Excalibur, Model #3526, 5-tray dehydrator.
It is lightweight, easy to clean, versatile, and perfect for small families with small gardens. The adjustable thermostat and 26-hour timer that shuts off automatically make it the choice for those wishing to ease into dehydrating foods. You aren't a slave to your process, as you spend a small amount of time, preparing your trays, turn on the timer, and go about your day. You can dehydrate almost anything you can imagine...nearly all fruits, most vegetables, meats, fish, herbs and some dairy products. And best benefit of all....it's made in the USA!
Another couple of my dehydration favorites are apples and bananas. Soaking them in lemon juice for a few minutes keeps them from turning brown. I add just a touch of cinnamon to the slices, and the results are so tasty that I have to admit, we end up eating them and not much gets stored! They are a great snack to have on hand, and a good solution to those sugary, caloric alternatives.
I have seen many favorable customer testimonials on dehydrating jerky, and it is definitely on my list of to-dos. The Excalibur is rated very high for producing consistent, tasty jerky and my husband can't wait to try out this option.
At the same time I ordered my dehydrator, I also ordered a handy little source book, called Keeping The Harvest. This handbook offers valuable information on methods of preserving, including freezing, canning and drying. The instructions are easy to follow and cover a broad and comprehensive list of issues: from the optimal time to pick your produce, to what equipment you'll need, to how much headroom is required when freezing fruits and vegetables. You'll learn timesaving methods, as well as simple, down-home recipes for pickles and relishes, jellies and marmalades, and even how to make your own ketchup.
This is a natural addition to your food preservation arsenal, whether you're dehydrating or not. So, if you've been contemplating dehydration as a method of preserving your harvest, take it from me. It was almost foolproof and worth the investment. You won't be sorry!
Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."