I bought a dehydrator to preserve veggies and meats . I'm wondering if
there's a way to keep the trays from getting nasty . I ask because I
borrowed one from my neighbor and the trays had a build up of "stuff" that
had been processed in the unit - mostly residue from making jerky . Cooking
spray ? Line the trays with screen or hardware cloth ? Cheesecloth ? Or did
he just not clean his properly after use ?
This unit has a fan plus the heater , Nesco model FD-37 400 watt .
Supposed to process a LOT faster than the straight convection units . I'm
going to try some tomatoes early next week , and probably some deer jerky
this weekend .
I have 3 of the Harvest Maid dehydrators. When I first got mine I
bought plastic "embroidery" sheets and cut them to size. I can take
them out and wash them when too much stuff gets stuck on them.
I usually run 4 to 6 trays when I have a large enough harvest. I
have had in the past, when I had more energy, all 3 machines filled
with all of my trays. I bought many of my extra trays at yard sales.
Boy do I wish I had that much energy again.
As Derald and Susan said, keep everything clean. I have a twenty-year
old Snackmaster, Jr., bought at a Walmart at a hefty discount that still
works well. I also bought several extra trays that I found at a thrift
store for about five bucks for the lot. I'm not cheap, just thrifty. <G>
I bought some nylon netting at Hobby Lobby and cut the circles to match
the circular trays and they work great for small items. Mostly the
dehydrator is used to dehydrate herbs and, occasionally, fruit from out
If you're just starting out keep a watchful eye on the machine as some
of them can really dehydrate something fast. Dear wife uses it
occasionally and always forgets to keep an eye on the process, thence
producing really dry something or the other that is no longer edible. I
tried drying some diced onion once and we cried for an hour so quit
Most dehydrators have plastic trays and they can easily be hand washed
when necessary and should be cleaned after each use with fruit and
vegetables. Good luck with your new toy.
My last experience with a similar task was drying some Bulgarian
Carrots, Habs, and misc. other chilis in the oven in preparation for
grinding them into custom pepper. Okay, the wife did all the work, but I
watched without getting in the way. I do recall watching her line
shallow baking pans with parchment paper and placing the peppers on
same. Worked like a champ and we have enough home-ground pepper for the
Soak/wash/rinse. They get nasty by default with anything that's "juicy"
- certainly with tomato juice I don't bother to wash them until the
season is over (or before the next thing, if the season has left me out
of energy.) Jerky juice I might feel a bit different about, but I have
not yet felt the need to make jerky, and it's old enough that all the
white plastic has yellowed... ;-) I'm not going to pick it up and find
the model number, but it's the old model with white, round trays that
came with 4 and can be expanded to 12 - and has been. Got some of the
"removable center" trays and it gets some use in the off-season as a
I don't think I'd add cooking spray to the process. I certainly don't,
and everything comes off with a soak & wash. Beware that they get
brittle with age, so scrub gently if you need to scrub, or just soak
Have doe up two batches of yellow transparent apples in the past few
weeks - they improve with drying, though the peeling and slicing can be
interesting (things go to over-ripe in a heartbeat, and lose structural
integrity when they do.) No way to use the peeler-corer-slicer with them
(few would be hard enough) - OTOH, sliced thicker than it does and left
long enough to dry, one gets more apples dried at one batch that way
than on ones that can go though it.
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by
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