Susan W
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Dehydrator, for herbs

Are there any suggests here for using a dehydrator for herbs? I am looking to get a small one (Nesco has one for around $50). Successes? failures? so-so's?
Have fun!
Susan

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rainbowgardener
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I have one that I inherited, but have never used it. It sits under a cover in the basement and is big and heavy. It somehow never motivates me to haul it up and try it. I'm probably going to donate it to someone else. My usual methods of putting the oven on low for a little while, then turning it off and let it coast or hanging things upside down, work well enough for me that it never seems worth bothering with the dehydrator.
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gumbo2176
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I have a 5 rack warm air dehydrator that I use almost exclusively for making beef jerky. I prefer to let my herbs dry out in my shop hanging from the ceiling while encased in a paper bag to keep dust and little critters out.

I got this thing as a gift a few years ago and can't imagine it costing more than $40-50 when new. It is called The Food Dehydrator by Mr. Coffee and it comes with a recipe guide for drying all things that can be dried. I did use it to dry some of the many figs my tree produced this past June and it worked fine for that. I've probably dried close to 100 lbs. of beef on that thing over the years for jerky. That equates to about 20 lbs. of finished product.

CharlieBear
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Air drying is best if you have the space etc. I have used it for herbs, but besure that they are only one layer thick and that you don't set the temps very high. Then you have to check it every 1 hour after the first 4. When barely dry then remove and let sit until air cooled completely before doing anything with them. A dehydrator is good if you have very high humidity.
I use the dehydrator for fruit apple slices, peaches, nectarines, very ripe pineapple and stanley prune plums. Makes delectable treats.

lily51
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I've used a dehydrator for herbs and it works very well . :) The herbs retain flavors, and then can be crushed and stored in jars. I use it to dry several types at the same time and then make "blends" such as Italian, etc. Tried microwaving, but did not care for results, but maybe it was me.

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rainbowgardener
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No, I tried microwaving also and felt that a lot of the scent went out of the herbs doing that, not sure why. But when I use the regular oven, starting with the lowest temp it will do and then turn it off and just use the residual heat, it works well.
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Susan W
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Thanks for discussion, so far, keep on talking!
I was thinking (dangerous) that perhaps I should have one to dry herbs for the market, when I have some excess. For just myself hang in the kitchen. One thing I do have to check on is regulations. The powers that be may consider it 'cooking' or prepared food, or something. This season didn't have much excess, so a moot point, but this is the best time to think ahead to the next season!

OK, go back to experiences and discussion of dehydrators. I am sure I am not the only one interested. You people are great! Thanx again.
Have fun!
Susan

john gault
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I do a lot of dehydrating and so I use an expensive one with heat control and of course a fan https://www.excaliburdehydrator.com/

However, if all you're going to do is herbs than any dehydrator should work, that is if I'm correct in my thinking of what constitutes an "herb".

When I think of herb I think of something with the texture of spinach and spinach is one of the fastest things I dehydrate, if that were all I dehydrated, then I'd get the cheapest dehydrator in any department store.

BTW, dehydtating stuff like peppers and tomatoes really does improve the taste, because it removes the water that dillutes much of the taste. Not to mention that they will keep for a good while.

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!potatoes!
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i agree with most of the previous post. i was given an excalibur, and since i do a lot with it (including tomatoes, husk tomatoes, herbs, and seeds for saving), i love having one that's so versatile...need it fairly hot for drying really wet things, need it to stay coolish to keep seeds alive...

however, like john says, if you're just doing herbaceous stuff (leaf of any kind) whatever you can get that's cheap should do...unless you might want one with more applications later, in which case, why wait to get a good one?

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Tilde
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rainbowgardener wrote: My usual methods of putting the oven on low for a little while, then turning it off and let it coast or hanging things upside down, work well enough for me that it never seems worth bothering with the dehydrator.

How low is low? I generally don't use the oven unless I'm "on a roll" - baking a lasgana, then a roast, and some muffins and and and ...

I'm thinking once it is off, what temp can I "aim" for it to cool to to shove a tray full of herbs in there?
USDA Zone 10, Sunset Zone 25, 16 feet above sea level, surrounded by chem-turfers.

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rainbowgardener
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120 - 140 is pretty good. My oven thermostat only goes down to 170 which is why I only run it for a little while, then turn it off and coast.
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bullthistle
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I prefer to go "green" which means hanging herbs in my garage bandied by a rubber band. I dislike wasting energy that nature provides for free but each to their own.

Susan W
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I figured to hold off on getting a dehydrator, and it may be something for later. As mentioned above, I don't have much excess now after picking for 2 farmers markets. Also, I did talk to a fellow with the TN dept of Agric who works with farmers markets. As suspected, dehydrating is considered 'processed' so needs an inspected kitchen. I'll just hang the few bunches I have for myself/friends.
Have fun!
Susan

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