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Dehydrator Review: Excalibur 2900

Excalibur_3900b_0
8.9tech score

This particular model is the biggest size they offer, at nine trays. The trays are made of the same high-strength polycarbonate that the U.S. Airforce has used for their jet windshields.

Key features:
  • Large capacity – 9 large trays for about 15 sq ft
  • On/Off Switch Built In
  • Adjustable thermostat,  85º – 145ºF
  • Polycarbonate Trays
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Heavy Duty  600 watts 7″ rear-mounted fan,
  • Airflow – Horizontal back-to-front
  • Opaque plastic blocks light to preserve nutrients
  •  5 Year Extended Warranty Available,1 Year Manufacturers Warranty

Construction:

This is strong stuff! The Excalibur website (http://www.excaliburdehydrator.com) brags that you can drive over these trays with a semi-truck, and they won’t break. I have never tried this, but I have laden these trays with garden veggies, with no problems.

Each tray comes with nine standard Polyscreen inserts, and one bonus Teflex sheet. The Polyscreen is for regular drying use, and the Teflex is special for drying saucy things, like homemade fruit leather.

The dryer is 12½” High x 17″ Wide x 19″ Deep. The surface area of the nine trays adds up to 15 square feet. If you need a visual, 15 square feet is the size of many tent vestibules!

On the top of the dryer is a color-coded temperature dial that corresponds to the color-coded temperature chart right next to it, for different things from herbs to jerky. The thermostat can be adjusted from 85 to 145 degrees. Right next to this is the self shut-off 24-hour timer. The timer is great for drying things overnight – you don’t have to worry about shutting it off in the middle of the night to prevent over-crispifying.

Test Run

We purchased our dehydrator 3 years ago, and use it extensively.    I use the dehydrator for making jerky (venison and beef), fruit leather, dried apple, pear, banana, kiwi and blueberries. I also have dried tomatoes, then powdered them to add to sauces and soups.  I also use it to dry herbs.    We have been very happy with it.  It has temperature settings that are clearly marked as to what type of food should be dehydrated at each setting. The temperature range is 0-155 degrees F.

There have been comments by friends as to the fact that there is no timer.  I don’t find that to be a problem, as I wouldn’t go off and leave it running anyway.   A full load of jerky, will dehydrate in approx. 8 hours.  I load it up at night before going to bed, and turn it off when I get up in the morning.   We do not find it necessary to rotate trays.

Herbs dried at a low setting will be dry in less than two hours.   They retain a very ‘clean’ taste, even when different herbs are dried together.   I estimate that we have used this over 1000 hrs. with no problems.   At harvest time, a friend and I will put both our Excaliburs to use, one doing apples and the other pears.  We then split the results.   When it comes time for hiking or a camping trip, we have all the ‘snacks’ ready.

We plan on taking an extended trip this summer, so I am preparing some more substantial foods.  I have dried vegetables for soups and stews.  After dehydrating, I keep the vegetables in clear, glass jars until needed.  When I am getting ready to make up meals to take on a backpacking trip, I add a little of each type of veggie to each persons container.   With the vegetables, I add some pasta, rice or cracked wheat, seasonings and seal the container.  I keep the dehydrated meat (if that’s what we’re having) when I am ready to rehydrate.  This is just my personal preference and habit.

Cleaning the dehydrator can be a challenge after making jerky or drying things that are ‘wet’, such as tomatoes.  Most other items do not leave much of a residue behind.  The rigid trays get scrubbed in the sink- but they are awkward due to their large size.  The flexible screen  tray inserts prevent foods from sticking and keeps small items from dropping through spaces in trays.   These are easily cleaned in the dishwasher.

Operation:

This machine is built to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the busy harvest season.

To help in your dehydration-fests, Excalibur includes the handy Dehydration Guide booklet. In it are operating instructions, recipes, temperature guide, and even instructions on how to dry photographs!

Operation is simple and streamlined. Trays slide in and out easily. You can remove one or several to accommodate foods in a variety of sizes. The door has no hinges to break. It is simply a panel with a lip that overhangs the top edge. This design allows space around the edges for moist air to escape.

Excalibur estimates it costs between 1 and 3 cents per hour to operate.

Problems:

No problems yet. This is an expensive dehydrator, and you get what you pay for.Compared to some of the newer premium consumer models, the design is somewhat basic.Some users have complained about the unit being too loud.Should you have a problem, the factory warranty is good for one year, with an optional (Read, costs more) additional 10 year guarantee.Controls are at the rear of the unit

 

 

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