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Repost- Owner Review-Nesco American Harvest Food Dehydrator & Jerky Maker

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  • David Posalski
    Owner Review- Nesco American Harvest Food Dehydrator & Jerky Maker Personal biographical information David Posalski 30 Male 5 11 , 180 cm 265 lbs, 120 kg
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 1, 2004
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      Owner Review- Nesco American Harvest Food Dehydrator & Jerky Maker

      Personal biographical information

      David Posalski
      5'11", 180 cm
      265 lbs, 120 kg
      Aloha, Oregon, USA
      I started backpacking as a kid in the Boy Scouts doing overnighters.
      I used to hate it with a passion. In the last few months, I have
      caught this bug that wants me to go out and see things that a
      relatively few people have seen. This has drawn me back to
      backpacking. I have found it to be the most enjoyable thing I know.
      I have gotten my wife involved and we get out and hike at least once
      a month. I generally carry about 40 lbs (18.14 kg) for a weekend

      Product information

      Manufacturer- Nesco
      Model- Snackmaster Elite, Model FD40BJ6
      Date of Manufacture- 1998
      URL- www.americanharvest.com
      MSRP- $59.95
      Measurements- Width x Height- 13.25 in x 9 in (34.93 cm x 22.86 cm)

      Field information

      I tested this dehydrator in my kitchen making everything from
      fruits and veggies to beef jerky. I have not yet used it to
      dehydrate any liquids. I think the next thing will be spaghetti
      sauce. I received this dehydrator several years ago as a gift
      because I grew up with a custom box dehydrator as a kid. We always
      had dehydrated fruit and beef jerky around for snacks. I have been
      using this dehydrator ever since. The dehydrator measures 34.5 cm
      (13.5 in) across and is shaped like a cylinder. Each tray is 3.25 cm
      (1.25 in) tall. This height has been adequate for me, as the items
      that I dry are very thin to speed drying. The dehydrator uses a fan
      at the bottom as well as a heating element in the bottom. There is
      no temperature control and I have had no problem with the factory
      heat setting.

      This dehydrator does a speedy job of most vegetables and other
      items. I was truly surprised at how much faster this dehydrator
      worked than the one I grew up with. The manufacturer states that
      bananas take about 12 hours, apples take 6 hours, and potatoes take
      12 hours. I would agree with all of these numbers. They also claim
      that beef jerky is done within 6-8 hours, but I have found this
      number to be optimistic. If I put in jerky in the evening, it is
      usually ready about 12 hrs later. I have had no experience with
      uneven drying, so I do not rotate trays. This has led me to putting
      it in when we are preparing dinner and then I can take it out before
      I go to work in the morning. I have never had to rotate trays with
      the items I have dehydrated, so this saves a trip to the kitchen in
      the middle of the night.

      The dehydrator comes with a power cord that is long enough to
      reach the closest outlet in our kitchen. It is listed at 40 inches
      and measures the same. It comes with four trays and one plastic non-
      perforated sheet for liquid items. The only problem I have with the
      dehydrator is the tray design. The trays have a grid with spaces
      that are so big that small items like corn and diced vegetables like
      onions or carrots fall through the screen of the trays. These spaces
      measure as large as 8 mm (.31 inches) wide and are 15 mm (.59 inches)
      long. I use the plastic insert on the bottom tray to keep everything
      from falling below the bottom tray. The manufacturer could either
      put four of the liners in with it or they could redesign the trays
      with more of a grid design that keeps the food in place. The
      manufacturer does sell additional plastic trays in their instruction
      manual or on their website, but I think there may be less expensive
      solutions. I have used other dehydrators that use metal window
      screen as the grid that the items to be dehydrated sit on. Someone
      using this dehydrator could cut out metal window screen using the
      plastic sheet as a template and lay that over the trays. This would
      allow for air circulation, but I am not sure of the metal content in
      the screen. I don't know if there is an issue in using a metal
      screen in a heated environment next to food. I would assume not when
      most cookware is metal. This may be an adaptation that would easily
      fix the issue. I have not tried this solution, but it would be
      inexpensive enough to try.

      Also, I have found that the four trays are never big enough to dry as
      much as I would like, so I end up doing several batches. There are
      more trays available at an additional charge as well as the plastic
      inserts, but I always like to buy things with everything that would
      be needed included in the original packaging. This is a pretty
      affordable unit that has held up well for me and has saved me a ton
      over commercial snacks.

      I recently planned for a trip around Mt. Hood in Oregon and purchased
      5 lbs (2.27 kg) of rump roast. This created over 2 lbs (.91 kg) of
      beef jerky. I always freeze my beef jerky before going on the trail
      so that the only time for it to mold or become rancid is the time I
      am on the trail. I like to use the beef jerky at all meals to keep
      the protein levels high. This has reduced my use of packaged tuna
      and chicken, thus reducing weight. My wife will eat my beef jerky,
      but not the tuna. I find that the beef jerky will last without
      refrigeration for about a month, but because I like to do it well
      ahead of time, I freeze it to keep it up to a year. This allows me
      to purchase the rump roast when it is on sale. I also dehydrated
      frozen corn. I just threw it in the dehydrator while it was still
      frozen. Cut and pour, what could be easier? It came out fantastic.
      When I dehydrated 2 lbs (.91 kg) of corn, I had enough for two people
      for three meals. It took about 6 hours to fully dehydrate it and it
      hasn't ever molded or gone bad. When rehydrating, I put it into
      the water while I am boiling it. I find adding the corn to the pot
      of boiling water easy to clean and it doesn't make it much extra
      work in after-meal cleanup. When I then add it to my meals and let
      it sit, it is then rehydrated enough to be very tasty. If it is not
      fully rehydrated, it is slightly chewy, but the flavor is still
      excellent. This is a great way of adding a fresh flavor to many meals
      on the trail.


      My reason for dehydrating was to save money over using the
      commercially available freeze-dried meals. While there is definite
      money savings, the time for rehydration of food that is dehydrated is
      longer than the freeze-dried meals. I have seen many backpackers
      carry their rehydrating food in a plastic jar or bottle during the
      day while they are hiking. This may make the use of strictly
      dehydrated meals a little heavy in the long run as you are going to
      be carrying the hydrated weight all day. My conclusion, as someone
      who is trying to remove weight from my pack, is to still use the
      commercially available meals, and supplement them with dehydrated
      foods that rehydrate readily and quickly (e.g. corn, sauces, etc.)
      and using foods that do not need rehydrating (e.g. beef jerky,
      bananas, apples, etc.). The use of the dehydrated food in this way
      will add flavor, variety and a bit of do-it-yourself appeal.
    • colonelcorn76
      David, Good job. I ve found a couple of things that snuck through. But once you ve made the changes you can upload it to BGT at the following URL:
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 1, 2004
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        Good job. I've found a couple of things that snuck through. But once
        you've made the changes you can upload it to BGT at the following URL:
        <<<<<Use either link>>>>>

        When uploading your Owner Review, please ensure you select the button
        marked Owner Review.

        If you require assistance with your upload, please ask in our Yahoo!
        support group, BGTFileUploadHelp @

        You may also find it useful to make use of the test upload folder at
        Reviews >Test or http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test to test
        your upload before uploading the review to its new home.

        Thanks again for the excellent work.
        Edit Moderator

        --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "David Posalski"
        <dposalski@m...> wrote:

        > Measurements- Width x Height- 13.25 in x 9 in (34.93 cm x 22.86 cm)

        ### Indicate whether these are your measurements or the mfg listed

        > When I dehydrated 2 lbs (.91 kg) of corn, I had enough for two people

        ### What did it dehydrate down to in terms of weight?
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