Author Topic: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions  (Read 59819 times)

Offline Nicodemus

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Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« on: November 08, 2010, 07:29:08 AM »
Hi everyone,
While I've dried quite a bit of food in the past, I've never used a device built explicitly for that purpose. After seeing what can be done in some youtube videos I am considering the purchase of an Excalibur 3900 or a 3926T. However, before I make the leap I had a few questions that I was hoping that someone here might be able to help me with. I hope that these queries aren't ridiculous.

While I see from the Excalibur site that both of the models I'm considering are 600 watts, I don't know the average dehydration times for different foods so I don't know how this would translate into power usage for a batch.

Do these dehydrators cost a lot to operate due to their need to be running for long periods of time?

While I see images of multiple levels of varied fruits and veggies in their product shots I wonder if this might cause some issues.

Should different fruits and vegetables be dried in separate batches so that there won't be any cross contamination (lack of terminological knowledge) of flavors?

If different fruits and vegetables can be dried together, will varying drying times be a problem, or can you just open the unit up and remove single trays at the appropriate time and leave others to continue dehydrating?

If batches need to be separated, should I consider a smaller 4 tray model?

Does the lower wattage of the smaller models affect drying times?

Is there another brand that I should look at as an alternative to Excalibur?

I believe these are all of the questions I have at the moment. Thank you for taking the time to read this post and thanks again for any information.

Offline theadob

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2010, 01:39:30 PM »
I am an Excalibur fanatic every since i got one.  I can't speak to how much it costs to run, but the book that it comes with states that it runs for pennies a day.  Not sure if thats 3 pennies or 400,000.  I will say that mine runs constantly and I havent seen a spike in my electric bill.

I do different items and thicknesses all the time.  Thats the beauty of a 9 tray dehydrator.  You can open the door to it as often as you want.  I do it all the time to see how things are drying.  Don't get the 4 tray unit.  You will regret the first time you want to make yogurt in your dehydrator.  Yes, I said yogurt.  Not dried yogurt, regular yogurt in a small canning jar.

I also do different products all the time.  Today I have grapes turning into raisins and apples drying.  You will want to use different temps for fruits versus meats. and you wouldnt want to do jerky on the upper trays and veggies on the lower because then you would cross contaminate.

Ive used a couple different types of dehydrator and I wouldnt trade my Excalibur for anything.  I bought a refurbished one off the Excalibur site (scroll through all the models, its the last one) and I saved about $80 by doing so.  It still came with the 10 year warranty so why not?

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2010, 04:55:05 PM »
Thank you very much for the information, theadob. It is appreciated!

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2010, 05:45:38 PM »
There's one definite vote for the Excalibur brand.  ;D

Does anyone have any suggestions for other Brands of dehydrators that I should take a look at?

Thanks!

Offline TwoBluesMama

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2010, 06:04:26 PM »
Having just bought an Excaliber this spring to replace my 30 yr old round Harvest Maid - I think the Excaliber is a far better machine. Although I can't complain about the Harvest Maid - it's still going and it's old - sometimes it takes a little to get it started and I won't leave it running if I'm gone or asleep but I got my money out of it. I have not noticed any large jump in our electric bill and have used it a ton this summer and fall. The Ex's trays are easier to handle (fit wonderfully over the sink- makes it easy to drain foods) the only drawback I found with the Ex is that the trays fit snug (I have the 9 tray) so when I dried herbs and calendula I had to remove every other tray until the stuff dried some otherwise when I pushed in a new tray it shoved it all up against the fan. Easily remedied and I love it.  From this years crops I dried green beans, tomatoes (and then powdered), onions (& powdered some), parsley, basil, rosemary, feverfew, dill, yarrow, calendula flowers, corn, potatoes, cayenne peppers, green and red bell peppers, swiss chard, carrots, cucumbers, apples, apricots, pears and peaches. I have used it to warm crystallized honey and to make yogurt. I will be drying pumpkins sometime later this week.  If you haven't checked out Dehydrate2Store you need too. She has great ideas and tips.  I just learned from this site how to make pickles from dehydrated cucumbers. Blessings TBM

Heres the link:  http://www.dehydrate2store.com/videos/

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2010, 09:42:40 PM »
Thanks TwoBluesMama, I appreciate the information.

I've done some drying in the sun, fish and Jerky hung from a cut branch frame over a small smokey fire, and even tried the box fan and air filter method with a twist utilizing ceramic heat emitter lamps to pull hot air through the setup. All of this was more to "see what I could do" rather than for serious home food storage though. Now I'm looking for something I can do consistently, easily and with a good turnover rate.

Thanks for the Dehydrate 2 Store link. It's one of the sites that has really sparked my interest in getting started with dehydration as a food storage option.




Offline finleysound

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2010, 02:00:34 PM »
I'm thinking about getting my wife an Excalibur 3900 for Christmas.  Would you guys (and gals) recommend getting 9 sheets of the Paraflexx drying sheets (http://www.excaliburdehydrator.com/ParaFlexx-Premium-Non-Stick-Drying-Sheets-14-26-42-prod.htm), or is that overkill?  My wife has specifically mentioned making fruit rolls so I know I need to get at least a couple.  Thanks.

