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I Finally Had to Replace My Excalibur

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Dehydrator, that is. 

Photo from August 2009

I knew this was coming because in September I tried to dehydrate pear sauce and never could get it crispy enough to powder. Considering that I bought my Excalibur in the late 1990s, I can’t complain about its service life! Even so, in the past couple of years the plastic trays had begun to crack.

But that’s typical of plastic and they were still usable. Having the heating element go, however, pretty much meant the end. 
I spent some time looking at various makes and models of new dehydrators. Even though I have no complaints with the Excalibur, being all plastic plus having a higher price point caused me to exclude that brand from consideration. Lots of the new ones are stainless steel and less expensive. I compared prices and reviews and finally decided on one that had a promotional discount as well.
The brand is Ultrean. You can get the specifics at that link. I wasn’t especially keen on a digital control interface, but they’re all made that way now.

Except for the control panel and viewing window, the entire unit is stainless steel, including the trays. I much prefer that to plastic. It’s definitely heavier than the Excalibur. Also, this one uses 600 watts as opposed to the Excalibur’s 400 watts for the 5-tray model.
It included one mesh liner and one fruit leather tray.

These are plastic. Also noteworthy, the Ultrean’s trays are smaller than the Excalibur’s but there are eight of them instead of five.

I gave it a try with the last of the green peppers, harvested in anticipation of our first frost. Because the peppers didn’t have time to grow and mature, my pieces were small.
The necessity for the finer mesh trays is immediately obvious!

Since I only had the one to start, I put it on the bottom rack to catch pieces that fell through. 
Choosing the settings and getting it started aren’t as intuitive as turning a knob, but that’s just something I’ll get used to with use. Of the plastic mesh liners, I plan to cut down the old ones from my Excalibur. Those plus the one included will give me six. I’ll need to get more fruit leather trays, however. The silicone  ones I recently bought for the Excalibur are too large. 
All in all, I’m satisfied with my purchase. A food dehydrator is a staple piece of equipment for me, so it gets a lot of use. The bonus is that in winter I dehydrate overnight in the kitchen, to capture the heat generated during the drying process. Every little bit helps. Hopefully, this one will last as long as my Excalibur did.


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