Nesco 700-Watt Food Dehydrator
Dehydrating food is another great way to lighten your load on the water. At this year’s Canoecopia, we went to a class on camp cooking. The instructor talked a lot about dehydrating and made the point that dehydrators are so affordable these days that their really is no reason not to own one. After reading pages of reviews, I landed on the Nesco FD-75PR 700-Watt Food Dehydrator and have been having a ton of fun learning to dry.
What We Like:
This unit comes with 5 trays (can be expanded to 12). It also comes with 2 fruit-roll sheets (which can also be used for sauces) and 2 Clean-A-Screen flexible screens, for drying small items like spices & herbs.
I’ve been experimenting with all sorts of fruit. I’ve learned that the most cost effective way to buy a variety of fruit (and vegetables too) is at grocery store salad bars. It’s true that you do need to pre-treat some fruits and vegetables. I’ve used a honey & water mixture as well as lemon juice (but the lemon does affect the flavor). A couple of other tips; Applesauce is great for quick roll-ups but canned fruit with too much syrup isn’t so great. Vegetables are generally cheap enough to purchase at a store but it’s great to be able to dry vegetables like mushrooms that aren’t widely available.
Dehydrators have endless possibilities. Jerkies alone will be a constant experimentation with spices and flavors. I do recommend the American Harvest Jerky Gun because it will make your life much easier by making your jerky strips evenly sized (which is very important for consistent drying).
Drying is a “loose art form”. There is a lot of latitude to making dried food. When people complain about having a “timer” on their dehydrator, they really don’t know what they are talking about. It’s not a “finite” process. I’ve learned that suggested drying times are almost always at the low end. It comes down to the thickness of fruit, vegetable or meat as well as other factors like humidity and how you pre-treat.
The Final Word:
I love being able to dry my own foods. It’s fun to experiment, the possibilities are endless and the best part is being able to enjoy the results.