I have my own garden and small orchard. After my harvest a few years ago, I decided that I was tired of bottling and freezing everything and what I really need is a food dehydrator. Canning or putting food into bottles is really very time consuming and costs a bit of money for all of the supplies. After a few days of jamming or bottling, my legs and back were acking so bad. With freezing fruits and vegetables, you always run the risk of freezer damage and there is also the matter of space.
It’s taken me quite a bit of time, but I have been experimenting and trying different brands of food dehydrators and different ways to accomplish my goal. I have tried the Excalibur food dehydrator and the Nesco food dehydrator. Both are equally great machines, but after reading all of the food dehydrator reviews, I got thinking that I needed a commercial food dehydrator to accomplish what I really needed to do. I just have way too much food that needs processing.
One other thing I tried was a homemade food dehydrator. Where I live, the summer temperature easily gets to 115 degrees during the summer, and sometimes hotter than that. I went by my local hardware store and bought a board. They will cut the board to any length you want for free, so i got it cut in 2′ sections. I then came home and drilled 1″ holes all around half of the boards. I nailed them together and stretched a piece of mesh over the top and tacked it in place. Voila! I now have my own homemade food dehydrator!
This worked really well except for making food dehydrator beef jerky. For this reason, I still needed to purchase a commercial food dehydrator. Food dehydrator beef jerky is much easier than trying to make it on my own homemade food dehydrator. Insects were drawn to the meat and it didn’t dry as fast I would like.
One other great reason for buying a brand name food dehydrator was that each machine comes with great food dehydrator recipes and food dehydrator instructions. These are things that you wouldn’t be able to get on your own by having a homemade food dehydrator. You would be spending hours online searching for the same information that comes with a commercial food dehydrator which is all packaged.
The bottom line is that my homemade food dehydrator is really great for thin sliced fruits and vegetables. In the end, I had to get another board cut in the same lengths with mesh over the top, but without the side holes for ventilation. I placed this 2′ x 2′ square over the top of the other square. This was ideal for keeping flies and other insects off of the food I was trying to dehydrate.
A dehydrator such as the excalibur food dehydrator or the nesco food dehydrator is great for everything else. If you life in a climate that isn’t as hot as where I live, then this type of commercial food dehydrator would work better for you.