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LOWEST PRICE: Nesco Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator $53.99 on Amazon (and why I love our food dehydrator)

Amazon had a nice price drop on this Nesco Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator (with jerky gun), now $53.99 with free Prime/SuperSaver shipping, the lowest recorded Amazon price on this set.   It also comes with a jerky gun for making jerky out of ground beef.  This dehydrator got 4.7 out of 5 stars over 1,034 customer reviews.
  • All-in-one kit has a top mounted fan
  • Easily dries fruit, vegetables and jerky quickly and evenly
  • Comes with 5 trays and jerky gun
  • Includes fruit roll sheet, clean-a-screen for drying herbs or sticky fruit; recipe guide
I thought Joshua was nuts when he first suggested we buy our dehydrator (twelve years ago), but it has actually become one of my favorite kitchen appliances, and we use it far more often than I thought.

A food dehydrator is one of the easiest-to-use kitchen appliances ever.  Basically, you slice whatever you'd like to dry and place it on the dehydrator tray.  Then you plug it in and walk away.  Go about your life and come back a few hours later.  Absolutely no culinary skills needed.  Okay, maybe one:  you need to be able to slice food.  Seriously.  That's it.  The trays go in the dishwasher when you're done, so cleanup is easy.

A food dehydrator is great for when you've got fruits and vegetables that are on their last legs and won't be good in a day or two.  I use our dehydrator to make dried apples, pineapple, bananas, mangoes, carrots, and turnips.  Any kind of dried root vegetables are delicious when dried, and are a good substitute for potato chips for when you are watching your calories.

I also make dried jerky for my husband.  Last time we celebrated Thanksgiving at home, we had so much turkey left over that after I was done freezing most of it, I made some turkey jerky that was awesome.  Just marinade the leftover turkey in Italian dressing overnight and then pop it on to the dehydrator. Joshua loves buying chuck steak (the cheapest cut) and making beef jerky.  He eats it as a quick protein fix snack and we also use it as a car snack when traveling (and the cost of the jerky is about a quarter of the price of prepared kosher jerky).

I also dehydrate sliced lemons and limes and use them on Yom Tov, when we offer our guests an after-meal tea with dessert. Dunk a dried slice of citrus in hot tea, and it instantly rehydrates it; it makes for wonderful presentation and I don't have to think about keeping fresh lemons around. I got the idea when I saw these dried lemon slices here, but didn't feel like spending $9/lb. for them.

We also use it to dry fresh spices (I grow basil), and the freshly dried versions are a little more potent (and a heckuva lot cheaper) than the spices that comes in a jar.  I've never made fruit roll ups with our dehydrator, but a few of my mom-friends have and they love it...you have total control over the roll-up ingredients and can give your kids healthy, sugar free dried rollup snacks.

This Nesco dehydrator got terrific reviews (worth at least skimming), and apparently dries food more quickly than most other dehydrators (hours vs. days).

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