Friday, October 14, 2011

The New World of Dehydrators (to ME, anyway!)

On Monday I received a Facebook notice that bananas were on sale at one of our local groceries, for 19 cents a pound.  Finally!  A great deal on produce that would fit in my family's diet!  I arranged to borrow a couple of food dehydrators and then went & purchased a 40 lb box of bananas.

I've never owned a dehydrator, but I've had one on my wish list for a while now.  I figured this would be a good test to see if I liked it, and if it was worth buying it. 

I did a google search on-line on how to make banana chips, and the recipes were pretty straight forward.  I peeled them, sliced them pretty thin (hoping they would be end up crispy), soaked them in lemon juice (I used bottled rather than fresh because I've got a large bottle that I need to use up), and then put them on the trays.

It was nice to try two different kinds of dehydrators.  One of them was a Nesco American Harvest dehydrator.
I really like it.  It had six trays, and had a fan in the top.  The temperature was adjustable, too.  This dehydrator dried the food noticeably faster than the other one I used (which didn't have a fan).  Another thing I really like:  the price!  I looked this up on Amazon, and for $50-$60 I think this is a great deal.  I was thinking I would have to spend closer to $150-$200.   It has pretty good reviews, too.

The second dehydrator I tried is a 7-tray Ronco Food Dehydrator. 

This dehydrator doesn't have a fan, but has a heat element in the bottom part that radiates up through the trays to dry the food.  Because it doesn't have a fan, the drying takes longer.  The banana chips tasted the same from either machine, and the price was very comparable.  The model I used (pictured) is not currently available on Amazon, but a new model is, and it is about $49.  It doesn't have very good reviews, so I didn't even put a link for you.

The option that I didn't try was my oven.  I didn't want to tie up my oven for that all day, and it only goes down to 170 degrees, so I would still prefer to have a dehydrator.  Oh, and did I mention that you can make YOGURT in your dehydrator, too!?  Guess I know what I'll be hinting at for Christmas this year.

I had enough bananas to do a second round of banana chips.  The second time I didn't soak the bananas in lemon juice, because I wanted to see what the difference would be, and I wanted to see if they wouldn't stick to the trays as bad.  They actually look really good, and didn't turn darker like I thought they would.  The biggest negative, though, is that they taste more "banana-ey", which is a flavor I have a hard time with.  In fact, I've only started to even tolerate bananas in the last year. 

Next I'm going to make some homemade jerky, but then I better get these dehydrators returned!  I have nice friends :).

No comments:

Post a Comment