Since I mentioned this Excalibur Dehydrator in the Daily YouTube today, I figured this would be a useful complimentary post. And, if the title doesn’t say it all… I would strongly encourage you to get your own if you have any interest in dehydrating food for long term storage. Here’s why…
I’ve owned one of these for years and actually forgot about it until earlier this year when I happened upon a wonderful YouTube channel Dehydrate2Store, which got me interested in dehydrating again. Although she doesn’t upload videos any longer, there’s a wealth of information there and on her website. You can also find a dozen or so dehydrating videos from her channel in the Food and Water Videos archive.
Over the course of a month or so I’ve been able to dehydrate a whole case of vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, and green beans). This may not seem like a lot, but it is actually quite a bit of food. In fact, it’s probably over 70 pounds (before being dehydrated) give or take a few pounds. Why? Because you can fit a lot of dehydrated food into a single mason jar! Honestly, I’m quite surprised at how much I dehydrated now that I think about it.
To do so, I routinely purchased one pound bags of frozen carrots, peas, corn, and green beans and then proceeded to dehydrate them as soon as I brought them home. I repeated this process a few times a week. It worked out that I could fit about four pounds of peas or corn in a single mason jar. Green beans were a bit less at about three pounds or so because of their shape. Carrots were the biggest surprise as I could fit about eight to nine pounds of carrots in a single mason jar! I’m still amazed that a whole dehydrator-full of carrots fit into one jar.
Anyway, this post isn’t about dehydrated foods but, rather, the dehydrator itself…
The Excalibur Dehydrator
To be honest, there isn’t much to it. It’s simply a large box with a heat coil and fan. This particular unit accommodates up to nine trays (there is a seven tray model available). So, why should you pay a few hundred dollars for something so “simple”?
Probably the biggest reasons are that it really is easy to use, quick to clean, and highly reliable. I’ve never had a problem with mine and have no complaints, well, except for the fact that the fan is a bit louder than we would prefer (by we I mean my wife). Other than that, it functions exactly as I need and expect it to.
About the Unit
While there is an adjustable temperature range of between 90 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit (depending on what you’re dehydrating), I never seem to operate mine outside of the 115 to 135 degree range. The included manual also offers guidelines for temperature and length of time depending on what you’re dehydrating.
The unit itself is made of a really durable hard plastic. The trays and tray toppers are also made of fairly durable plastic. For the most part, the trays are easy to clean unless you get something gooey stuck in the holes of the tray topper, such as from sliced bananas.
The unit itself fits fairly well on just about any countertop, but due to it’s size you’re going to want to find a nice corner or end of the counter to place it because, once it’s in place, you’re not going to be working around it.
Cost to Operate is Minimal
This obviously depends on your local electricity rate as well as rate changes depending on your household usage and the time of year. From my own experience, I’ve found that I can run a single batch for no more than about $1.50 (estimated), and that’s considering continuous use of 12 to 18 hours.
Use is Easy Too
The front lifts on and off without effort and the trays slide in and out easily as well. Simply lay out whatever you choose to dehydrate in a single layer, replace the front cover, set to the desired temperature, and… leave it be. I’ve found it easiest to start a dehydrating project in the afternoon so that when I get up in the morning the work is done.
The best part is that the veggies return to their normal size, shape, and taste upon rehydrating…