrated. Healthy, and she goes NUTS for them)
- chicken jerky dog treats (regular, inexpensive frozen chicken breast cut into strips and dehydrated, she goes nuts for those too).
The jerky is better than the packaged stuff by a pretty wide margin. There are all sorts of ways to modify it to suit your tastes, of course. My wife didn't care for the fruit dehydration at first because she was expecting crunchy apple chips like you can get at the store. They don't come out like that. They're still pliable and soft. The benefit is that all of the vitamins are still intact, whereas if they were baked to the point of crunchy, all of that good stuff goes away. You also need to grow accustomed to the relatively small yield -- slicing three whole apples and dehydrating them results in about one sandwich baggie worth of apple chips! Three pounds of meat going in will get you around one pound of jerky. So don't think you're going to make your own jerky to save money. If you're lucky you might break even (not including the time and effort, and not including cost of making the marinade or the electricity used to run the dehydrator all day). The real benefit is the flavor and lack of preservatives, etc.
It comes with five trays, but you can use as few as four (I don't know why you need a minimum of four, and I wish you could just use what you need). It also comes with a couple of inserts for small things and fruit leather type stuff. There is no power switch, you just plug it in and it starts going. The temperature can be dialed in from 95ºF to 160ºF as printed on the top (remember that problem I mentioned? yep. see below.)
The temperature seems to be pretty consistent from top to bottom. It uses a system that circulates the air not just through the middle, but also out along the edges via hollow walls on the outer circumference of the trays. It seems to operate similar to a thermostat. The fan is always on, but the heating element shuts on and off depending on the internal temperature of the unit. Once the temp falls below a certain threshold, the heater kicks back on to get it into the right range. You can tell when this happens, but you really need to be listening in order to hear it because it's very subtle.
So, I love it. What about that problem I mentioned? Well, I have tested the actual running temperature of the dehydrator against the printed values on the dial, and they're not even close.
I used several methods to determine the temperature:
1) A Mastercool Digital Infrared Thermometer pointed directly into an exhaust vent (see photo) with the dial set to the maximum 160ºF.
2) A long wire probe connected to the above thermometer, which I mounted near the center of the dehydrator on the third tray (routed up through an exhaust vent so as not to introduce any error from external air coming in where the wire is inserted). I ensured that the probe touched nothing but air while reading, and watched the values at both the 135ºF setting and the 160ºF setting. (see photos)
3) An analog metal probe thermometer placed deep into a lower and an upper exhaust port.
4) A digital metal probe thermometer (Lavatools Thermowand) inserted into both the upper and lower exhaust ports
In all cases (except #3, which responded too slowly) I was able to see the lower temperature at which the heater kicked on, as well as the upper temperature at which the heater turned off (in theory, this would be right around the number printed on the dial). The numbers were effectively the same in all tests.
- At the 135ºF setting on the dehydrator, the actual temperature maxed out at around 120ºF, at which point the heater turned off and the temperature dropped slowly until the heater came back on.
- At the 160ºF setting (maximum), it was the same story but with an actual temperature topping out at around 135ºF.
What concerns me is this unit's suitability for jerky -- the minimum recommended temperature for any meat is 160ºF when making jerky. I'm not too terribly concerned about the beef jerky because I routinely eat beef at a much lower temperature than that (though it does make a good case for refrigerating the jerky in this case), but the chicken jerky could have gone pretty badly!
It could also be that it's just mine that has this problem, I don't know. But for me, part of the reason for getting this model instead of some of the cheaper ones is because of the adjustable temperature. And now it looks like it has to be on maximum pretty much all the time anyway? Hmm...
Without the temperature issue, it would have been 5 stars. But this drops it significantly, because that's HALF of it! Heat and air.
The 1st being the fact that it can dehydrate everything from beef to apples, you will be absolutely astounded at how fast the product can complete the dehydration process. I've owned dehydrators that can take days to complete the drying process, this product can do what those do in hours.
The 2nd reason I'm so fond of this product has to due with the amount of food it can dehydrate, in a timely manner, this dehydrator is accompanied with 5 trays and can actually be expanded to 12, I also like the fact that you don't have to rotate the trays due to the patented converga-flow system.
The 3rd reason I love this dehydrator is simple, it produces the best tasting dehydrated foods I've ever had, I'm and avid outdoorsman and have dehydrated everything from deer to turkey, family friends insist I start selling the jerky made with this product. I won't even look at a pack of jack link's anymore, in fact I'm disappointed that I ever purchased that stuff.
