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-   -   Dehydrator (http://www.lowcarbfriends.com/bbs/low-carb-recipe-help-suggestions/525646-dehydrator.html)

JoSkids 11-11-2007 11:46 AM

Due to some suggestions in the "raw almond" thread, I am thinking about getting a dehydrator. Some are very reasonably priced so it is not a question of money at this point, but they are so big!

How many of you think it is worth it, do you use your dehydrator often?

Is it awkward or difficult to use?

Which one do you have or tried - would you recommend it? Why or why not?

All advice welcome, pro or con. Thanks in advance for your advice!

gettinserious 11-11-2007 12:05 PM

I had one a long time ago that was a cheapy from fingerhut. I was not impressed, but then as I said it was a cheapy that was from Fingersmut.

There are tons of things you can do with dehydrators besides dry almonds. You can make beef jerky (a LOT cheaper than store bought and healthier) and when you get up further rungs on the ladder, dried natural fruits that don't have added sugars like store bought. Some people make fruit leather with it.

They are not hard to use. You have to slice stuff pretty thin and just layer stuff in one layer per tray, plug it in and let it go for a few hours. Check doneness and go by that.

Its a good investment.

msnhim 11-11-2007 12:19 PM

I have the NESCO-American Harvest Brand. We love it. I have to say the only thing I make in mine is jerky. (I just season lean beef and dehydrate)

This is our second one. Years ago we had a cheap (I believe coffeemate) one and while it worked fine was harder to clean.

The NESCO one isn't to awful big. I just keep it in a cabinet when I am not using it. It also had different temp settings for different items.

Overall I would recomend it!

alivenaz 11-11-2007 10:45 PM

My advice is to get one with a timer and get one that is not so loud that you have to keep it in another room because it will be on for hours at a time.

JoSkids 11-12-2007 11:14 PM

any others with suggestions?

Angel373 11-12-2007 11:19 PM

yeah, I saw one at Target today and I was thinking about maybe getting one too. I'd love to make my own jerky without sugar and HFCS!

alivenaz 11-12-2007 11:20 PM

One of the best you can buy is Excalibur, but they are expensive so I wouldn't start there unless you were sure you were going to use it a lot. Get something cheaper and see how you like it. Dehydrators are used frequently by raw foodies (I do incorporate raw when possible), so if you are looking for some possible recipes or ideas of how to use a dehydrator, you could do an internet search of "raw food dehydrator". You will get many recipes that way. For low carb eating, you might like some of the raw cracker and bread recipes that are out there.

jackieba 11-14-2007 06:46 AM

I tried one that a friend bought (it was Aroma brand)--I didn't like that one but it did help me decide what I wanted. I splurged and got the Excalibur. They are high but I usually regret it later when I try to go cheap. What I didn't like about the other one was (1) the trays stack on top of each other so I had to remove all of them to check on how the lower trays were doing (2) the bottom trays dried quicker than the top and around the edges dried quicker than in the middle and (3) this one rotated and the bottom tray was the one that did the rotating so you couldn't even move it up to try for more even drying. It was very lightweight but plastic isn't heavy.

My Excalibur dries very evenly without rotating. I like that it's more like an oven--each tray slides out individually. I can even put a dish in there if I want. I set it up in my basement and just leave it there (not because of noise just because my kitchen is crowded enough already). The trays are polycarbonate--strong stuff. I find it very easy to clean.

I make jerky very often and I make summer sausage in it plus I've dried vegetables. Haven't done fruits yet. I'm also thinking of drying yogurt for take along snacks. I got Mary Bell's dehydrator book too--lots of ideas in there. Mine doesn't have a timer but I have a timer like you use for lights if I decide to use it. My jerky is ready in about 3-4 hours (and so was the summer sausage) so I haven't needed a timer yet. That would be good when doing something with a high water content though, like fruits, that would need longer so you could let it run overnight.

Nigel 11-14-2007 06:52 PM

I got a cheapie one from Amazon a while back and it's so queit you don't even hear it. I forget the name...have to check later. I just keep it in the box it came in under a shelf. It works great though. I've used it for all kinds of stuff and everything has worked out fine.

Charski 03-31-2008 08:02 PM

I'm resurrrecting this thread because I just got my Nesco from Amazon today! Would love to hear if anyone else is using a dehydrator at this point and any recipes for jerky would be greatly appreciated!

Barbo 03-31-2008 08:29 PM

I have to go look them up at Amazon.

I have a Nesco oven that just sits in my craft room holding
my hats up. :p

Ann Lytle 04-01-2008 09:12 AM

I have had a food dryer for years, it's now in the basement. I used to make jerky and I have pear trees so did dried pears for a long time. I bought extra trays for mine, don't remember the brand, but I do have to move the bottom rack to the top as it does dry faster. As sweet as dried pears are I'm sure the carb count is too high and haven't done them since I've been doing a low carb diet. Most of the things mentioned, like fruit leathers are very high in carbs,

RVcook 04-02-2008 06:37 AM

We bough a cheapie Ronco brand dehydrator with the extra trays. I loved it so much (even though I had to rotrate the trays), that DH built me a huge cabinet-type out of scrap wood. It worked great and we dehydrated all kinds of fruits, veggies and even potatoes! We did make jerky in it, although we are not big jerky eaters and it was quite good. The most important thing when making jerky is to be sure that you slice the meat no thicker than 1/4". There should be TONS of recipes on the web if you Google for them.

