The Gardenmaster Digital Pro comes with 4 trays but is expandable up to 20 trays! It has digital temperature and timer controls, a handy temperature guide, 1000 watts of drying power and fan pressure that will automatically adjust depending on the number of trays you are using. This dehydrator has all the important features I had been looking for!
|Gardenmaster Digital Pro|
As soon my dehydrator arrived I couldn't wait to open it and get started. I had been stocking up on foods to use from the time I knew it was coming and had a freezer shelf full of veggies & fruits. Before I got started, I first read the recipe and drying guide that came with the machine and found it to be very informative.
Nesco sent me one of their Clean A Screen for small food items. Things get a lot smaller when they dehydrate so foods such as corn and peas do much better on the screen. This worked great for my black eye peas. Frozen and fresh veggies are so simple to dehydrate. I take them straight from the bag and onto the tray or screen, set the timer and temperature and walk away. Once these peas were done I stored them in a canning jar on my pantry shelf. They will now cook just like any other dried bean or pea. I will place them in a pot of boiling water and cook until tender. These are peas that we grew in our garden last year and I am so excited to have this for when I start harvesting this fall.
I also took some of the pumpkin puree I froze and dehydrated it using the Fruit Leather trays (for semi-liquids). Once the pumpkin was dehydrated I pulled it off the trays and stored it in the cabinet in pre-measured bags. Since I know that each bag started as 2 cups of pumpkin puree, I will place the dehydrated pieces into a bowl and pour 2 cups of hot water over them before use. Re-hydration usually takes about 20 minuted and then it's ready to add to your favorite recipes. Great way to use up pumpkin puree without taking up space in your freezer!
The fruit I dry is a favorite snack around here and I love to add it to my granola cereal as well. I have dried oranges, apples, and bananas. I have used my mother's dehydrator in the past to dry fruit without much luck. The fruit would never get hard and crunchy like most people like. With this Nesco, I was able to get the fruit nice and crisp within a few hours. Most fruits are dried on 135 degrees and the length of time really depends on your location, desire of crispness, and the weather you are having at that time. The Gardenmaster has handled even these juicy, pre-frozen apples beautifully.
I am always amazed at how much things shrink once they are dehydrated. Look at the broccoli and cauliflower before (above) and then once it was finished and ready to store (below). After I had this broccoli dehydrated I crumbled it up super fine just using my hands (it was very brittle) and added it to some cheesy rice I was making. My kids still ate the rice because there were no big bites of veggie in it but I knew that they were still getting the health benefits. I didn't have to wait for frozen or fresh broccoli to cook, I just threw the flaked broccoli into the water with the rice. I love how dehydrating foods makes cooking healthy more convenient!
Dehydrating is a great way to store foods when you find a great sale, or when your garden is producing more than you can eat. It always makes for easy meal prep and is a safe way to store food long term. Dehydrated food is a great option if ever your family were to be faced with a long term power outage or a natural disaster. All you need is warm water (make a fire or use a camp stove to heat water) to be able to eat healthy, hot food even when the power is out.
I am just starting to play with this type of food storage, but I have already found there are so many options and ideas I had never even thought of. Did you know that you can make your own bouillon or dehydrate cooked rice to make homemade instant rice,? And you can even dehydrate potatoes and grind them into flakes for all natural homemade instant potatoes?! The possibilities are endless! I can't wait to use this tool once my garden comes in this year.
If you are on a hunt for a great dehydrator, I think you will be quite pleased with the Nesco Gardenmaster Digtal Pro or any of the other food dehydrators Nesco has to offer. To learn more about Nesco's other products, visit them at their website. You can also find them on Facebook,and YouTube.
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Diclaimer - Nesco sent me this dehydrator free of charge in exchange for this review. All of these opinions are mine, I was not committed to write a favorable review. I received no other compensation for this review. I am disclosing this information in compliance with the FTC Regulations.
Written by Happily Domestic contributor - Amanda Sikes
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