Next Big Question: Dehydrators : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Hey, it worked with pressure canners ... and it's a lot more fun than arguing with trolls.

We are toying with getting a dehydrator but wonder whether it is worth the effort (and, more, the electricity). My mother-in-law has and uses one from time to time but we're not fuly persuaded.

Questions are:

... if you guys have experience, how great are they? How much electricity do you they use?

... and, of course, which ones do you recommend and what about availability?

Mind you, though we're planning for TEOTWAWKI (ie, dead grid), I expect dirty power at some level of availability at least most of the time after winter 2000 in a realistic worst case. So, the fact that dehydrators use electric is not a show-stopper.

'Course, if some of you have experience with drying sans juice, that would be useful too. But how practical is that?

-- BigDog (, February 22, 1999


I have looked for non-electric dehyrators in stores since the middle of last year. Finally gave up. Here's a link to plans to build solar dehydrator. I got the lumber,...ready to build this month and try out. Have a look.

Build your own Solar Dehydrator

-- Donna Barthuley (, February 22, 1999.

Buy 'Dry It - You'll Like It' (about $7.00) Has plans for a dehydrator and suggestions. Worth the money.


-- j (, February 22, 1999.

We tried an American Harvest dehydrator for about a week this past winter. Ended up taking it back for a refund. It ran for 21/2 days @ the 500 watt setting and I just could not justify THAT much electricty usage for a few pieces of dried banana. It is cheaper to buy it (banana) in bulk at the grocery store.

-- Rick (Iwouldn', February 22, 1999.

Hi BigDog!

-- Mary (, February 22, 1999.

Oops! See what happens when you hit the enter key instead of the tab :o) I bought an inexpensive dehyd. from WalMart several months ago. I am using it mainly to dehyd. my veggies for stews, soups, casseroles, etc. I like the fact that the dehy. stuff takes up very little space. I just put my items in a freezer bag and store in cellar in a larger container.

I plan to dehy. some blueberries and other fruits in the summer so we can have fruity muffins! My family doesn't seem to enjoy the fruit leather or banana chips! Weird, I guess!

Mine is electric and I realize that next year it may be useless, but for now it has been an asset in my food preparations. Next year, I'll can it all. Mary

-- Mary (, February 22, 1999.

We in the Driver residence have at this count, 3 dehydrators. We started with American Harvet Snackmaster elite at about 30$ a copy, plus 20$ to to add the two trays to upgrade to 6 trays. have had the 2 of them running almost continuously for a few weeks now, trying to stay ahead of our own consumption of the jerky, and failing miserably. Stuff goes away faster than snow in July!! (And I am NOT the prime culprit here. Mrs Driver seems to have developed a burning desire for more of it every time we turn around!)

We also have the book by the lady who initially brought drying to the mainstream. Can't find it but I will and will post her name and the book info later tonight.

Anyway, we went to Lehman's and picked up their circa 200$ one Saturday and will soon have all three working!!

As someone said "Dry it, you'll like it"

nope, don't believe I did that either.

Chuck, a Night Driver, on his way to work

-- Chuck, night driver (, February 22, 1999.

Chuck --- Big Dog's puppies are big jerky consumers, alas. Mrs. Big Dog's idea of a solar dehydrator:

Lots of sun

Screened trays with stuff

Someone to swish the flys away

I'm not sure I'm convinced from these posts that the electric kind are worth it?

-- BigDog (, February 22, 1999.

Here is the name and address regarding the Dry It You'll Like It book, and the dehydrator: The author is Gen MacManiman, and you can get their dehydrators from: LIVING FOODS DEHYDRATORS, P.O Box 546, Fall City, WA 98024 We got one of her original kits and built one in the 70's. I think it was heated by light bulbs then. It worked well. (We gave it away when our kids moved out) They are still making them...We saw their exhibit at the Y2K Expo in Seattle last month. I don't have the details, but they said the heating element takes far less than the Harvester types. (They also had a counter top model.) These are pricey, but if you do lots of drying, (and can't depend on sun, like us "Cascadians") The low wattage has a lot of appeal... The little paper back book is a classic, and is filled wih great recipes

-- Suzanne L (SuzanneL@Dryingit.Ilikeit), February 22, 1999.

You also will want to work out what to store your dehydrated food in. Air proof containers are a must. I'm looking at food grade polypropylene zip lock bags. This type of plastic does not transmit any air or moisture. Sacket (800-457-2538) has these bags (9" X 12") priced at 100 for $23.60.I don't know what their minimum order is; you may need to gang your order with friends. Regular grocery store zip locks are polyethylene and DO transmit air and moisture so they don't work as well. If your dehydrated food rehydrates, it will mold.

-- Mostly Lurking (Mostly Lurking @Podunk.Texas), February 22, 1999.


Where I live, electricity costs about $0.075 per kilowatt hour (a little less actually). That makes the bill for 500 watts for two and a half days (60 hours) about $2.25! I don't know where I could get two dehydraters full of banana chips for that (even including the cost of the fresh bananas), to say nothing of all the other things that I couldn't find at all (like venison jerky). I suspect that the economics vary widely depending on where you get your electricity and how available the end products are. They sure work for me.

-- Hardliner (, February 22, 1999.


Brain Check!

I haven't a clue where I got the idea that you had two dehydraters. Still, you can't get banana chips at all around here, and not much of anything else either. I think the point about cost is still valid (depends on where) and I know that the versatility to dry most anything I choose is worth it to me.

-- Hardliner (, February 22, 1999.

Keep my American Harvest Maid snackmaster going constantly meat, fruits and veges on sale, u-pick etc. If you have an attic (preferable without exposed fiberglass batting works REALLY well especially for thin sliced stuff like apples, bnulk herbs and the like.

Eithier string and hang or lay out on clean sheet. Did apples, beans and salmon- worked great- less bugs than outside.


-- EC (, February 22, 1999.

I'm not planning for a generator, of if I have one, not a large one. Every watt will count. That is why I'm going with solar dehydrator. S. California. Today is 78 or more degrees in the cloudless late February sky. Even for you folks in the rest of the frozen continent,...check out previous solar thermal chimney dehydrator link. S. side of house all set up outside bathroom window for the solar shower. Only have to fill it up with water and wait 3 hours.

Loving the sun hitting the billows of my sheet!

-- Donna Barthuley (, February 22, 1999.

It occurs to me to add that: even if you don't live in the sun belt, it would be beneficial to add a solar dehydrator to your supplies for the warm spring, and summer months.

A public service announcement for the sun deprived among us. You can also use greenhouse windows, and screening (or cheesecloth) if you don't want to build the solar dehydrator.

-- Donna Barthuley (, February 22, 1999.

I can convet the dehydrator we just got at Lehman's to solar in about 25 minutes, given the impetus and what I have laying about in Driver Manor. though, the thermostat and temp settings are gonna make this summer a REAL drying party. I'll have the two snack masters, and the big dryer going constantly. just gotta find SPACE for it all!!

Chuck PS Haven't found our dryer book so I'll have to ask Mrs. Driver where she's hidden it. Gotta go to bed, cause To(day)morrow is exercise the canner for the first time day. I so love learning stuff over again!!

-- Chuck, night driver (, February 23, 1999.

I have used a number of dehydrators in my time and if you are going to purchase an electric dehydrator, buy an Excalibur. They are top of the line and with 9 trays, will most definitely do the work in short order. It uses hot air blown by a fan. So much better than a simple hot element at the base of the unit. Jerky = 18-24 hours Bananas = 12-14 hours

-- Bumble Bee (, February 23, 1999.

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