Friday, April 25, 2014

Product Review: Nesco Food Dehydrator FD-37

I have been trying to get around to doing a product review about my nifty food dehydrator, Nesco FD-37A American Harvest Food Dehydrator.   I have had it for some time and it is still running strong. Which is surprising considering that this is a really affordable, basic no frills model (sells for under $50 on Amazon) . This unit consists of four trays (expandable to 7), a recipe booklet and a top mounted 400 watt fan. I got it a couple of years ago for Christmas as a gift from the hubby.  Once I took it out the box, all I had used it for was jerky, mostly beef, turkey and venison.

This unit works like a champ and true to what the company claims, it dries food quickly and evenly with no tray rotation. It is also relatively easy to clean and very easy to use. As for the cons, this model does not have an adjustable thermostat, so food dries fast and can be over dried, especially jerky, so instead of chewy jerky, it comes out crunchy (which is an easy fix, just add a sprinkle of Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce and let sit for about an hour, it softens right up).  Despite what the guidelines say in the recipe booklet, you still should check your food halfway through the recommended time. just to make sure that it isn't getting over dried.  The worst thing about this dehydrator is the noise, it's loud.  I don't have anything to compare it to as far as other dehydrators and their sound levels, but I do feel like this particular model is loud.  If it really starts to bug me or the family. I just stick it in the garage.

 I have recently discovered that there was more to dehydrating than just jerky. Thanks to the wondrous world of the interwebs, I learned that I can dehydrate EVERYTHING!  One day I got a little excited when I saw carrots on sale, my kids normally love carrots and eat them for snacks.  So I bought 10 pounds of them, and as luck would have it, the kids didn't touch them.  They sat in my fridge for I don't know how long.  Try as I could I just couldn't get rid of all of those damn carrots.  So before they could start looking too sad, I decided to dehydrate them. I washed, peeled and sliced five pounds of them in the food processor.  Then I filled the trays as much as I could.  Since they were sliced so thinly, I did really pile them on.  I turned the dehydrator on and went to bed.  The next morning I woke up to a significantly smaller pile of completely dried carrots! 

That five pounds of carrots shrunk so much that I could fit them all in a quart size jar.  I've been using the dehydrator almost non stop ever since.  I've done corn, coleslaw mix, broccoli slaw mix, bananas, strawberries, cabbage, etc...  One of my favorite things to dry is kale for instant "chips." I eat them plain or crumble and throw in just about anything soups, burgers, meatballs, and tonight's special, pizza!  You can also toss lightly with a bit of olive oil and salt (or your other favorite seasonings) for a quick, healthy snack.

Wash and trim kale removing thick stems, dehydrate overnight, kale "chips"
 If you are look for a dehydrator, this one is a great value and can handle anything you put in it.  I like it so much that we even got my dad one for Father's Day last year.