Dehydrator - how much do you use it, really? - VeggieBoards - A Vegetarian Community
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#1 Old 05-17-2012, 11:22 AM
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I have been very tempted to get one but my budget, and my kitchen, are tiny.

If I do get one it will take up half my counter space, even if I get a small one like the l'Equip. So I will really need to justify it to myself and my family by using it A LOT.

I love the idea of making crackers, cookies, sun dried toms and kale chips.... but it sounds like it takes a really long time, so I doubt I'll get the chance to use it much other than at weekends.

How often do you use your dehydrator?
Does it use much electricity?
Will I regret sacrificing my counter space, or will it open up a whole new world of rawsome loveliness?
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#2 Old 05-17-2012, 12:40 PM
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I've been thinking about getting one too. We get more fresh fruit than me and the mrs can eat from the bountiful basket thing we participate in... but we both love dried fruit and would probably eat more if it was dehydrated.
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#3 Old 05-17-2012, 07:31 PM
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I use mine like 2-3 times a year. lol
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#4 Old 05-17-2012, 09:32 PM
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I use mine like 2-3 times a year. lol

I hardly ever use mine. I'm not 100% raw though.

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#5 Old 05-18-2012, 12:20 AM
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I use mine 1-2 times a month, depending on what is available from my garden. I have 32 kale plants and I harvest the leaves to make kale chips. The kale chips alone made it a good investment for me. I will bring in a grocery bag filled with kale. After the stems have been removed and the leaves dehydrated it is less than a third of that mass. Dehydrated, I can eat that in a few minutes. Eating a shopping bag filled with fresh kale would take me a couple weeks, but it's no problem going through that when it's dehydrated. In the case of kale, dehydrating makes it much easier to consume a lot more of a very healthy green.

But I only do that because I grow my own and I have a lot. I wouldn't think of buying kale at the store and dehydrating it because it is so expensive. Dehydrating makes sense if you have a garden or fruit trees, or extremely cheap access to fruit and veggies. You don't want to spend $12 on grapes at the store to make $2 worth of raisins.

It might be worth it on crackers, but I don't do those anymore. I only have 2 trays with the fine mesh that is necessary for that type of thing. You make a slurry out of flax meal, flour, water, etc, then spread it on the screens. The higher the water content the longer it will take, and it was taking 15-20 hours for me to make two 14-inch round crackers. Maybe it would be more worthwhile if I had 8 of the proper trays for making crackers and I could make a lot of crackers in a batch.

As far as electricity, it depends on the temperature you set it to and the duration. Kale has low water content and can be done at a low temp in 5-6 hours. I bought a device called a Kill-A-Watt to measure the energy draw, and calculated the local electricity rate, and a batch of kale costs me about 60-70 cents at the rate of 12 cents an hour. Slices of apple or banana can take 14-20 hours at a higher temp.

It does make noise and it generates heat. Those may be considerations if you live in a small place.

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#6 Old 05-18-2012, 10:59 AM
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kale chips.....<drooling>

that kill-a-watt gadget sounds like a great idea, must look out for one

does anyone do raw cookies and cakes? I like the idea of healthy, raw vegan cookies that are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle
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#7 Old 05-18-2012, 03:14 PM
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When I first got mine, I went all crazy with making flax biscuits and whatnot. After a week the charm wore off. Now I only use it to make treats for my herbivores.

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#8 Old 05-18-2012, 03:28 PM
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I got one a few years ago, plus extra trays.

For me it was a waste of $. It's a production to make a batch. It takes hours and hours in my humid climate, with little outcome. Keep in mind you have to lay things next to each other and cut them thinly. So to make apple chips out of 1 apple it could take 8 trays and 5 hours (or something like that).

It uses little electricity--it's basically an oven that cooks at a very low temp--but it takes 4 ever to dry stuff.

God forbid you try a recipe you don't end up liking, or the stuff just doesn't come out the way the recipe said. I have tons of dried stuff that's horrible.