The 4th reason I'm so happy is because what's included with the product itself. It comes with a complementary recipe book, which can be very helpful if your new to this art, it also comes with two solid sheets, two mesh sheets, and three jerky spice packets, so all you really need upon receiving your item is some meat.
With all that being said, if you have a dehydrator that is getting old/malfunctioning or just want to start making your own dehydrated foods, this product is for you, don't pass this one up, you will not be dissatisfied with your purchase.
First, lets talk about performance:
Only in a few ocasions I could dry something with less than 12 hours using a moderate temperature and thin slices. This is why I give this product a 4 instead of a 5 stars. But a 4,5 or 4,7 stars would be more fair, since this dehydrator has a lot of good points and we live in a very humid area, in the sea coast. And, the manual covers the "worst drying period possible" as being coincident to ours. In other words, they are not lying when they affirm that something can dry between "6 and 18 hours". We sit right in the 18 hours extreme. Be aware that this may be your case. Evaluate this point before buying a unit. Fruits: unsliced bananas can take 24-30 hours to dry to a flexible texture (we call this "banana passa" in Brazil, that are made in an industrial scale using gas dehydrators and constant 70 Celsius). The drying temperature is between 60 and 70 Celsius. Thin apple slices can take between 12 and 18 hours to get a leathery texture. Maybe if you let it more time it can eventually be crunchy, but be very aware that crunchiness is NOT an easy thing to achieve using dehydrators, because commercial fruit chips normally are made using fried fruits in coconut oil. I also had the fantasy of making homemade banana chips. Well, they get to a chewy point and taste quite good, anyway. (If that serves as a solace...). Meat: Didn't try it yet. Peppers: dried Jalapeños got an undesirable brownish color. I think the temperature cicles got some peaks that cooked the pepper instead of only drying its remaining water. I think if you are willing to put some peppers in a dehydrator, you should use very low temperatures, those used to dry herbs and other fragile stuff. I followed the 135F and it was a bit high, possibly.
Now, about the sound and physical attributes:
This unit is QUIET. VERY quiet. I can not believe some people say this dehydrator makes some undesirable noise to the point that they need to put them in a room far from their bedroom otherwise they couldn't sleep! I am VERY sound sensitive and I can assure you, the sound will not bother you. I can even watch TV close to the dehydrator and I only hear its noise if I mute the TV. Not an exaggeration. A fact.
Weight, appearance, height: Very discreet. Very light. Did I say VERY light? The gray and white marble finish fits incredibly well in any room, like it's camouflaged, hard to explain. It just looks like another generic thing or pan or tupperware that you have in the kitchen, not a thing that a boring friend or neighbor will come and say "WOW, WHAT'S THAT THING?" You know how boring is that kind of people, but they won't bother you, I assure you. I bought 4 more trays (9 in total) and it still feels light. I can carry it with 9 trays full of bananas with ease. (if that matters: 67 bananas).
Cleaning: easy to clean. Dehydrated fruits leave virtually no residue, they stick very lightly to the trays and can be easily pulled out. Not a single banana or any other fruit like apples got stuck in the trays to the point that they couldnt be removed easily with the fingers, and entire, not in fragments.
Power consumption: Ok, here we go. (Room temperature: 28 Celsius) With 9 trays full of fruits: 1st hour: 650 Watts (average). 2nd to 5th hour: 380 watts (average). After 6 hours: 360 Watts (average). Total consumption per run long: 31 hours, 7,16 KWH (average: 231 watts). Temperature set: 145F (63 Celsius). With 5 trays full of fruits and/or fruit rolls, in a temperature set of 135F: 1st hour: 301 Watts (average). After a few hours, it dropped to below 200 watts average. Explanation: the first hours take more power because the machine is heating the trays so the thermostat rarely turns off. After a few hours, the thermostat only activates ocasionally to refresh the temperature, since the trays are already heated and only need a maintenance to keep the warm air flow. When the electric resistance turns off, the measure of wattage reads 28 watts, that's the power consumption of the fan (negligible). Conclusion: the shorter the run, less efficient it will be, because whenever it warms up the trays, you are removing the foods from them. Long runs are more efficient, so I guess its better to make a full charged dehydrator rather than little runs with little quantity of food. Just an opinion without any scientific claim.
I can not say anything about durability of this Nesco dehydrator, since I bought it recently. I will update this review if anything unexpected occurs, or if I have any important thing to add, like new food experiences, et cetera.
To finish this review, I'd like to apologize for my awful English, I had a hard time writting this because I am not a native speaker, so tell me if something sounds odd or particularly unusual, I can clarify your questions in the comments section. I hope this humble review can be useful for you. Thank you very much for the attention.