Raw Food Equipment Questions: Dehydrators
Often I am asked to recommend equipment, especially dehydrators. As soon as our store is up, I will be able to point you there. But in the meantime, I will share with you what I know. There are many different types of equipment out there, I only have experience with what I have used. I would love for you to comment on what blenders, dehydrators, etc. you are using, how you like them and how you feel they perform.
I will start with dehydrators. Many people like the Excalibur. It is a great dehydrator and was the second type I bought. I am now on my third. I also have an American Harvest. It was my first dehydrator. I now use the TSM dehydrator. There are big differences in all of these dehydrators. These are some of the options you will want to consider when choosing your dehydrator.
Temperature Control: It is very important to have a dehydrator that has temperature control. We don’t want to heat foods above 116 degrees while dehydrating to retain the optimal nutritional value.
Shelf Configuration: While the American Harvest is a good dehydrator when dehydrating smaller pieces, the circular shape makes it more difficult to use when making flat breads, etc. Mine also doesn’t have shelf spacers, I don’t even know if they have them. You are limited to making food that is only 1″ high. Some of the breads, etc need more space than that. You also couldn’t put a pie crust in because you just don’t have the space with the circular dehydrators. Both the Excalibur and the Sausage Maker have removable shelves that are square, giving you the most flexibility and options.
Timers: This is an option that I really use. I can set the timer, go to bed and not worry about something getting over-dried. It is an option that adds more expense but I think it is well worth it. Before I had a timer, I had considered using a lamp timer. Never tried it but I think it could work.
Size: A 4 or 5 shelf dehydrator gives you quite a bit of room. If you are going to do a lot of dehydrating you might want to consider a bigger unit. I outgrew my 5 shelf very fast. That said, I do try to use my dehydrator very economically. I will make more than one thing at a time and also heat up soup or melt coconut oil while other things are processing. I really like the extra room. I also spend a lot of time working on recipes for the web site and up coming cookbook, so mine gets a lot of use.
Noise: I have found the Excalibur to be loud. The Sausage Maker is almost silent. If this is something you need to consider, I would highly recommend the extra cost for the sausage maker. If you get the Excalibur and find the noise unpleasant, you can always put it in another room, or even the basement, if you have the space.
I would love to hear your comments on what you use, why you like it and how it has performed for you. As we venture into the colder months, I know I will be using mine more!