I decided last summer that I wanted a food dehydrator. I oven-dried some tomatoes and they were delicious, but it took about 3 days in the oven. I looked at about a million of them on Amazon and was about to order one recently when I thought hey – why don’t I place a ‘wanted’ on freecycle? Seems like the kind of thing someone might purchase with good intentions and never really use. I have given away a lot via freecycle, but this is the first thing I have taken.

Sure enough, the next AM I had an offer from someone who got one for a wedding gift 7 years ago and had never used it! I picked it up from the end of her driveway later that afternoon. It’s the Nesco FD-40 Snackmaster Elite. They don’t make it any more, but it’s similar to this, only without the timer and temp options. And mine is 400-watt, I think. It’s not that loud either, which is nice.

the beginning

The Beginning

This weekend, I finally gave it a try with some apples and bananas. Here’s what I did:
1. Washed and sliced apples. I used Golden Delicious since that’s the only kind of apple I like. I sliced them with my new mandoline that I am totally in love with. I used the thick setting and then sliced them lengthwise with a knife. The best bits are the end pieces with lots of skin, though.
2. Tossed the apples in a mix of a little lemon juice and some orange juice. This is to keep them from getting brown (if you didn’t know, you can do this for sliced apples in a lunchbox, too. I also tossed them with a little cinnamon and sugar, just to make them extra good.
3. Sliced banana thin and also dunked it in the lemon/orange mix, just for kicks.
4. Piled them in and dried on Saturday for about 8 hours. Turned it off overnight and gave them another 3 hours or so today.

The End

The End

They are SO GOOD. A little tart, sweet, and crunchy. They tasted good after being dried just a little (I’d grab one every now and then yesterday – you know, to check…). Today they are excellent. I could probably have dried them a bit longer, but since I know they’ll be gone by the end of the week most likely, I’m not concerned with them being 100% dry for long-term storage.

Had some on top of my cereal this AM and have been snacking on them all day. I bought some more apples and grabbed a giant bag or ripe bananas they marked down to 60¢ (for the whole bag! dried bananas and banana bread FTW), so I can make some more. I want to try different fruit as well, but nothing really caught my eye today.

Next I want to try other fruits (I’m wondering how something like beets might be, too…?), fruit rolls (it came with one fruit roll sheet), and maybe some jerky for the hubby. This summer, I can use it for tomatoes, herbs, and peppers as well. Kind of excited! Yay freecycle!!

Herb AlmanacFEBRUARY 28: Aspen trees bloom now. “Aspen tree, and may also be called Tremble, after the French name, considering it is the matter whereof women’s tongues were made (as the poets and some others report), which seldom cease wagging.”—John Gerard, Herbal 1633