How Large A Dehydrator Do I Need?

Print Friendly

Would you mind sharing what model Excalibur Dehydrator you are using?  There are so many to choose from… What is a good size model to start with for the investment?


Kerri, I have a larger one (9 trays) only because I do a lot of dehydrating. Not only do I dehydrate fruits and vegetables, but I dried lots of flowers for a while for Tawra. She made homemade dried flower arrangements and wreaths at one point and we both made and sold potpourri.

What size dehydrator you’ll want really depends on several factors:

Do you have a garden? I don’t have a garden but I have several grocery stores where I buy a lot of fruits and veggies on clearance or for very little money.

Do you have a large family? If so, you could use a large dehydrator, but you can do quite a bit with only a four tray one. For example I dehydrated a 5 pound bag of potatoes and a few leftover potatoes the other day and only needed 4 trays.

I, personally, would get a dehydrator with 4 or 5 trays. Then, if I found I needed more, I would buy another 4-5 tray one. The price wouldn’t be much different for 2 small dehydrators than for one large one.

Additionally, I don’t like dehydrating some things together, like onions and apples, so two smaller dehydrators would solve that problem. That’s just a personal choice, not a hard and fast dehydrating rule.

I do recommend when you start dehydrating food to start with apples. Some people recommend spritzing them with lemon juice to prevent browning. I don’t do that because mine don’t brown very badly and I like the taste better without it. I have recently found if the kind of apple I am using browns quickly I simply put a tablespoon of salt a large bowl and fill it with water. After I peel and slice my apples, I put them in the bowl of salt water until I am ready to put them on the tray. This really helps prevent browning.

I don’t peel the apples that I am going to use for eating. I just slice and core them. Even if they aren’t in season, I would just buy a couple to experiment with to get started.



photo by: plindberg


  1. says

    I have a dehydrator and I would make beef jerky.
    I have done mixed fruit leather which was fun.
    What do you do with the potatoes, when done?
    How do you keep them from browning? And how do you re-hydrate them? We do a lot of stuff out in the bush and I would love to know how to do them properly.
    I know people do tomatoes but I have found that tossing those into the freezer whole is much simpler. I do not know what I would do with dehydrated ones. Can they be put into stews or sauces the same as fresh ones.
    I would like to do more with the dehydrator just don’t have the knowledge. Is there a book of recipes that tell you what to do with the dehydrated foods after they have been dehydrated?
    Lots of questions but not too many answers.

  2. jill says

    Grandma I came down here this morning to write a post for Thursday about dehydrating potatoes it will hopefully answer all of your questions about that and will gave you info on all of your other questions then too.


  3. says

    I have been seriously thinking about getting a dehydrator because dried fruit is so expensive but makes a great take-a-long snack for the kids. I appreciate your advice!

  4. says

    If you have people in your family that like jerky go for a dehydrator.
    I don’t know if it is cheaper in your neck of the woods but one small package here is about $5. My husband really likes it so he bought me a dehydrator. He slices the roast minus any fat almost paper thin. I toss it in a marinade of any flavour. Then wipe off the excess and put it in the dehydrator. He would take a few sticks to work with him and it was always in the car for snacking during car trips.
    One day he broke a tooth and another time he broke a crown so we stopped the jerky. But now he has false teeth so maybe we will do it again.
    It was fun coming up with flavourings.
    I do things with blueberries since it is one fruit that grows way up here. This year I might try fruit leather with crab apples.
    It is the times for food that throw me so Jill any thing you post will be wonderful.
    You may get a question from me about making sausages. That is another of my husbands plans for us to try. Just need to get the skins. Not readily available here in town.
    I enjoy trying things I read here always something new.

  5. rose says

    we are planning on getting a dehydrator as well… hubby has been looking at these videos of people dehydrating soups and stews and then after a while they cook them up and frankly those meals look sooo good… i would have never thought of dehydrating meals… but people do it… and they all have the excalibur…
    i told hubby that would be awesome… put things together, dehydrate them adn then eat as you go…

  6. Lisa says

    Jill- Do you have any alternative drying methods for those of us who don’t own dehydrators but would like to give it a try before buying one?

    • says

      You can get a screen and put them out in the sun or you can put it on a cookie sheet and dry them slowly overnight in the over on low (about 175 degrees).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 + two =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>