I love a multi-tasker. Not the burning dinner while accidentally tying a small child’s shoes together and helping a teenager mess up an algebra problem kind of multi-tasker. I love the kind of multi-tasking kitchen tool that can manage numerous tasks with efficiency and style.
One of the great kitchen multi-tasking tools I have is the Excalibur Dehydrator. If this thing did laundry and I were single, I’d marry it. Let me tell you why the Excalibur oozes awesomeness.
The Maven of Multi-tasking
While some dehydrators simply dehydrate, the versatility of the Excalibur raises it to the next level.
Of course, it dehydrates. With the racks in place, the Excalibur can make jerky and other dried goods without all the sweeteners or preservatives in the items you find at the store. The large model can handle up to nine trays of croutons, chips for crisping, soaked nuts, fresh herbs, fruit rolls, grain sprouts, homemade pasta—you name it!
It is also a great tool for crafts. Preserve flowers, dry photographs, make potpourri, and more.
One perk over the competitors is that this monster can handle a large load all at once with little to no attention from you. The fan in the back and the square design of the product help circulate the warm air throughout the unit. This eliminates the need to switch racks repeatedly, or the problem of only partial racks drying. You may still need to do the occasional switch, but it is a minor task.
Wait, there’s more! Due to its removable racks, it can also serve as a warming place for whatever kitchen or craft projects you are undertaking. Two in particular that come to mind are culturing yogurt and holding sourdough at its necessary proofing temperature. With the racks removed, you can fit a huge bowl of sourdough or nine quart-sized mason jars full of soon-to-be yogurt inside. You could even set a pan of water inside and use the unit as a humidifier. I know–I’m in love, too.
Set It, Forget It, You Bet…It
All Excalibur models have temperature gauges that ensure consistent temperatures for the length of the drying period. Some Excalibur models are equipped with timers that can be set to operate up to 26 hours and will automatically shut the unit off after the allotted time. By setting the temperature gauge and timer, even the scatterbrained among us can avoid over-drying.
This simplifies the making of potentially touchy items such as yogurt or sourdough. No more worrying about whether or not the yogurt will maintain the necessary temperature for proper culturing. No more long waits for sourdough to proof in a cold kitchen. Simply set the timer and the temperature and walk away. (Don’t walk away for days if you’re fermenting sourdough. Think “the blob that ate Manhattan.”)
My Positive Take on The Down Side
Appearance: The Excalibur is a big black plastic box, unless you purchase the white version, which is a big white plastic box. That’s it. No pretty dancing flowers, no stainless steel doo-dads, no fancy buttons, no radar to detect space aliens. In fact, it doesn’t look like it should be able to do the fantastic things it does. But looks can be deceiving. This big ol’ box can really cut the mustard…and dehydrate it as well.
Size: When I say it is a big ol’ box, I mean big! The size of the Excalibur may leave people in a small apartment wondering where to put it. This is when it’s time to kick up the creativity. People keep them in bathrooms, on bedroom dressers, and in their garages. We keep ours in the laundry room off the kitchen where it is always accessible for our yogurt making fests. The Excalibur is available in different sizes to accommodate your needs, but I like the monster size, officially known as the 3926T (26T for 26-hour timer).
Volume: Some people complain that the Excalibur is noisy. True, it does emit a steady hum when it’s running, but I personally do not find it to be a problem in the least. Of course, I have six children—who notices a steady hum?!
Durability: Periodically I have read reports of a fan burning out or another technical issue. I have also heard that Excalibur offers great customer service and will do what they can to honor warranties. We have no personal experience in this area. Despite running for batch after batch of yogurt, crispy nuts and seeds, and other goodies, our Excalibur has never had a problem…unlike nearly every other appliance that we own. If you are concerned, there is the option of purchasing a ten-year warranty with your dehydrator, which comes free with some on-site deals. Overall, there is a reason why Excalibur has earned its fantastic reputation.
Cost: The Excalibur is expensive. Period. Think nearly $300. Fortunately, there are options to paying full list price. Online stores such as Amazon often offer some models of the dehydrator at a discount. Excalibur itself often runs sales or deals, such as offering free gifts or an extended warranty with purchase. Different models sell for different prices to accommodate each customer’s needs, some barely breaking $100 in price. Finally, Excalibur often has reconditioned models available on their site at a highly discounted price and still be eligible for warranties.
Extra Products: Some people claim you need to purchase Paraflexx sheets and a dehydrating manual to properly use the Excalibur. Honestly, while you would need some sort of sheet for fruit rolls, we have yet to use the sheets that came free with our unit through an on-site deal. We have also found the enclosed dehydrating guide to be sufficient for our first year with our Excalibur.
If you are interested in moving toward a more natural diet, preserving your own foods, making your own yogurt, or, hey, even drying out your sneakers, the Excalibur is a valuable multi-tasking tool. Now, if only it could fold laundry….
Do you have an Excalibur (or other) Dehydrator? What is your favorite way to use it?
Disclosure: If you make a purchase of any sort through the Amazon and Excalibur links on my site, I receive a commission. You certainly do not need to purchase through my links, but my family and I totally appreciate it when you do! Totally! Thank you for reading my Excalibur Dehydrator review.