TenDecades.com is a site dedicated to helping people create a healthy lifestyle primarily through a raw or living foods vegetarian diet. As such, we offer several kitchen appliances that greatly aid those who seek to prepare raw living foods.
Once such appliance is a food dehydrator. With a food dehydrator, you can create a myriad of healthy snacks and recipes that still retain most of the live enzymes found in fresh food. For example, you can crate dried fruit snacks with practice any kind of fresh fruit or vegetable. You can create vegetable chips, crackers and fruit rolls. You can also dry nuts, legumes and herbs & spices. Many people also make all kinds of meat jerky with various spices and meat types such as beef, venison, chicken, ostrich and fish.
Food dehydrators are also great for people who like to hike or camp and want to make their own dehydrated food to carry with them.
In this article, we will review the Excalibur Food Dehydrator.
The Excalibur dehydrator has three primary models: The Excalibur Model 2400, the Model 2500 and the Model 2900. The main difference between the three models is their size and tray capacity.
The Excalibur Model 2400 has four drying trays and has 4 square feet of drying area. The outside dimensions are 13 inches wide x 17 inches deep x 7 inches high and weighas about 16 lbs. The unit has a 4 inch fan and 220 watts of drying power. At the time if this writing, prices range from about $ 115- $ 125 for the Model 2400.
The Excalibur Model 2500 has five drying trays and has 8 square feet of drying area. The outside dimensions are 17 inches wide x 19 inches deep x 9 inches high and weighs about 18 lbs. The unit has a 5 inch fan and 400 watts of drying power. At the time of this writing, prices range from about $ 180- $ 200 for the Model 2500.
The Excalibur Model 2900 has nine drying trays and has 15 square feet of drying area. The outside dimensions are 17 inches wide x 19 inches deep x 13 inches high and weighs about 20 lbs. The unit has a 7 inch fan and 600 watts of drying power. At the time of this writing, prices range from about $ 210- $ 225 for the Model 2900.
All three units are equipped with an adjustable thermostat and they include drying trays with screens. It is important for your food dehydrator to have an adjustable thermostat so that you can regulate the temperature inside the unit. If the temperature exceeds about 105-107 degrees Fahrenheit, the live enzymes in the food will perish and the nutritional content of the food will be depleted dramatically.
When drying liquids such as yogurt or fruit purees, optional flexible Excalibur ParaFlexx® 14×14 Teflex (TM) Sheets can be purchased to line the trays to prevent spills and allow for the dried product to easily peel from the sheets.
The units and trays are constructed of heavy-gauge black plastic, with the back and bottom of metal. The bottom of the unit has four plastic feet. The 3-prong power cord is about 2 feet long.
The front of the unit has a lift-off face that allows easy access to the trays and shelves. Trays slide easily in and out of the unit on even spaced grooves.
One of the unique features of the Excalibur dehydrator is that the placement of the fan is on the back of the unit. This has several advantages compared to competitive units that have the fan placed on the top or bottom of the unit. The first advantage is that the airflow within the unit can flow evenly across the trays allowing for the food on the trays to dry evenly. In practice, however, I have found that the unit has a few hot spots and it helps to rotate the trays during the drying process so that all the food dries evenly. Because the trays are easily rolled out from the front of the unit, it is very easy to rotate trays if necessary.
The second advantage is that if drips and spills occur within the unit, they fall harmlessly onto the smooth metal bottom which can be wiped clean after use. Competitive units that have the fan located on the bottom can be much more difficult to clean in the event of drips and spills.
Drying times for fruits and vegetables will vary greatly depending on the volume of food being discharged, the type of food being discharged, and the temperature setting of the unit. I typically use a lower temperature and let the unit run longer in order to maintain the most nutritional value of the food. I have made fruit rolls in as little as an hour or two. I've also treated a large quantity of bananas that took over 24 hours on a low setting.
Overall, the units are well constructed, are easy to clean and have good capacity. Because the trays are square, there is about 25% more capacity compared to round models that take up the same counter space. The units are quiet and efficient in their drying, and we recommend them to anyone who wants to expand their options of healthy food choices.