“It better be able to make the whole meal at the touch of a button,” my husband said when he saw the Excalibur come out of its box.
It’s as big as our microwave, and as heavy. This is truly the extent of my counter space available for working. And yes, it’s always this messy. Clearly I’m comfortable with you all if I’m inviting you in without cleaning up a lot! Thanks for not minding the mess.
I had no idea it would be so huge. “You’ve got to start getting dimensions on these things before you order them!” poor husband tells me. Remember how big the Nutrimill was?
I do have the 9-tray, whereas you will be getting a 5-tray, plenty sufficient, when you win the big giveaway.
Like the Nutrimill, the Excalibur has been banished to the downstairs bathroom, and then to a table in the laundry room with an extension cord. I don’t have that kind of counter space in the kitchen, and having the noise of a dehydrator running, even though the Excalibur is pleasantly quiet, isn’t something I want in my kitchen all the time.
As with any new thing in my life, it took me a while to open the box and read the directions. It didn’t help that we are trying to sell our house, so the Excalibur was shuffled off to the shed for some showings and didn’t make it back to the house for a few weeks. I knew I was most interested in a dehydrator for crispy nuts, as my oven doesn’t go below 170F, and summer produce. I wasn’t interested in drying fruits that already flew all the way from California.
But I had to test it out, you know?
I Have Now Dried…
Crispy Nuts: Walnuts, Almonds and Pecans
Strawberries, Apples and Bananas Cherries
Strawberry fruit rolls/fruit leather
[Apparently I forgot to take photos...I was a little miffed at the strawberries to begin with for being small and seedy, and then miffed at myself for letting the machine go during church (two hours too long) and making crunchy dried strawberry pieces instead of the gorgeous rolls that were ready before church. Perhaps boycotting photos is my way of rebelling...]
UPDATE: I’ve since perfected and even video taped my fruit leather, process:
The soaked granola and Popeye bars are in the Healthy Snacks to Go book.
- Wheat Thin Crackers
- Incubated yogurt
- Raised bread (rose? rised? Maybe I can’t past tense that one!)
None of those last three went particularly well, actually. The crackers never got crispy after 14 hours, even though the Excalibur book lists most of their crackers recipes at 2-6 hours. The yogurt was no better than my cooler yogurt method, and in fact was a runny batch, although I don’t think that was the fault of the incubation temperature. The poor sourdough was destined to be flat and take forever, I’m afraid.
Here’s what the fruit looked like done:
Next on my List
I’d like to try:
- beef jerky (recipe can be found in the newly expanded Healthy Snacks to Go eBook along with over 45 real food snack recipes)
- some crackers in the dehydrator book
- more fruit rolls (since I over crunch-i-fied the first batch)
- sprouted grains
- seasonal produce in bulk: tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, herbs
- sauces for long term storage
Over the course of the next week, I’ll share with you how I had to prepare the fruits and some neat recipes you can use a dehydrator for. I also did some competitions between the Excalibur and a less expensive dehydrator, which I’ll be posting about tomorrow.
If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.
I did receive this dehydrator as a review sample. It’s bigger than the giveaway because I’m the big bad blogger doing all the work. I was not compensated for a review, and anything I say about the Excalibur is very much my own opinion. Just wait until tomorrow…See my full disclosure statement here.