Needed: Non-plastic food dehydrator

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posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 03:29 PM
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For months I have been looking online, in print catalogs, and in a few stores, for a food dehydrator that does not use plastic in the parts that will be in contact with the food. I came up with nothing! Help!

I thought about placing a sheet of parchment paper (a little pricey but non-toxic) on the working surface where the food will sit, but wouldn't a sheet of paper block the air flow that is key to drying the food? If yes, that's a "gotcha" to the idea of using a paper liner.

A non-electric dehydrator would be preferable, but I will buy an electrically operated dehydrator if I can find one without plastic on the drying surface. Up to a point, I'm willing to pay more for the quality of dehydrator that I need. Thanks very much in advance for any suggestions!

PS: I am attaching a page from the Excalibur Company explaining why the polypropylene in their dehydrator is better than stainless steel. What do you think of their explanation? Here's link:
www.excaliburdehydrator.com.../X3JlcXVlc3Q9WVRvd09udDk=
edit on 1/7/2012 by Uphill because: Add a link.
edit on 1/7/2012 by Uphill because: Add a link.




posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 03:35 PM
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posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 03:36 PM
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reply to post by Uphill
 


You can always use your oven.

That aside, a member, a few months ago, posted a how-to thread for making a drying box for beef jerky. Give it a search and you might find that thread.

Or, you can do an older method, which I have seen employed.. making drying boxes out of wood and wire mesh and letting nature do the drying outside.



posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 03:37 PM
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reply to post by Uphill
 


While watching one of the many shows on the "History" Channel concerning how to survive after the apocalypse, they had a part about dehydrating food, like meat and fruit. They said that an old car, or any vehicle, if the weather is warm enough, would be a suitable dehydrator because a closed-up vehicle gets plenty hot inside during the day.

They showed people putting slices of fruit on a cookie sheet (metal) and then placing it on the seat of the car, and closing it up.

Out here in the desert areas of the southwest, I believe that would work quite well due to the dryness and heat. I think the fruit would make the car smell yummy, too.



posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 03:37 PM
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reply to post by Uphill
 


I've read that you can use your oven to do it. Just have to prop the door open a little to let moisture out.Here is a website that sells jerky and even has recipes and how toos on it. Good luck.
www.jerky.com...



posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 03:42 PM
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I don't know what you are making but when I need to do berries or even meat, I just use a small screen elevated off the surface about 2-3 inches and a small fan turned low to keep air flowing. If you are not opposed to heat lamps from food warmers, they work well as well.

If you are doing jerky for example, you can also hang strips over a clothes rack or whatever else is good for you. Small fan and that's it.

Either that or it's the outside methods which are preferable IMO. Most important is air flow to keep moisture and invisible critters at bay.

If you have access to an old fridge, many people make smokers out of them. They will also work only as a dehydrator if you desire.

Good Luck1



posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 03:43 PM
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reply to post by Uphill
 


Thanks! I will be trying out these ideas. I also posted that same question for Rebecca Wood, the noted natural foods writer (her website is rwood.com). If she has a different suggestion I will reply back here.

What I am drying: Most probably, only veg and fruit. Possibly I will be drying some fish as well.
edit on 1/7/2012 by Uphill because: Add paragraph.



posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 03:58 PM
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You could always adapt a bamboo steamer to fit your needs.

Bamboo steamer


Just check google for them: Bamboo steamers



posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 04:03 PM
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reply to post by mileysubet
 


You're right ... especially for the "dried food in the car" scenario. I already have a steamer made of bamboo. OK, I'll try that.
edit on 1/7/2012 by Uphill because: Add words.



posted on Jan, 19 2012 @ 12:58 AM
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I use parchment in my excalibur. It works just fine, and makes for easier clean up if there's anything that leaves residue. The only problem with an oven vs. dehydrator is temperature control if you want to keep nutrient and enzymes intact. Since the trays are removable from the excaliburs, if you are dehydrating something that needs more airflow than parchment you could always stack wire cooling racks in it.



posted on Mar, 6 2012 @ 11:07 PM
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I am going to build a solar dryer this year. I've got an older version electric dryer, but I want to relegate that to jerky-only duty.

One question:

Does anybody know how to make fruit leather on a solar rack? Would wax or parchment paper work? I use a plastic insert for my electric dryer.



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 03:55 PM
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reply to post by ottobot
 

I think you need to use plastic wrap or a non-stick surface. The leather will bind to the paper, then you have a mess.



posted on Nov, 24 2012 @ 03:15 PM
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reply to post by Uphill
 


I recommend a book on food drying: Food Drying With An Attitude, by Mary T. Bell. The book is also recommended by Mother Earth News:

www.motherearthnews.com...

For example, Mary Bell gives recipes for hearty soups like split pea, etc., and then explains how to dry them. Therefore, we can all dry our favorite prepared meals and rehydrate them with hot water during camping trips, etc. That's a lot less pricey than buying freeze-dried camping foods, and oftentimes a lot healthier, because you can adjust the amount of salt etc. in your recipe. By storing dried homemade soups, your pantry will be a lot more prepared for non-electrically-dependent cooking, such as what much of the US just experienced after Hurricane Sandy. Mary also gives shelf life for dried food items.



posted on Nov, 25 2012 @ 12:42 AM
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reply to post by Uphill
 


Good point, I will check out that book. Thanks for sharing!



posted on Nov, 25 2012 @ 11:13 AM
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Oh, you must look up Alton Brown and the home made food dehydration process.

You can find it on youtube. he is the guy on Good Eats.

he uses some filters and a fan. He goes over the pros and cons of other methods as well.

edit on 25-11-2012 by nixie_nox because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 28 2012 @ 12:40 PM
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reply to post by nixie_nox
 


Nixie, thanks for the suggestion. I will do that. The reason I'm so impressed by the book "Food Drying With An Attitude" is that it distills the author's 30 years of experience with food dehydration - what works, why it works, and the recipes to back that up.





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