Charski 04-02-2008 09:24 AM

I made my first batch of jerky yesterday using Alton Brown's recipe - I simply substituted my SF honey for the regular stuff, and I used 1 teaspoon each garlic and onion powders instead of 2 of onion - and a couple other minor tweaks! ;)

I bought carne asada meat at Costco, which is just presliced round - very thinly sliced. When I got it home, I cut off any fat/gristle, cut it into strips, marinated 3 hours, and it was in the dehydrator a total of 6 hours. Boy it's good too! DH is thrilled.

I started with a 3 pound package of meat, trimmed it up, and ended up with 1.3 pounds of jerky. The meat was $11.60 (at 3.59 a pound - I can do better if I slice it myself, I'm sure) so that's not a bad price for that much jerky! The ingredients for the marinade are:

Char's Beef Jerky Marinade (with a nod to Alton Brown)

2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. each onion and garlic powders
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tblsp. SF honey or other AS
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tblsp. liquid smoke

Next time, I will add more spice - we like it a little hotter than this turned out - will probably just add some chipotle chile powder to the marinade, and/or sprinkle red pepper flakes on the meat after it's laid out in the trays.

For a first effort though I'm quite pleased!

Next, I'm gonna try some veggies in it. Sweet potato, acorn squash, green beans...

And I want to do halved cranberries too, probably soak them overnight in some vanilla DaVinci's SF syrup....

Kisal 04-02-2008 05:43 PM

I guess I'll check Amazon, too. I want to make beef jerky, but my old dehydrator only heated to 140 degrees. I've read that jerky has to be heated to 160 to be safe. I've been using my oven to make jerky, but I think it would work better in a dehydrator. :)

Charski 04-02-2008 08:44 PM

I'm quite pleased with this little dehydrator - it comes with 4 trays AND a "jerky shooter" with which you can make jerky or sticks with ground meats! Haven't tried that yet but I plan to, after reading a number of reviews on the shooter products.

This one ran $35 delivered. Not bad at all. And the trays and base can all go in the dishwasher - put it all in mine today and it came out perfectly.

Barbo 04-03-2008 05:41 PM

The Noise?

I read that this model was noisy from some of the users.
How did you find it?

Also I was thinking that if you partially freeze the meat, you might
be able to slice it even thinner that the butcher could.

A so pleased that you like it and that DH thought it was good.

$35 bucks delivered is a bargain.

Charski 04-03-2008 08:09 PM

Well, it's definitely not totally quiet, but I didn't find it too annoying - it was running in the kitchen while we ate dinner at the dining table, which is only across the open kitchen counter away - and I'm one who does NOT like noise! We had the TV on at normal volume and to me, it was just fine.

Yeah, I'm sure you could get the meat thinner if you wanted, but this stuff cut for carne asada was to my mind, perfect! I like my jerky with a little "meat" to it (pardon the pun!) and this is great. Actually it's not as thick as the jerky we formerly bought from Jerky USA, and not quite as dry either. And it sure was EASY! ;)

DH was saying this evening how much he is enjoying it as a snack at work - I've been sending him with 2 snack baggies with 1 oz. each of the jerky and he thinks it's just great stuff.

Kisal 04-04-2008 04:44 AM

Well, I bought a new dehydrator this evening from Amazon. It's the Nesco American Harvest FD-75PR 700-Watt Food Dehydrator. It was the only one I found that would go up to 160 degrees F, which according to the USDA, is very important for making jerky. From what I've read, if the bacteria isn't completely killed during the drying process, it will continue to multiply in the finished jerky. Although I've never had salmonella poisoning (probably because I ate so much raw meat as a child), I don't want to take unnecessary risks, either! :)

I load my dehydrator in the kitchen, and then take it out to the garage to run it. That way, any noise doesn't bother me. I just set the timer on my oven to remind me to go out and check the food once in awhile as it's drying. :laugh:

Charski 04-04-2008 09:59 AM

I hope you like it, Kisal!

I don't worry so much about the 160* - I eat my steak so rare my Dad always says, "I think the vet can still save that one!" :rofl:

And I figure, the Indians dried theirs outside in the sun with flies and stuff - this has GOT to be an improvement! LOL!

