From the Manufacturer
NESCO/American Harvest - "The Best Food Dehydrators in the World."
NESCO/American Harvest has been the leader in food dehydrators for over 30 years. These units feature patented technologies that dry your food faster and more evenly than any of the competing models available, we know, because we've tried them all. Our Converge-a-Flow air flow assures even drying from top to bottom, without the tray rotation required by others.
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced "pro", making beef jerky, drying fruits, vegetables, herbs, or flowers, NESCO/American Harvest offers the best units available.
Introducing our newest dehydrator the FD-80 square dehydrator & jerky maker. This innovative design features 700 watts of drying power, and generates maximum speed and quality for dehydrating fruits, vegetables, beef jerky, and venison jerky. The top mounted fan eliminates liquids dripping into the heating chamber.
- Adjustable Thermostat
The adjustable thermostat allows you to dry different foods at proper temperatures (95-155º F), providing the flexibility to produce the best drying results.
- New, Powerful Top Mounted Fan
Top mounted fan and 700 watts of drying power generate maximum speed and quality for dehydrating fruits, vegetables, and jerky. Helps dry food in hours, not days like other food dehydrators.
- ExpandableThe FD-80 comes with 4 trays, but is expandable to 8 trays. Additional SQT-2 Add-A-Trays available in sets of 2.
- Dehydrate a Variety, All at Once
The patented Converga-Flow drying system forces air down the exterior pressurized chamber (not through the trays). The hot air is forced horizontally across each individual tray, converging on the core for fast, even and nutritious drying. No flavor mixing and no need to rotate trays.
Because of the unique design of the patented Converga-Flow system of your NESCO/American Harvest dehydrator, you’ll be surprised at how quickly most foods dry. Drying times may vary, depending on the type and amount of food, thickness and evenness of the slices, percentage of water in the food, humidity, temperature of air, altitude and the model of NESCO /American Harvest dehydrator you are using. Drying times may also vary greatly from one area to another and from day to day, depending on the climatic conditions. Keep records to help you predict drying times for specific foods.
Fruits, fruit rolls and vegetables should be dried at 130°F to 140°F (55°C to 60°C). By drying foods in this temperature range you will minimize the loss of heat-sensitive vitamins A and C. All foods sweat when they begin to dry, the temperature may be set higher than 140°F (60°C) during the first couple of hours of drying. The actual temperature of the food will remain 15°F to 20°F (6o to 8o°C) lower than the air temperature for the first couple of hours. Meats and fish should be dried on the highest temperature setting of your dehydrator. These temperatures also keep bacteria and other spoilage micro-organisms, common to meat and fish, to a minimum during the first stages of drying. Nuts and seeds are high in oil, and if higher temperatures are used, they will tend to become rancid, developing off flavors. The best temperature is from 90°F to 100°F (30°C to 40°C). Herbs and spices are most flavorful when they first open and should be harvested while very fresh, before they begin to blossom. Because the aromatic oils are very sensitive, temperatures should be 90°F to 100°F (30°C to 40°C) for drying. Take care not to load trays too heavily as this will prolong the drying time. Dried flowers, herbs and spices used for potpourri should be dried at temperatures ranging from 90°F to 100°F (30°C to 40°C) to maintain aroma and color.
Drying Fruit Rolls
Fruit rolls are a favorite snack for young and old alike. It is a chewy fruit product made from puréed fresh fruit, which has been dried and rolled into snack sized pieces. Fruit rolls are easy to make and cost less than those bought at the store. Selection Almost any fruit will make an excellent fruit roll. Most fruits can also be combined with others. Some fruits, such as apples, are high in pectin and fiber, and have an excellent texture when dried. The combinations are limitless. Use your imagination and have fun. Use fresh fruit in season. You can also use slightly overripe fruits, irregularly shaped fruits, or slightly bruised fruits that would be unsuitable for canning or drying. Some fruits, such as citrus, should be used in combination with other fruits because they have so much liquid and very little pulp. If you find that a fruit is too runny, combine it with apple, applesauce or a similar fruit that will give it more substance. When fresh fruits are not available, canned fruits (either sweetened or un-sweetened) can be used. Simply drain the liquid, and pour the fruit into the blender. Applesauce can be taken directly from the container for wonderful fruit rolls. Frozen fruits can also be used, although they tend to be a bit more runny. Simply thaw and follow directions for using fresh fruits.
