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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Crofton Food Dehydrator makes great snacks for cheap!

UPDATE: Please read my updated blog post on the Crofton Food Dehydrator. Click here.

New Dehydrator!
I'm always up for a good deal, often I will buy something just because it IS a good deal, not because I need it. Case in point, Aldi, a discount grocery store, had a Crofton Food Dehydrator on sale for $20. My sister-in-law has an Excalibur Dehydrator and loves it but I remember it being quite expensive. Twenty bucks seems more in my price range.

I searched online for this brand of dehydrator with little luck. I found one forum where someone was interested in purchasing this same dehydrator but no one seemed to have much information on it. I took a chance and bought it anyway.

I bought apples and strawberries to dehydrate first.

Apples from Aldi

I peeled some of the apples and left some with the skin on to see which I liked better. Peeling was obviously more hassle but I think it produces a better product. I also don't own one of those cool apple cores so I just cut out the centers...again, quite time consuming. (I'll buy a corer and a huller now that I now how to dehydrate.)

After I cut the apples, I soaked them in a lemon juice and water mixture to help keep them from browning. I'm not sure this was necessary, I read several sites and some said to do this, some said not to.


Apples soaking in lemon juice
After I soaked the apples I placed them in the dehydrator and moved onto the strawberries. I cut up the strawberries, long and then in circles, again, to see what I liked. I think the circles work better.

I soaked the strawberries, drained them then added  spoon full of sugar and mixed. Then I placed them on a tray.

I stacked the trays back on the base and plugged it in. There is no on or off switch on this dehydrator, it is a pretty basic model. One of the many downsides to a cheap version. Another was the short cord...it only is about a foot long which means I have to set in on the counter and basically leave it there.

Strawberries soaking in lemon juice

After I had them all on the base, I adjusted the top vent thing to #2 per the instructions. I also read I needed to rotate and turn the trays every few hours. To make this easier, I marked each tray with a sharpie in four spots, basically at noon, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00.  At noon I wrote the tray number on each tray.(see top picture) At the other stops I put hash marks, first one, then two, then tree to help me line up the trays and know where I was in the rotation and turning.

I wrote down on a piece of paper when I rotated and turned the trays; the instructions said to do this every few hours.

Single hash mark, one turn of trays
The apples and strawberries were both in about 12 hours. That is a little longer than the instructions said for strawberries but at midnight I decided I needed to go to bed. I put the strawberries on top, farthest away from the heating element, and opened up the vent to 4 to let out the most heat and went to bed.

I woke up today to dehydrated strawberries and apples!


I took the trays off the dehydrator base and set them aside. I have a raised cooling rack and I put the trays on top of the rack to help cool the trays from the top and the bottom.

The strawberries were a little stuck to the tray so I carefully peeled them up. Some of the strawberries were thick and still moist so I put the dried ones on a tray with the apples and put the other moist ones back in the dehydrator.






Strawberries and apples cooling



Apple trays cooling


After they cooled I put the pieces in plastic containers to "condition" the fruit so the moisture was more evenly distributed throughout. I read on a site to condition the fruit for 7 - 10 days by sealing the containers to help distribute the remaining moisture. 


Fruit being "conditioned"

Wholla! Dehydrated fruit! A healthy snack I made myself! I can't wait to dig in.

6 comments:

Rachel said...

Way to go!! Your fruit looks good with the lemon soak. I always make mine w/out that step and w/out sugar. Bet they taste delish!! I also skip the "conditioning" step, they never last that long! :)

Jacki said...

awesome! I just bought this dehydrator, too, and can't wait to use it!

jennifermgough said...

thank you for this informative review and pictures... I've never bought kitchen gadgets from Aldi and am unfamiliar with the Crofton brand. Well, they have the same dehydrator on sale this year now, so I found your review in a quick search. It's pretty convincing! thanks!

ThatsMyTri said...

@Jennifermgough, glad you found the review! I wrote a new post today about the dehydrator after realizing it was on sale and people were searching information. (As I did a year ago.)

Here is the link to the updated review.

http://bikerunyoga.blogspot.com/2012/07/crofton-dehydrator-is-on-sale-at-aldi.html

The Crofton is still a good deal, just be careful you don't leave it on too long. Good luck with you dehydrating!

Mary Welsch said...

Thank you for posting this info, I've the Aldi flyer in front of me and I'm researching the Crofton Food Dehydrator. Crofton is an Aldi label, not an actual manufacturer. It appears (based on what I've seen) that the Crofton Food Dehydrator may be the same as the Ronco product, but with a different name. If so, the Ronco has terrible reviews on Amazon. As $20 bucks is still hard-earned monies, I'm thinking that I'll try to save up for a better model. Even so, I'm certainly glad that I found your site, the Yoga information will keep me here for a while :)

ThatsMyTri said...

@Mary - Thanks so much for reading my blog! I did get a different dehydrator soon after I bought this one...see the updated post. I've had the Nesco one for about a year and love it. It is a bit more but well worth it. I bought extra trays and clean screens, they are lifesavers.

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