I've stored it in the fridge so I think it will be good until it's gone, which based on the rate at which DH is consuming it - won't be long anyway.

weasel! 04-06-2008 02:40 PM

Here's a recipe thread that will come in handy for anyone looking for some lovely, healthful, LC crackers. Posted by Charski's request! :)


Kisal, I'm intrigued by your statement that you ate raw meat as a child. Is it part of the cuisine of your cultural heritage, or what? Do tell! :)

Kisal 04-06-2008 03:55 PM


Originally Posted by weasel! (Post 10152077)
Kisal, I'm intrigued by your statement that you ate raw meat as a child. Is it part of the cuisine of your cultural heritage, or what? Do tell! :)

Steak Tartare was on the menu every week when I was a child. It's ground sirloin mixed with eggs and various herbs and spices. I love it and miss having it! I recently learned a way that I can safely make it again, so I'm excited about that. :clap:

I loved raw beef so much that I would even swipe a mouthful or two out of the bowl whenever my grandmother was making burgers or meatloaf! If she caught me at it before I could run away, she'd whap my hand with the wooden spoon! :rofl:

weasel! 04-06-2008 04:02 PM


Originally Posted by Kisal (Post 10152417)
Steak Tartare was on the menu every week when I was a child. It's ground sirloin mixed with eggs and various herbs and spices. I love it and miss having it! I recently learned a way that I can safely make it again, so I'm excited about that. :clap:

Do tell! Maybe on a new thread, so we don't threadjack!:cool: I'm interested!

Charski 04-07-2008 12:22 PM

I'm experimenting - I loaded up the dehydrator with thin-sliced dry salami - will let you know if I get the hoped-for "salami chips" in a few hours! ;) It sure SMELLS good....

Barbo 04-08-2008 04:40 PM

Bought one
Just like Char's. It should arrive tomorrow. When my peaches come due
I won't have to worry about freezing. They just are not that good frozen,
at least I don't think so. We shall dry some, and cranberries, and jerky,
and what else? What else? boysenberries? althought they freeze very
well. I can't wait. :clap:

Charski 04-08-2008 07:47 PM

Oh Barbo, I hope you have fun with it too!

And a report on the salami chips - they came out very well! I left them in there just under 6 hours, next time might go for 7. Fresh out, they were more like "salami jerky" - but after they came out, I blotted with a paper towel to remove the accumulated fat on the surface, put into a ziploc and into the fridge.

When I went to try one later, it was just crispy! Another hour should really do it. Anyway, I was able to spread some Alouette garlic and herb cheese on it and eat it like a cracker.

I used the very thinly sliced salami from Costco - it's big round slices but quite thin.

Maybe I'll try sliced pepperoni next!

Charski 04-14-2008 03:58 PM

Just an update, made my second batch of jerky yesterday using London Broil (top round steaks) which I sliced about 1/8" thick; I used the basic marinade except went heavier on the soy sauce and chile flakes, and lighter on the Worcestershire, and added about a teaspoon of poblano chile powder. I marinated the meat 6 hours, laid it out on the trays; on one tray, I ground some fresh black pepper, on another, added more of the red pepper flakes, and left the other two "as-is" - let it dehydrate 5 hours, rearranging the trays after 3 hours. It is such good jerky!

I hope to try a salmon teriyaki jerky this week. Will report back if I get to make it!

Barbo 04-14-2008 11:23 PM

We got our first jerky today
I made two batches. The first was Char's marinade, but instead of red pepper flakes I used Vietnamese garlic hot sauce, next I added
fresh ground pepper on top and Creole seasoning.

We had our batch in for about 11 hours. The second batch was smaller
and it took about 4-5 hours.

It is very good, Jay especially liked the real spicy batch.

Next time I want to use another meat besides top round.
Maybe try top sirloin.

We had fun with it, it's easy to clean, the noise didn't bother me at all.'
Thinking of cranberries.

Charski 04-17-2008 09:27 AM

I made salmon jerky yesterday! It came out great, too. I used the salmon from Costco, and found it worked best cut into strips the LENGTH of the filets, not across. I trimmed off the fatty parts and marinated 1 hour, it took about 8 hours total drying time.

I used:

1 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon freshly-grated ginger
3 tablespoons agave syrup (you could use SF honey or whatever sweetener you prefer - I'm trying to use up this agave!)

Mix all together.

Cut about 3 pounds skinless salmon filets into 1/8 to 1/4" wide strips, lengthwise of the filet, and into manageable lengths. Mariniate 1 hour in the fridge.

Place strips on drying trays and dehydrate til done to your liking, rearranging trays every 2 hours if needed. I turned the strips over at one point also, and blotted up any fat that accumulated on the tops of the strips.

Let cool then store in ziploc bag in the fridge.

It's really quite tasty!

wantingtoloose 04-17-2008 09:14 PM

I absolutely love beef jerky. You know in Mexico they the cattle ranchers sell their own brands of beef jerky and it comes plain with no taste at all, and the way it is prepared is good you just top it with lemon,salt, pepper and Valentina hot sauce. Yummy. also their is a drink that goes with this jerky wish is like a bloody mary but not sweet and in the bottom of the coctail is the jerky so you drink it then you eat it. lol I miss Mexico I use to live in EL paso wich is a border.

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