deer
photo by Carl R Sams II from the book Stranger In The Woods (#ad)

For living foods, you need very specific temperature control.

Your dehydrator must have an adjustable thermostat. A low/med/high knob does not work.

You need to ensure the temperature is below 118° to preserve enzymes, and for cashew yogurt you need 92°F (33°C).

The three popular electric dehydrators with temperature control are L’Equip, Excalibur, and American Harvest/Nesco Gardenmaster.

I use L’Equip most often, and Excalibur for guests staying awhile who eat lots of crackers! I’ve stopped using American Harvest Gardenmaster.

American Harvest — Nesco Gardenmaster

Gardenmaster airflow
red arrows show air-flow

The Gardenmaster (#ad) has a heating element and motorized fan in its base, with a large hole in the center of the base (covered by mesh but this doesn’t stop spills) and open holes all round the outside edge (no mesh).

Each tray is the same — large hole in center, open holes just inside the outer edges.

The biggest problem is that light grains like sprouted quinoa are blown down the center and side holes into the motor unit at the bottom. The engine ceases. Also liquid blends are often blown a little into the motor unit.

After dehydrating, you must turn the base upside down and shake all the dry crumbs out, but not all come out, so old food pieces gradually accumulate, locked in the base.

You can’t open up this base unit to clean out the fan and motor. I had to return it to the factory to clean the quinoa out, and pay a service charge.

Another problem with American Harvest is that it’s round. So you can’t cut crackers into neat square or oblong shapes. I had to break mine into disjointed pieces.

Quinoa Crunch

Sprouted quinoa is one of my favorite snack foods! You sprout quinoa grains — see Recipes on how to sprout grains, but soak quinoa in water for only 1-2 hours first, not the usual 6-10 hours. After a day (not two days) the quinoa sprouts are ready, soak them in soya sauce, sprinkle them on solid sheets, and dehydrate at 100°F for 24 hours — for a lovely high-protein crunchie snack. So quick ‘n easy to make! Nothing to prepare in blender or food processor.

With L’Equip and Excalibur, NO little sprouts are blown into the heating element, as they are with Gardenmaster.

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