Nesco American Harvest Dehydrator Product Review

Nesco American Harvest

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Drying Foods

Dehydrating food is nothing more than drying it. Food contains moisture and drying it inhibits the growth of bacteria (which needs moisture to grow) and microorganisms. This makes it safe to eat and can preserve the food indefinitely. A dehydrator is nothing more than a heater that efficiently circulates air through the fruits and vegetables until it is dry.

Drying foods is an ancient means of preserving it. Prehistoric people dried seeds and breads in the sun. North American Indians preserved meat by slicing it into strips and drying the pieces. Japanese people dried fish and rice while the Chinese dried eggs.

Why Dehydrate Food?

Dehydrating food is a perfect method to preserve fruits and vegetables. Properly dried edibles taste delicious. Drying herbs, fruits and vegetables from the garden is one of the best ways to conserve and preserve the dividends.

Removing the water from food has minimal effect on the nutritional value. Fruits will taste sweeter as the sugar is concentrated. Dried foods are lower in fat content and higher in fiber and carbohydrates. Minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium are not changed. Vitamin A is retained while some Vitamin C, an air soluble nutrient, is lost.

Save money by drying herbs.

Herbs clipped from my garden.
Herbs clipped from my garden. | Source
Source

Drying food is a great way to take advantage of seasonal foods, sales at the grocery store or your favorite items from your local farmer's market.

There are a wide variety of flowers that can be dried for consumption or crafting. Dried herbs and flowers make beautiful decorations for home made cakes or floral arrangements. If you make your own pasta the noodles can be dried in a food dehydrator. If you have chips or popcorn that has gone stale you can zap the moisture out and revive them in the dehydrator.

Don't know what to do with those left over hot dog and hamburger buns? Slice them into smaller pieces and dry them for bread crumbs. If the bread is stale - toss it in the dehydrator and use it for croutons. Slice bagels and make your own bagel chips.

There are numerous ways to use a food dehydrator to conserve food. Crop failures, economic crisis, blights and harsher temperatures cause the price of food to rise as the supply is in higher demand. Dehydrating food is a smart way to be more self sufficient. American's are finally coming to the conclusion that we may not always be rich and fat. In the event of a national disaster or local disasters such as tornadoes, storms, hurricanes, floods or an apocalypse - you might want to have a supply of food that won't expire.

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Methods of Drying Foods

  • sun drying
  • smoking
  • oven drying
  • air drying
  • dehydration

Perfect foods for your dehydrator.

  • herbs
  • flowers
  • fish
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • meats


Source

Dehydrated Strawberries

Terrific for Oatmeal, Ceral or a Snack!
Terrific for Oatmeal, Ceral or a Snack! | Source
5 stars for Nesco Food Dehydrator

Nesco American Harvest Food Dehydrator

I researched the different types of food dehydrators on the web. Nesco was touted as one of the best available and it seemed to fit my needs. I do have a small garden and lots of pots of herbs so I wanted to preserve as much as I could.

I gave the Nesco a trial with a variety of things. I wanted to see what worked best and how drying affected taste.

The Nesco comes with a manual that has charts with the drying time for each item. Several things can affect the time involved including how full the trays are and factors such as humidity in the air and temperature. The charts also explain that some things need to be pre-treated with something acidic like lemon juice or a pre-wash.

I dehydrated blueberries, strawberries, white grapes, herbs, tomatoes and bananas. I did the herbs in a separate batch. I pre-treated the banana chips and blanched the grapes. The drying time was longer at the recommended temperature for me but everything came out beautiful and tasted delicious!

The tomatoes are superb, as well as the blueberries and strawberries. The herbs look and smell fantastic. I waited for a period of 8 weeks from the day it was dried to take the photos of my treats. As you can see - they look as fresh today as they did 2 months ago! They still taste delicious too.

Dehydrated Fruits & Herbs

Dried 8 Weeks Ago
Dried 8 Weeks Ago | Source

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Comments 60 comments

Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Interesting, Kelly.