Matt

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2010, 02:51:21 PM »
I haven't yet bought the paraflexx sheets, but they are on my wishlist. I used makeshift sheets out of ziploc bags to try out drying pasta sauce and it worked fine. It may be worth adding it to the order to save on shipping in the future... is this a surprise gift, or can you ask your wife what her preference is?

Check out Sweetheart's Mom's thread on her new Weston dehydrator here: http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=22804.0;topicseen

I'm thinking a lot of different brands would work fine... just make sure they are similar in design to the excalibur (fan in the back, removeable trays, adjustable temperature).

Offline Outdoorfury

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2010, 03:21:04 PM »
I just bought the 3900 two days ago. I have been toying with the idea for some time and decided to pull the trigger after I tasted the venison jerky from my neighbor's Excalibur. It was leaps and bounds over my oven dried stuff. I plan on doing a lot with this thing as so many apples, grapes, etc go to waste. After the research on the net I have seen the more and better reviews for the excalibur than any other one out there. I am excited.

Offline Herbalpagan

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2010, 04:32:21 PM »
I got an excalibur 9 tray without the timer. I have had excellent results from it!

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2010, 05:10:57 PM »
I'm hoping to get an Excalibur for Christmas... Fingers crossed... Maybe the family was paying attention for once.  :D

Offline soccer grannie

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2010, 05:50:59 PM »
I used makeshift sheets out of ziploc bags to try out drying pasta sauce and it worked fine.
IIRC, doesn't she mention using the bags from inside cereal boxes for fruit roll ups in the Dehydrate2Store videos?  ???

Offline jasperg357

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2010, 06:04:46 PM »
I purchased a 9 tray Excalibur with timer last year I highly recommend it. So far I have dehydrated venison jerky,corn peas,strawberry,pears ,apples,blueberries,mushrooms,kiwi and sweat potatoes. I enjoyed the kiwi the best.

Offline Prag

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2010, 07:37:29 AM »
I'm hoping to get an Excalibur for Christmas... Fingers crossed... Maybe the family was paying attention for once.  :D

I hope so my friend.

My wife & son gave me one a few weeks ago...9 tray refurbished. What an excellent gift!

It's running now and has been for several days. There's 2 lbs. of blackberries in it now and I'm only using 1/2 of the trays.
I processed 9 trays of cooked red kidney and black beans last night...I'm working up some dehydrated "Meals-in-a-bag" (similar to the ones Jacks mentioned in Episode-561- Building Your Own Long Term Rations).

I mention this because we've used a 7 tray Nesco American Harvest for the past 3 years.
It's a great little unit, but doesn't hold anywhere near as much and takes much longer to process the foods.

According to Excalibur the electricity requirement is only around 30-50 cents per load...iirc

I'll do all of my onion and garlic drying in the Nesco unit out in the garage.
I ran one batch of onions in the house when we first got the Nesco.
Since I enjoy being married, the onions and garlic will definitely not be done in the house again.  ;D

Best of Luck in your decision, and in hopefully finding something useful under your Christmas tree. ;)


Offline finleysound

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2010, 09:26:19 PM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone.  I went ahead and ordered an Excalibur for my wife.  One of her friends just got one, so I think she'll be pretty excited about it.

Matt

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2010, 09:56:45 PM »
Best of Luck in your decision, and in hopefully finding something useful under your Christmas tree. ;)

Thanks!

Also, thanks for the information on the cost of running one of these. It's something that I've been wondering about since I first started researching dehydrators.

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2010, 09:57:24 PM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone.  I went ahead and ordered an Excalibur for my wife.  One of her friends just got one, so I think she'll be pretty excited about it.

Matt

Cool! Let us know how it works out.

Offline Prag

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2010, 02:11:22 AM »
Thanks!

Also, thanks for the information on the cost of running one of these. It's something that I've been wondering about since I first started researching dehydrators.

You are more than welcome. Let us know what happens.  :)


Thanks for the feedback everyone.  I went ahead and ordered an Excalibur for my wife.  One of her friends just got one, so I think she'll be pretty excited about it.

Matt

Excellent Matt. I'm sure she'll be pleased. It's a great gift and very useful piece of equipment.

Offline pamela

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2010, 10:42:42 AM »
Hi there.
I got my Excalibur 2 years ago and just love it. It has fast become my favorite method for food preservation.
The food is lighter, has more vitamins, keeps longer, takes up less space...what's not to love?
LOL
This was it's second season of pretty hard use and I've had no problems with it.
I have found also, that the best way to store the food is mason jars. The freezer bags I'd used before just didn't seem to hold up as well over time, especially with me opening and closing them.
I didn't have the money for Oxygen absorbers but I suspect that they would really help with longer term storage.

I love that lady on youtube, Dehydrate2Store
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dehydrate2store&aq=0

she's very inspirational I think.

