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Dehydrator info please?
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Deedee



Joined: 10 Jan 2005
Posts: 250
Location: Surrey
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 05 10:45 pm    Post subject: Dehydrator info please?  Reply with quote    

I'm looking to try new ways of storing our food.I have seen lots of articles about drying food but really aren't sure about going to the expense of a dehydrator.They seem pretty pricey here does anyone use one or are they a waste of money and would I be better off doing it in the oven?? Thanks

jema
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 26565
Location: escaped from Swindon
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 05 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

My preserving book, says basically make a small wooden box with a door, a drip tray and a 60 watt light bulb.

I intend to do this soon.

jema

nettie



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
Posts: 5886
Location: Suffolk
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 05 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

What sort of things are you thinking of drying?

Deedee



Joined: 10 Jan 2005
Posts: 250
Location: Surrey
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 05 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I want to try peppers and tomatoes,onions,apples all the sort of stuff we grow really and jerky. Yes I've seen a few diy things for building one Jema I might have to get the old hammer and nails out

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 05 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I have an ezidri machine, I picked it up really cheap at a car-boot sale.

It's not bad, but to be honest drying vegetables doesn't really inspire me; better to freeze them after a brief blanching, or to botle them.

The drier really comes into its own for dealing with excess mushrooms, making biltong, etc. It's best for things that are improved or really intensified by drying.

Deedee



Joined: 10 Jan 2005
Posts: 250
Location: Surrey
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 05 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks cab I think it'll be one of those things I'll pick up if I see it cheap enough but won't splurge out hundreds for one.I could kick myself for not getting the one Tchibo had for 29.99 last year,by the time I had enough money for it they'd sold out

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14834
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 05 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The only thing I ever dry is oranges for christmas decorations. They go in the oven for 24 hours on gas mark E. Might be worth a go before splashing out on a dehydrator.

Gervase



Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 8655

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 05 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I bought an Italian one a couple of years back for drying chillies. At about 120 it seemed a bit steep for half a dozen trays, a fan and a heating element, but that said, it does the job. It's a bit noisy though - the fan needs to run all the time and can be a tad obtrusive.
All in all, if you're counting pennies, I'd stick with a very low oven - especially if it's electric and fan assisted.

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 05 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

To be honest, the advantage to using our dehydrator is that it's more compact than using the airing cupboard (leaving space for drying sheets in there!) and it's a wee bit faster. If I had to buy one for full price, I'd not do so.

mochyn



Joined: 21 Dec 2004
Posts: 24551
Location: mid-Wales
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 05 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I dry our chillies in the warming oven of the Rayburn using heat that already exicsts rather than turning on an appliance. The airing cupboard is useful too, and always warm. As long as I don't leave the door open while I'm in the shower, in which case everything steams up!

ButteryHOLsomeness



Joined: 03 Apr 2005
Posts: 770

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 05 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

hi,

i've been very interested in making my own unit so it's similar to the excalibur type. the racks should be easy to make, simply stretch wire mesh over a square frame. the box should be easy to either come by or make.

now i'm wondering how many racks a 60 watt bulb would work for and also is a fan necessary or can you just have some form of ventilation (drilling air holes etc)

i'll have to have a google again when i actually have the supplies but i'm always curious to get firsthand knowledge

i had a ronco dehydrator in the states, the round type, plastic with several stacking trays you had to rotate, not very keen on that, it made a mess and wasn't very efficient

i've done dehydrating in the lowest oven setting but again, not very efficient (though i do love my beetroot crisps, should make more of those soon) i'm curious, just how does the air cupboard drying work?

jema
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 26565
Location: escaped from Swindon
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 05 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

You might want to look at this thread:

http://forum.downsizer.net/about2742.html&highlight=dehydrator

Mine has not arrived yet, but the thread convinced me away from my usual diy approach.

ButteryHOLsomeness



Joined: 03 Apr 2005
Posts: 770

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 05 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

thanks for that, i am considering it. since ours wouldn't have a fan in it i suppose this would be just as good and probably easier to clean.... i am expecting a big paycheck in a few days, hope they still have some left!

Bugs



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 10743

PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 05 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Having a quick glance at Selfsufficientish, I've just come across one of their contributors plans for a propagator/dryer in one...they say it's successful for chillies...

http://www.selfsufficientish.com/drier.htm

Hedonists



Joined: 13 Jan 2005
Posts: 95
Location: Romford, Essex.
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 05 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

ButteryHOLsomeness wrote:
thanks for that, i am considering it. since ours wouldn't have a fan in it i suppose this would be just as good and probably easier to clean.... i am expecting a big paycheck in a few days, hope they still have some left!


I'm guessing the fan is included to ensure airflow and prevent mould???

It'd very easy to fit a computer fan. I've used computer fans in a similar type of project. You'd need to connect the computer fan to a twelve volt adapter, by stripping the wires and twisting them together. Be sure to rewrap the exposed wires with 'electricians tape'.

Computer fans are available in different sizes (generally between 8cm & 12cm). Again I'm guessing, but I'd have thought the smallest size would be fine. Maybe someone with a dehydrator could measure theirs? I'd situate the fan low on one side, with two or three 1" holes on the other for air to escape.
computer fans are widely available for under a tenner, either from computer shops or online. Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

http://www.quietpc.com/uk/casefans.php

Power adaptors are easy to come by also. Most if not all mobile phones, computer printers, battery rechargers, laptops use them. You may well be able to recycle one from a gadget that you no longer use. Here's an example:

http://www.a1-battery.co.uk/CHARGER/CASIO/CCS001K.htm
The adapter is the plug looking thing, on the top-right of the photo.
I bought mine from a local computer shop. They cost about seven quid each.

I guess my only concern about a computer fan is that the through flow of air might be too great, which would result in one losing too much heat. But as I have no experience of building or using a dehydrator, hopefully someone else might be able to chip in on this? If it is a problem then it'd be fairly easy to baffle the fan and slow the airflow.

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