A low priced dehydrator that has a few features normally…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $49
A low priced dehydrator that has a few features normally found on the higher priced models. After a couple months of usage, this unit has already paid for itself, and I am making meals far superior to the dehydrated meals sold by Mountain House and Backpacker's Pantry.
- Variable temperature control
- Power switch (often missing in cheap models)
- 4 Trays
- Noisy fan
- Low wattage
- Round trays are not as efficient as square ones
- Tops out at 160°F
One of my first Trailspace reviews was on the Harmony House Backpacking Kit. While I remain a fan of that kit, I have spent more and more of my time seeking to expand my dehydrated food recipes. After researching numerous models in various price ranges, I settled for this Eastman Outdoors product. In the sub-$100 price range, I feel it offers some of the best options.
This dehydrator operates on 245 watts. This is fairly low, considering there are 700-watt units in the same price range. However, in my research I have learned that more watts does not necessarily translate into more efficient/shorter drying times.
A feature not always present in cheaper dehydrators is a variable temperature range. This unit has a thermostat of 90-160 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the perfect range for my needs, with 140°F being optimal for fruits and vegetables. 160°F is the necessary for jerky making. One con is that poultry is to be dried at 165°F, which this unit does not go to. However, as I have no desire to jerky poultry, this was not a negative in my selection.
Another added benefit is the lighted On/Off Switch. Surprisingly, this is not a common feature on lower-priced dehydrators.
The unit comes with four stack-able, round trays, measuring 14” across. Diehard do-it-yourselfers will tell you that square trays are more space efficient. However, I find I have plenty of room for my needs. The picture below displays enough Apple and Cranberry “Fruit Leather” to last me a few trips.
(My rotten teenager ate the other apples I was planning to dry out in the fourth tray!)
Once stacked, the dehydrator's noisy blower fan convects heat up through the center. As initially moist food dries, I peel it off the plastic wrap and lay it on the slotted trays to speed the drying process.
In my cooking experiments, I have taken to grabbing leftovers from dinner and seeing how well they dehydrate and, later, rehydrate. My wife's Campanella pasta and homemade sauce is a winner at home and as a dehydrated meal on the trail.
1.5 cups of water will rehydrate this dried bag of stuff into mouth-watering goodness!
I will end this review with a delicious recipe I prepared in the dehydrator. Unfortunately, I ate it all without taking any pictures.
Mango Curry with Rice & Lentils (spicy)
- 1 cup cooked Rice
- 1 cup cooked Lentils
- 1/2 cup dried Mangoes
- 1tsp dried Onions
- 1tsp Curry Powder
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/4 tsp Ginger
- 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Cumin
- 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
- 1 Chicken Bullion Cube
- 1 1/2 cups water
AT HOME: Mix and cook all ingredients. Drain thoroughly. Dehydrate until completely dry. Store in freezer until trip (Meal will keep for several weeks if not stored in freezer.).
IN CAMP: Bring 1.5 cups of water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat. Add water to dehydrated meal. Cover for 10 minutes, or until meal is re-hydrated
This dehydrator takes waaaaay too long for fruit or…
Source: received it as a personal gift
This dehydrator takes waaaaay too long for fruit or meat. I would not recommend it at all.
- There's nothing I like about this dehydrator. The old Nesco I had was far better.
- Takes way too long to dehydrate fruit or meat.
- Unsatisfied and I'm on my second one. It doesn't do any better than the first.
Be sure you do your homework on finding out which dehydrator is the best one. My wife bought me an Eastman for Christmas 2014, but by the time I got to use it and found out it took waaaaay too long to dehydrate fruit or meat, even though I still had the receipt I couldn't return it to the store.
I called Eastman they were kind enough to send a postage paid address to mail back. I thought maybe I had got a bad one but the one i received wasn't any better. I kept it because i was tired of the aggravation.
I'm not satisfied and would NOT recommend this to anyone. The Nesco was far better. I just need new trays for it. Oh, by the way, I bought the Nesco in 2004 and it still heats. This Eastman Dehydrator needs some work to be comparable to other ones.