Offline TwoBluesMama

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2010, 07:40:31 AM »
Hi there.
I got my Excalibur 2 years ago and just love it. It has fast become my favorite method for food preservation.
The food is lighter, has more vitamins, keeps longer, takes up less space...what's not to love?
LOL
This was it's second season of pretty hard use and I've had no problems with it.
I have found also, that the best way to store the food is mason jars. The freezer bags I'd used before just didn't seem to hold up as well over time, especially with me opening and closing them.
I didn't have the money for Oxygen absorbers but I suspect that they would really help with longer term storage.

I love that lady on youtube, Dehydrate2Store
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dehydrate2store&aq=0

she's very inspirational I think.


Hi Pamela - I too love Tammy's ideas - have learned tons from her videos.  Dried all our pumpkins this year using her method and everything I've made with it has been awesome.  She was Jack's guest on the podcast at the end of January - Episode 367 if you'd want to go back and listen.

Glad you've joined us.  Blessings!

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #20 on: December 24, 2010, 08:00:17 AM »
Well, we did Christmas today so that my mother could make it down to see her Grandchildren for the actual day of Christmas.

The good news is that the family must've been listening when I kept hinting at a dehydrator. Instead of an Excalibur they went off-script and bought me a dehydrator that I've never heard of before. It's a LEM 778 Stainless Steel Dehydrator. It's 800 watts, has a rear mounted fan, 10 trays, 12 hour timer and an adjustable thermostat. The reviews online seem to be good overall.

They also gave me a gift card to the local grocery so I could pick up some supplies.

I'm pretty excited to get started!

I hope that I'm as happy with the LEM as everyone is with their Excaliburs.

I'll do a review of the dehydrator after i get a chance to put it through the paces.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2010, 08:07:51 AM by Nicodemus »

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #21 on: December 24, 2010, 08:38:01 AM »
I look forward to hearing how you like the new dehydrator. I've not heard of that brand. You may want some non-metal coverings for the trays for your veges...

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #22 on: December 24, 2010, 08:50:25 AM »
Apparently LEM makes a lot of meat and game preparation equipment like meat grinders, smokers, sausage stuffers and the like. In fact, the box for this dehydrator features a Deer on front with a picture of the dehydrator full of jerky.  :D

Thanks for the nonmetal covering suggestion!

Offline TwoBluesMama

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #23 on: December 24, 2010, 10:18:07 AM »
Apparently LEM makes a lot of meat and game preparation equipment like meat grinders, smokers, sausage stuffers and the like. In fact, the box for this dehydrator features a Deer on front with a picture of the dehydrator full of jerky.  :D

Thanks for the nonmetal covering suggestion!

I always drool all over the LEM catalog! Let us know how the new dehydrator does. Blessings and have a great holiday everyone!

Offline Oni

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #24 on: December 24, 2010, 10:42:45 AM »
That LEM sounds really nice!  Sure you will get as much enjoyment over it as I have been with my recent Excalibur purchase.  Been using it like crazy!

Sounds like a very nice Christmas for you so far!   ;D

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #25 on: December 24, 2010, 10:54:21 AM »
I always drool all over the LEM catalog! Let us know how the new dehydrator does. Blessings and have a great holiday everyone!

This is my first exposure to LEM. I immediately went to their website and similarly drooled over the computer as I looked at all of their wares.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you TwoBlues.

That LEM sounds really nice!  Sure you will get as much enjoyment over it as I have been with my recent Excalibur purchase.  Been using it like crazy!

Sounds like a very nice Christmas for you so far!   ;D

It has been good. I'll miss watching the Christmas shows with Mom, but she will be watching with her Grandchildren, and I can't think of a better way to do things this season.

Offline Prag

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #26 on: December 24, 2010, 01:16:46 PM »
Congrats Nicodemus!

It sounds like you're having an Excellent Christmas.

The LEM dehydrator looks great, so does their website.

As a matter of fact, I requested a catalog from them.

Let us know how you like the dehydrator.


Merry Christmas to you and All of TSP!  :)

Offline boboroshi

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #27 on: December 24, 2010, 01:38:37 PM »
The main thing I notice when using my 9 tray Excalibur is that the humidity in the air has a great effect on how fast things get completely dry. especially whole fruits like cayenne peppers. I've had great luck with doing anything prepared (sliced apples, hashbrowns, green pepper slices, etc). I just follow the book or look on dehydrate2store.com and see what is needed.

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #28 on: December 24, 2010, 02:46:48 PM »
Congrats Nicodemus!

Let us know how you like the dehydrator.

Merry Christmas to you and All of TSP!  :)

Thanks, will do.

And Merry Christmas!

The main thing I notice when using my 9 tray Excalibur is that the humidity in the air has a great effect on how fast things get completely dry. especially whole fruits like cayenne peppers. I've had great luck with doing anything prepared (sliced apples, hashbrowns, green pepper slices, etc). I just follow the book or look on dehydrate2store.com and see what is needed.

Yeah, I went to D2S this morning to look at instructional videos and to make a list.  :)

Offline pamela

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Re: Excalibur Dehydrator Questions
« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2010, 04:36:28 PM »
Hi and thanks for the welcome Mama!
I love that this dehydrator thread is so active too.
I'm sold on the darn things! LOL