I was aware that commercial people use this product but was unaware that such a thingie existed for homes. Thanks for the interesting and useful hub. many votes and sharing it across


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Here I thought that a dehydrator would cost a lot more than the ones you have listed. I would love to have one especially for this time of year. Think of all the great fruit trail mix you could make for the girls to take to school :)

You've done an excellent review, and the Nesco is one I will consider when buying a dehydrator. Your pictures look great too!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Ruchira! Thanks - I love the dehydrator and have kept it in constant use:) lol But as my tomatoes mature I don't want to waste them. They are so terrific dehydrated! I think the tomatoes are my favorite - or the berries?! lol

Yeah they are super cool to have and I know if we have a national disaster I better be locking my doors. I will be loaded down with good stuff and all the neighbors know it! haha!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Ta Da! Thanks Susan - can you believe it I finally published this hub! lol I have been working on it for weeks!

I seriously LOVE the dehydrator and I know you would too because you cook as much as I do. Wait until you see how it affects tomatoes - I can't wait to start making some winter soups and stews with them. Delicious and I am super happy with it!

Thanks so much - this was a labor of love:) lol I was really happy with my own photos for once! haha!


Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

Oh, Kelly, this is such a glorious hub. I love your photos! And this dehydrator sounds like it would be a perfect thing for us to have. I grow herbs and by winter they all die off, but I could preserve them with this. And one of my daughters hates fresh bananas but loves them dried - so that's another thing I could so with it. I will have to see if we can get these in the UK. Thanks for sharing this info, I'm voting this up!


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey

Wow, this is such a thorough review hub. I love all the pictures and ideas. I was really interested in the drying of herbs. I just got back from taking some classes in Colorado for herbal medicine. We talked about dehydrating certain things, and wasn't sure if I should invest in a dehydrator yet. But your hub gave me some things to think about. Thanks!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Melovy! Thank you! I swear I love this dehydrator and the main reason I wanted it is because herbs are SO expensive! Each time I needed a small amount of rosemary or thyme it would cost at least 3.00! I was so tired of spending a small fortune for "fresh" herbs.

You can also make fruit roll ups in them - I know your kids would love those in there. They are a little more thick but more delicious. I forgot to take a photo of the banana chips before they were eaten! haha! They ate them all. I did not use a prewash on my bananas - it's a choice so I didn't and they look a little dull and dark in color but taste great!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Stephanie - thank you! I will swear by my dehydrator. I love it and use it a lot since I got it. I am trying to dry tons of herbs as I harvest them knowing I will be so glad I don't have to pay the high prices at the store this winter.

I have had lots of fun with mine and love the way the dried food tastes - I'd say go for it. Especially if you are into herbal remedies...that could save you a mint!


Grace D. profile image

Grace D. 4 years ago from Missouri

Very informative post, I am a big fan of do-it-youself healthy. I have been thinking a lot lately about getting a dehydrator again, this may have just be the push I needed to commit. Great post.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Grace D. - My oldest girl who is now 23 - was diagnosed with ultra high cholesterol at 8 years old. It was a genetic thing...so I had no choice but to change my ways and learn to cook really healthy. I kept feeling so grateful that we discovered this at her young age - so many kids these days have heart attacks or stuff like that playing sports! I bet that some of them are because of health histories such as hers. I knew she had to develop healthy habits for life. I am not sure I'd be such a freak about it if not for that - but hey - she's still extremely healthy and now makes all those good choices for herself. At this point - everyone here is so used to eating healthy food they get sick if they eat fast food? ha! That's ok too!


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

Good review. Thank you. Have one. Use it to make jerky.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Very nice. If I had a garden, I would get one of these! I was raised in the city and everything I try to grow pretty much dies. I tried to fish once, I hate the worms.

But some custom jerky would be nice.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Mhatter99 - thanks! My kids want me to try to make some beef jerky - I have never tried it before but everyone who has says it's great!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Lela well that is why my husband goes fishing with me! So he can bait my hook! Eithet that or I will just use lures:) shiny pretty ones! lol

I love my garden...it's cathartic working out there and you get something petty and useful for the effort! I kill house plants. I try, try try but I just am bad news to house plants? Except herbs but those are so easy...I bet you could do those! lol


mvillecat profile image

mvillecat 4 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

Drying food is a great way to store and use later. I have never done it myself but want to try drying tomatoes in the oven. I have been canning for the first time this summer and I love it.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Me too! That is so cool! I just learned to can my own stuff last summer and am having a blast with that. Dried tomatoes are the best!! They are so good even my kids liked chewing on them. Perfect way to save all my Roma tomatoes as they ripen!

Thanks you and good luck!