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#9 Old 05-19-2012, 01:31 PM
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we use it all the time espically now in the summer when all of the fruits and veggies are popping outta our garden....we make kale,cucumber, tomato, eggplant, zucchini, strawberry, kiwi,banana chips.....we also made awesome candies, fruit roll-ups.

beets, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, peas, peppers, jalepeno peppers,.....potatoes till crispy...yummm

we make fruit leather and vegetable jerky....w/ and w/o tofu

I have made flax seed crackers........we use it all the time and I wouldnt know what to do w/o it.

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#10 Old 05-19-2012, 01:37 PM
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#11 Old 05-19-2012, 11:46 PM
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I mainly only use a dehydrator in the late summer and fall. The rest of the year I mostly leave it packed away and use my oven if I get the urge to dehydrate something. But even with this limited seasonal use, for me, it's an indispensable item. I dehydrate too many items from my garden for later use to do without it.

-I had a really nice dehydrator but I loaned it to my cousin because she wanted to make "sun dried" tomatoes, she's now somewhere in Europe, and I don't know where my dehydrator is. So now I'm going to have to get a new one and my cousin will get a "gift" of my old one.

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#12 Old 05-22-2012, 12:02 AM
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About 5 years ago, my girlfriend and I really wanted one, but couldn't afford one. We ended up making dehydrated goods just using our oven on it's lowest setting with a spoon wedged in the door to keep it slightly open. Nowadays we're not remotely attracted to dehydrated foods, so we're kinda glad we never got one. We would only have used it for about 6 months tops!

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#13 Old 05-22-2012, 03:31 AM
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I thought about getting one. After reading this thread I most likely won't get one.
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#14 Old 05-23-2012, 08:23 AM
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I thought about getting one. After reading this thread I most likely won't get one.


That's the way I'm leaning too.  Knowing myself I'd be infatuated for a short while then it would sit there taking up space.  I was somewhat worried about my soymilk maker going that route, but no way... too easy to use, lots of types of soy/nut/rice milks to make, way cheaper than store bought and I know exactly whats in the milk.

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#15 Old 05-23-2012, 02:36 PM
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I think I'm going to sell mine on Ebay.  It's taking up space and cash.


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#16 Old 05-25-2012, 03:31 PM
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I bought one in January/February, then moved in unexpectedly with my boyfriend who has a tiny kitchen. I haven't used it once. We are moving in September to a house, so I'm hoping to start using it then.

 

**Oh, but I haven't completely gone raw...yet. It's a work in progress. Still <3 my Vitamix.


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#17 Old 05-27-2012, 11:10 AM
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I had a used one a few years ago and I made all kinds of things from flax seed crackers to fruit leather and lots of other stuff. The flax seed crackers were a big hit here so I was always making them. Not to mention having the kitchen smell fabulous when you have a subtle hint of the food in the air. It finally went kaput since it was used and I haven't gotten one since. I had a 4-tray excalibur and would LOVE the 9-tray. The flax seed crackers and kale chips and stuff like that were nice to have around when I wanted something crunchy; kept me from going for the crap potato chips that others were eating. This was a favorite to make using my dehydrator. And a couple pictures of it here: http://gliving.com/carrot-and-parsnip-fettuccine/
 

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#18 Old 05-27-2012, 11:37 AM
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That's the way I'm leaning too.  Knowing myself I'd be infatuated for a short while then it would sit there taking up space.  I was somewhat worried about my soymilk maker going that route, but no way... too easy to use, lots of types of soy/nut/rice milks to make, way cheaper than store bought and I know exactly whats in the milk.

I thought the same about my VitaMix. I use that thing all the time. However, with something that takes hours and hours and hours to make something decent... Nah, I don't think I'm that patient.

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#19 Old 05-29-2012, 01:15 PM
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I want to eat that fettucine!
 

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