It’s harvest time, and preserving our bounty is important. I was raised not to waste food, and this conscious habit has continued with me. There are several ways to preserve foods; canning and freezing are probably the most common processes. But, there is another way, and it’s much more fun, it’s using an Excalibur Dehydrator from Eartheasy. I received the Excalibur 3500 Deluxe Series Dehydrator and it’s pure bliss to use.
The Excalibur Dehydrators have been trumpeted as the No. 1 dehydrators on the market, and I completely agree. Not all dehydrators are equal, I had an older, round one that did not dehydrate evenly and was incredibly noisy. I got discouraged and quit using it, but happily, Excalibur has renewed my interest. Simply put, other brands are no match!
Features & Benefits:
- Makes healthy, nutritious and delicious food while saving money
- Provides 8 square feet of drying area
- 5 large polycarbonate trays (15″ x 15″) and BPA-free mesh screens
- Built-in 26 Hour Timer: set timer and unit will turn on and off automatically
- Heavy duty 5-inch fan, 400-watts
- Adjustable thermostat: 95°F – 155°F
- Easy to clean: back mounted control, dishwasher-safe trays
- Choose between Black or White colors
- Comes with Instructions and Guide to Dehydration
- 10-year Limited Warranty
- Made in the USA
The Excalibur 3500 Deluxe Series Dehydrator is an awesome kitchen appliance that uses low-temperature heat and a fan to dry out foods. Essentially, they remove the water from food, but it keeps the enzymes, vitamins, and minerals of your raw food intact. If temperatures are over 115 degrees, the heat will destroy all the living enzymes, thus making your food devoid of any usable nutrients. You’re left with just fiber.
There are several models of Excaliburs, and they come with either five or nine trays. I received a five tray model, but if you use this appliance a lot, then a nine tray would be more convenient. The unit comes with a Dehydration Guide, 5 trays, and a poly screen mesh insert for each tray. The controls are on top of the unit; there’s a quick reference guide, temperature dial, and a timer. The temperature can be adjusted between 95 – 155 degrees and the timer goes up to 28 hours. All units have a 440-watt motor, but their components differ. The deluxe versions have more heavy-duty parts which means more years of use.
So what can you dehydrate? Almost anything from fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, to your own homemade recipes. There are oodles of recipes on the web, just find one you like and get dehydrating. But wait, there’s more! You can dehydrate herbs, spices, flowers, and even pet treats. Wait, there’s still more! You can raise bread, dry homemade pasta, re-crisp crackers, chips, and cookies, and make your own tea, yogurt, and cheese! There are even more uses that you can read about in the user guide.
Dehydrated foods are great for snacks, travel, and convenient when you’re crunched for time. I like that I don’t have to worry about them perishing, so they’re ideal for work, school, and trips. I always take dehydrated fruit when I travel, my favorites are bananas and pineapples. But, I use to buy organic dehydrated products and they are costly. Now, I can make my own and save so much on my grocery budget.
The length of time to dehydrate is really reflective of the foods and how dry you want them. You can dehydrate for a few hours and get a supple product or up to 24 hrs to get super dry food. I lean toward 12 – 16 hrs on 115 degrees. If you have a dehydrator book, they may tell you do amp up the temperature, but don’t do it. Dry your foods longer at a lower temperature to preserve the food’s integrity, nutritional value, and flavor.
I dehydrated some fruits, a few tomatoes and some raw vegan pepperoni for 12 hours. They turned out just the way we like them. You can add spices, herbs or seasoning to your foods before you dehydrate. I like to add cinnamon to my fruit and herbs to my veggies. Get creative! This week I’ll be making fruit leathers, more raw vegan pepperoni, and raw vegan burgers.
You’ll notice that some foods are on the polyscreen and other are on Paraflexx Sheets. The Paraflexx sheets are high-quality BPA-free, super flexible, non-stick sheets that are ideal for wetter foods. They’re fairly thick, durable and last for years and years. These sheets do not come with the unit, but you can purchase them separately for a very reasonable price.
The Excalibur Dehydrator is such a versatile kitchen tool that will not only save you money, but it also opens up a whole new world to preserving your foods. Although it’s fairly large, it’s incredibly lightweight. It heats evenly, it’s quiet, user-friendly, and easy to clean and maintain. I’m so thrilled to have it in my home; it’s a place of honor on my counter! I highly recommend it.
Disclaimer: I received product to facilitate a review. All opinions are my own, yours may differ.