IntegrityYes 4 years ago

OOH,Real Housewife! I definitely voted up. Rock out hard this week!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi IntegrityYes - thank you very much ~ I sincerely appreciate that comment!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

You must have gotten your food deyhyrdrator right around the same time as I got mine. Eli knew how much I wanted one so he got me one for mother's day. I have wanted to try dried blueberries but unfortunately I have eaten them far to fast to get any on there. I have done a bunch of banana chips - which taste amazing if you add it to oatmeal (but do it before you microwave it so the bananas soften some!) - I have also made my very own fruit rollups out of pluots. The kids love them and they really are so much better than buying them at the store! Well done!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Stacy - ta da! I didn't realize you had one and were using it! Cool! The blueberries are for sure worth trying! They are so good - they take a super long time. I blanched mine first too - but they are awesome! They taste great with walnuts:) lol

I have been wanting to try a fruit roll up - I was afraid it might be hard and super messy - was it fairly easy? I want to try jerky too! Let me know what else you try to how it works out. I shoulda known you would already be onto this idea:)


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

What a nice dehydrator I've never seen this one before. We have an old one. My husband makes jerky in his but he would love this one. He needs a hobbie! Maybe he would buy this I can't get him to go for the chickens I want him to get for a hobbie. Interesting hub voted up and shared.


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

I have been wanting a dehydrator for a long time, and now I have something to show hubby for why I need one! :) Oh, can it make beef jerky?


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Moonlake! I want chickens too! Ok sorry - I had to get that out:) LOL

This would be a fabulous hobby - pretty harmless and cheap. I thought that the dehydrators were pretty expensive so I hemmed and hawed over the purchase a bit. I didn't want to spend 65 bucks and use it once. I have used it several time - tonight I am trying orange slices! I bet those will be great! But see? You can try endless amounts of things so the fun hasn't worn out for me yet.

Thanks so much for the read, votes and shares!!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Terrye - Yes - these can make jerky! I have never tried it - but my uncle has and he says it is not too difficult and it is delicious. My kids want to try that and fruit roll ups next. I wanted to sorta work my way up to it as I get more confident using it!

Thanks so much!


Rusticliving profile image

Rusticliving 4 years ago from California

I love this... I had a really good dehydrator in Hawaii.. but left it there when I moved. Been looking for a good one. Love your hub my dear.... Very very cool! Huuuuugs! Thumbs up! Lisa


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

Well, that just sold me for sure. We love jerky! I can't wait to hear how the jerky and fruit roll ups turn out! :)


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

Some of my friends recently acquired dehydrators and LOVE them, but they've only used them for meat so far. I should send them to your Hub!


AlanRimmer profile image

AlanRimmer 4 years ago from Southwest UK

I started to grow herbs last year and have more than enough for immediate needs. Have tried freezing some but I was wondering how best to try drying some. Now I know. Great info, thanks.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Lisa! I had one many years ago - and it didn't work very well! Lol. I gave it up but decided since technology has made such strides over the last 20 years they probably DO work now:) ta da! They do! Thank you so much!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Terrye my kids LOVE beef jerky - and they even like different flavors. Beats the heck out of buying them candy bars! Lol. I really can't wait to see how it is compared to Quick Trips! Lol


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Simone! I am so excited about mine - feels so ...real housewifey! like. Haha! I am having tons of fun and I had no idea what I was going to do with all the goodies from the garden. I don't necessarily grow stuff because I want to eat it...if it's pretty it's good enough for me! I did a lot of flowers so I am very curious how they turn out dried? Idk but I will see!

Hey yeah you should send my hub to your friends! LOL

Thank you so much:)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi AlanRimmer - that's funny...the main reason I bought mine was because I had so many tomatoes and herbs and I couldn't figure out how to NOT waste them. Seems like I worked all summer and I don't want to watch it rot!

