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February 1998 Issue
The American Harvest Snackmaster Dehydrator 2400
by Ronda L. Halpin
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If you're like me, you enjoy sprinkling your recipes with a wide variety of dehydrated fruits and veggies. However, these items can often be quite expensive or hard to find at your local grocery store. All the same, adding robust dried tomatoes to a homemade pizza or dried cranberries to your favorite quick bread can give them just the burst of flavor you crave.

Enter the American Harvest Snackmaster Dehydrator 2400.

This neat appliance allows you to dry foods in the comfort of your own home. You can make everything from dried banana chips to fruit leathers (or roll-ups) to dried basil. My husband and I got one for Christmas from my parents and we've worked hard to give it an ample test run. If you are thinking about getting one of your own, I hope you'll find our findings and suggestions helpful.

In this review, you'll find comments and tips on drying fruit, making fruit leather, drying vegetables, and some other uses of this particular dehydrator. While I avoid giving specific recipes, I have given tips on how to avoid common problems. Part of the fun of drying foods is being creative about how you do it! At the end of each section is a table which lists some useful drying information for a variety of items.

While I found no problems using the dehydrator, I would suggest you either get used to the sound of it running for several hours (it sounds similar to a microwave) or find a place to run it where you will not be bothered by the noise.

Drying Fruit

Dried fruit makes for a great snack, especially when camping or working in the outdoors. It's light and packed with flavor. So far, we've tried drying apples, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, cranberries, and pineapple. I think I liked the consistency of the apples best, although adding sliced grapefruit or oranges to a punch bowl does add a bit of flair to a festive event!

When dehydrating fruits, the biggest job you have is often the preparation. Citrus fruits contain ascorbic acid and don't require intense preparation; they can be sliced and peeled (if desired) and placed on a drying tray. Other fruits, such as apples and pears, need to be soaked in a pretreating solution to keep them from browning during drying. I use a simple solution of lemon juice and water in a 1:5 ratio. Bananas and cranberries, like citrus fruits, do not need to be pretreated and can be sliced and placed on a drying tray. The normal drying temperature for most fruits is 135 degrees Farenheit.

Food Preparation Average Drying Time Drying Temperature
Apples Peel, core, cut into half inch rings. Pretreat. 6-10 hours 135 degrees
Bananas Peel, cut into half inch slices. 8-12 hours 135 degrees
Citrus Fruits Slice into half inch pieces, peel if desired. 8-12 hours 135 degrees
Cranberries Slice in half. 8-12 hours 135 degrees
Pineapple Arrange canned rings on tray. 8-12 hours 135 degrees

To purchase an American Harvest dehydrator, click here
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