I was recently blessed to receive an Excalibur dehydrator from the generous folks over at Cultures for Health, and boy, have I been having so much fun exploring all the wonderful uses of this machine. There is no end to the creativity that can be developed as you learn to use this machine to significantly cut down on food waste in your home while making such wonderful nutritionally dense delights for your family!
Why do I love my dehydrator?
1. Get the most out of our food
I love how the dehydrator will help to preserve and protect the nutrients in our food. According to “Preserving it Naturally” (the companion guide that comes with the dehydrator), “Dehydration is the best way to preserve the essence of raw fruits and vegetables. When raw food is heated to an internal food temperature of 118 degrees or higher, for an extended period of time, its nutritional values begin to deteriorate, especially enzymes. Dehydrating does not subject food to the high temperatures associated with cooking, or traditional canning methods.”
The effects of water removal of dehydrated food is minimal except that some vitamin A and vitamin C are lost. I can also soak and dry my nuts and help break down the enzyme inhibitors that help our bodies digest them more effectively. Sprouting grains is another task that can be completed in order to break down phytates. There is an endless list of food ingredients that can be dried – fish, meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains – practically anything that has water in it.
2. Create fun, healthy snacks for our family
With a few simple steps, I can create granola bars, fruit leather, and jerky and let my dehydrator go to work. Thus far we made yummy soaked granola, fruit leather, and soaked nuts for homemade trail mixes and munching. What fun!
3. Save money
After the initial investment in the machine, you can prepare goodies at half the cost of store-bought brands. Plus, the dehydrator will take significantly less electricity than an conventional oven to prepare our food, cutting back on costs and helping be a good steward of our environment. According to the manufacturer, an Excalibur Food Dehydrator only uses $.04-$.05 of electricity per hour!
4. Easy to use
The Excalibur comes with a delightful book (Preserving it Naturally) with detailed instructions, recipes, and helpful hints on how to create anything and everything my heart desires. I just adjust the temperature as needed and the machine will do the rest.
5. Perfect balance in drying
Unlike many other dehydrators, the Excalibur has the fan in the back of the machine enabling balanced and even drying. All trays get the same even heat.
6. No waste!
The dehydrator helps me to avoid food waste in my home. When veggies or fruit start fading, I can simply lay them out in the dehydrator and preserve them for future use. There is definitely some nutritional lose, as it is preferred to dry fresh ingredients, but they prevent them from going in the compost or trash. Stale bread can be turned into croutons. Old crackers that are starting to get soft can be re-dried to refresh their crispiness.
I have the 9 tray Excalibur dehydrator so that I can prepare many things at once and save on electricity and time in preparation. You can prepare nearly 25 pounds of vegetables in one day in this machine! It is large, but fits nicely on a shelf in our garage. It quietly hums in the background, and fills our garage with wonderful scents. The Exalibur dehydrator is definitely very sturdy, well made, and comes with an excellent warranty. Plus it is BPA free.
The only two things I do not like about this machine:
- The door – I wish it were able to pop open and slid in, but you have to remove it entirely. Not a big deal just annoying at times.
- The lack of a timer – there is no timer on this machine, but a simple fix of purchasing a small timer that plugs into the wall is a cheap alternative.
Protecting our food budget and getting the most out of our food, make this machine a valuable addition and worthwhile investment to any homemaker’s kitchen!
Now for the exciting news!
Cultures for Health is offering you the opportunity to win a 4 tray Excalibur dehydrator for your kitchen (retail value of $150)!
1. Visit Cultures for Health and enter your name and email address. Come back and share why you would love to have a dehydrator and how you would use it.
2. For a second optional entry, share about this giveaway on facebook, twitter or your own personal blog and let us know in a second comment.
Note: If the winner would prefer the larger model, Cultures for Health will offer a gift certificate for the price of the 4-tray model so you can apply it towards the bigger one.
Limited to US and Canadian entries.