I have a new pet in my kitchen.  Much like my kitchen-aid, she’s black all over!

dehydrator

My new Excalibur 3900 Food Dehydrator

We are loving this bad boy!  I got her a little over a week ago.  I have had it on my “list” for about 6 months, but couldn’t justify it until now.  Then, I thought about waiting until after we moved, but I realized how I might miss 1/2 of the fresh fruit and veggie season if I waited any longer.  So, I finally broke down and bought it. 

Since then, we have made a number of dried foods:

More dried apple rings than we can count!

Apple, apple-yogurt, apple-cinnamon, and apple-banana fruit leathers are a favorite with the kids.

Ground Beef Jerky

And more!  Thank the Lord, Sam’s Club had a great deal of a huge bulk-bag of organic apples for about $5, so I got a bunch to play with.  We have made so many apple rings and apple leathers that I think S is sick of apples!  I also took advantage of a deal on bulk sliced mushrooms and dried those.  I am very happy with those results, and they will be perfect to have on hand for those last-minute dishes.  Remember that cow that went in my freezer a few months back? Well, in an attempt to finish everything before we moved, we had eaten almost everything except probably 30 pounds of ground beef.  I was somewhat stumped as to what to do with it all–until I found a delicious recipe for Ground Beef Jerky!  What a perfect solution!  I am learning just how much water is in our food though.  It is amazing how little is left after dehydrating!  I can spend several hours prepping all of it, and with 6 of us eating a snack, we can eat over half of it in about 15 minutes!  Oh well.  Labor of love I guess! 

Just for the record, if you are in the market for a new dehydrator, the Excalibur is awesome!  We had an original model (not excalibur) with the round plastic trays that had a hole in the middle, and the air would blow up through the holes to dehydrate.  It had no custom settings or anything, but it worked.  I needed more though.  I think the Excalibur is my answer.  Because of the size, the customizable thermostat, and the horizontal airflow, I can rise bread, make yogurt, and dry or warm small items in it, in addition to dehydrating.  I also took advantage of a deal that allowed me to get a great dehydrating book free with it, which has helped tremendously! 

So, one day, when I get a garden growing, all my friends and family can expect to receive lots of lovely, dehydrated, natural foods!…..That is, of course, if I can keep the kids (and me) from eating it all first!

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