My family loves fruit leathers. We make loads of them in the summertime with fresh raspberries from our raspberry patch. My husband bought a food strainer that we put the berries through and it gets all the seeds out. Sometimes we add some vanilla bean scrapings and honey, banana, apple, or just pour it straight into the dehydrator trays and dehydrate. We even cut them, place them on wax paper, and rolled them up. Homemade fruit rollups, baby!
The other day I was cruising Pinterest (follow me here!) and I came across some mango fruit leathers. We love the dried mango from Trader Joe’s, and I happened to find mangoes on a crazy good sale at my local discount food store (I think I got 10 of them for $4), so I made some. I have one word for you: dee-licious!
Last summer we tried Vitamix-ing the raspberries, but it was kind of an epic fail. The texture was off and they weren’t very good, so I was a little skeptical of how the mangoes would turn out. They were a little hard, perhaps I should’ve pulled them off the dehydrator sooner. But they’re yummy! Or they were, 3 trays of fruit leathers only lasted a couple days with my fruit leather-loving munchkins.
If you are serious about dehydration as a method of food preservation, a good dehydrator is essential. We received a dehydrator as a wedding gift and a ready melted it’s first use. I exchanged it and the next one’s motor went out. Finally I went to the sporting goods store and bought a different one.
We have an American Harvest Gardenmaster that has served us well. We have purchased several extra trays and traditionally have used it for preparing for canoeing or hiking trips. Recently we have begun exploring dehydration for regular home meals and snacks.
The main thing to consider when shopping for a dehydrator is the kind of fan. Some dehydrators really have just one setting and they’re either on or off. These are the most inexpensive models. A step up would be a dehydrator like ours, that has a temperature gauge. You can set the temp low, like 105°F to preserve the live enzymes in your food, or higher to increase drying time and decrease the opportunity for bacterial growth.
The nice thing about our Gardenmaster dehydrator is that you can add extra trays, up to 10 or 15. The hard thing is that they’re round with a hole in the middle and therefore a little awkward to fill and then cut into leathers. Enter the Excalibur.
The Excalibur dehydrator comes in a couple of sizes (9 tray or 5 tray). It has a temperature guide, and some even have a timer. People even make yogurt in their dehydrators because they maintain that low temperature needed for the yogurt to culture.
I’m really excited to share that we’re giving away a 5 tray Excalibur!
I’ve partnered with several other bloggers to sponsor this giveaway. Some day I hope to own one myself. A pizza cutter would be all that stood between me and a perfect plate of rectangular fruit leathers. No more wedges. So take a second, think of spring and summer and berries and harvest, and enter this giveaway. Own the high quality Excalibur and dehydrate to your heart’s content!