Jerky is a favorite snack for school, lunch, on the trail or just about anywhere. It is made by seasoning lean, raw meat in a salt mixture, then drying it without cooking. The finished product is a protein-rich exercise in chewing and ever so delicious. Jerky also makes a savory broth base for soups and stews.
Homemade jerky is much less expensive than jerky slices or sticks purchased at a grocery or convenience store. Most lean meats will yield about 1 pound of jerky for 3 pounds of fresh meat.
Jerky may be made from a variety of wild game meats, fish and poultry. Use filets of fish and the breast of chicken. When purchasing meats for jerky, choose lean meats with minimal marbling (fat), as fat tends to get rancid during storage. A lean cut of flank steak or round steak makes excellent jerky. You can make delicious jerky from ground meat, using the NESCO/American Harvest Jerky WorksTM kit. It’s best to use ground round or lean (or extra lean) meat. Season with NESCO/ Harvest Jerky seasoning mixes.
- Q: What is dehydrating?
A: Dehydrating is a method of food preservation in which moisture is removed from the food. Dehydrating inhibits growth of microorganisms and decay. Dehydrating can dramatically increase storage life for food.
- Q: Does Dehydrating food destroy its nutrients?
A: Dehydrating causes minimal loss of nutrients, but if done properly that loss is quite small. You will retain about 90% of the vitamins and minerals. When using higher heats, foods will dehydrate faster, but this will result in more nutrient loss.
- Q: How do you know when foods are dry?
A: Always let foods cool for a few minutes. Check to see if the food is still moist or sticky. If it is leathery and pliable, it is usually done. However, foods that are overdried may become brittle and turn brown.
- Q: How do you store dried foods?
A: Always store dried foods in airtight containers. Store containers in a cool, dry place. Exposure to humidity, light and air during storage adversely affects storage life of dried foods.
- Q: How long can I store dried food?
A: We recommend a maximum storage time of one year for the best appearance and nutritional value. Vacuum packing greatly extends shelf life. Refrigeration or freezing will double or triple shelf life.
- Q: How long does it take to dehydrate foods?
A: It depends on the type of food you are dehydrating, quantities, and capabilities of dehydrator. Refer to your fruit drying guidelines.
- Q: If I powdered my dried vegetables, what could I use them for?
A: Powdered onion and garlic, of course, are great seasonings for meats and sauces. Powdered tomatoes can be reconstituted into tomato sauce, paste, catsup, juice or soup. A blender or food processor will give you the finest texture. Store in air-tight container.
- Q: Is it necessary to pretreat foods before dehydrating them?
A: Pretreating can enhance color and flavor of certain foods, but is not necessary. Pretreatment options are dipping, blanching, and marinating.
- Q: My apples and pears have darkened to a rusty-brown color while drying. Are they safe to eat?
A: Yes. Fruits that have turned brownish color are safe to eat. Many fruits will oxidize when the flesh of the fruit is exposed to air. By pretreating fruits, oxidation is reduced.
- Q: What kinds of foods can you dehydrate?
A: You can dry fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs, flowers, pet treats, etc. Dry left over bread for bread crumbs. You can dry almost anything that contains water.
- Q: Why should the edges of my fruit leather be thicker than the center?
A: With fruit leathers, the edges of mixture tend to dry first. If edges are the same thickness as center, they will dry too quickly and become brittle.
- Q: Will flavors mix if I dry different foods together in the same dehydrator?
A: If you dry foods in the same category, such as fruits with other fruits and vegetables with other vegetables, the flavors should not mix. However, we do not recommend drying onions with any other foods.
- Q: Are dehydrated foods recommended for camping and hiking?
A: You can use dehydrated ingredients to speed up preparation time. Dehydrated foods are lightweight and easy to carry in your backpack or camper.
- Q: What are the benefits of food drying?
A: There are many benefits of drying food. Here are some:
- You are in control of the quality of food you eat.
- You will save money.
- You can take advantage of supermarket specials.
- You can create a tasty snack that is good for you.
- You can take advantage of your own garden by drying your fruits and vegetables to be used year round.
- Q: My banana chips don't taste or look like the ones in the stores. What can I do?
A: The banana chips you buy in the store are deep fried. Dehydrating your own banana chips taste great and are more nutritious than store bought.
- Q: The fruit sticks to the trays. How can I prevent this?
A: Fruits or thinly sliced vegetables may stick to your trays. You may want to purchase Clean-A-Screens to put on your trays to prevent these items from sticking.