I dreid a ton of herbs - and they are still green! I used some to top my cavatappi pasta - the parsley and it looks great! Thanks again!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

The fruit rollups are super easy but you should get the trays specific for it. When my parents had a food dehydrator and we used to make them when we were teenagers we used (don't quote me) either wax paper or saran wrap - but I don't remember. The trays meant for it (and can also be used for drying other stuff too) make it so much easier and cleaner. Oh - and you don't know real heaven of dried food until you have had homemade fruit roll ups!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Ok awesome! My Nesco came with just one of those fruit roll up trays! So if I like it - I would order a few more! I can't wait to try those - I bet they are fabulous. Fruit is so yummy after it's dried!


iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

Ok, I think I found a birthday for Micah! We both just read this and were excited! Micah wants one of these so we can take dehydrated fruit camping! This machine would save us a lot of money! Great write up and great pics to describe this! I am voting up and sharing this all the way!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

That is a fabulous invention! I love dried fruit. Definaltley going to look into this.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Kelly.....I WANT ONE!!! Seriously....my son has had one for years and he tends to make a lot of "jerky."......especially venison, as he is a hunter. He's got it down to a perfect science and makes all sorts of flavors.

I would really appreciate a dehydrator for fruits and veggies.

You'd make an ACE salesperson, Kelly!!!..............UP++


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Audra! I just made apples and oranges in it - they are so awesome! They taste more like candy. If I threw a few nuts in it would be perfect trail mix! Good for ya too! Let me know if you get one and what you try! Thanks so much!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Tammy! I actually thought of you - I bet you'd be drying flowers and the cool stuff for crafts! Lol. I'm still having a blast with it - my 14 year old nephew wants one now:) lol. His birthday is on the 11th so I'm really getting him one! Lol. Thanks so much!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Paula! Cool you son uses one? That's awesome! My uncle used to make his own jerky but he lived so far away I never got to try it. I am working my way up to that but I'm still worried I'll mess it up!

I love it when I try something and it works like it's supposed to! I've gotten some gadgets thinking it would be cool - and it doesn't work:) lol. This made me SUPER happy! It works! Lol. Thanks so much and have a great day!


bridalletter profile image

bridalletter 4 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

I make deer jerky and beef jerky on mine all the time. I have the Open Country Garden Master brand and very happy with it. Apple chips are one of my favorites. I had the most perfect appricots recently, would love to dry those too.

Very worthwhile hub. I always forget I can use it for my herbs. That would save some cash for sure. I keep meaning to make some cat treats on it, but poor kitties are still waiting. I have not tried the tomatoes either, I eat them fresh so fast; none left for the dehydrator.


Turtlewoman profile image

Turtlewoman 4 years ago from California

Oh! You beat me to it, I was thinking about doing a review on my Nesco too. It is one of my favorite kitchen gadget! I have sooooo much herbs to dry this summer. I've been making dried fruits and even chicken jerky for the doggie.

You've written an excellent review! Bravo! Shared and pinned. :-)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi bridalletter - I can't wait to try jerky. And yeah I love apples dehydrated - I just made some and soaked them in orange juice first - they were so delicious.

I love drying my herbs and that is the main reason I bought the darn thing. I was so tired of paying grocery story prices for "fresh" herbs that truly are not that fresh! If I wanted to have say - 3 ingedients of herbs - it might cost me 10 bucks! And for one use. That makes the price of my dinner skyrocket - and I don't want to not cook with herbs! That would be criminal! lol I figured if the other stuff didn't work - I would still save a huge amount each week on my grocery bill which would cover the 65 bucks. Buying herbs - I could spend 65 in 6 weeks because I cook a lot.

Tomatoes - are spectacular in the dehydrator. I urge you to just slice one up - dry it and see how wonderful it is. The texture - flavor - it has it all!

Thanks so very much!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Turtlewoman - thank you so much!

Aren't they SO cool! I am having a blast with mine still. My nephew is here for a few days and we sliced up oranges and apples and dried them. It is really fun to see how the textures of the fruits change - if you haven't ever tried oranges - they are like little orange glass wheels when they dry. The rind is a little bitter so next time I plan to roll them in sugar first.

Thanks again for the votes and shares too!


Turtlewoman profile image

Turtlewoman 4 years ago from California

I haven't tried oranges, but they do remind me of the lemon slices that I dried. We have enough lemons to feed a village lol! They do look pretty!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

I want to try lemons now - and I can instantly think of about 10 things to do with those! The oranges I think I am going to try in an orange sauce that I pour over English Muffins topped with Spinach, egg and ham..my version of Mimi's Cafe's breakfast sandwich. Lemons would be good in chicken piccata I bet!


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Excellent hub Kelly! Love the review and all the research. Your pics are beautiful too. I do not own a dehydrator but my one sis does and her boys make beef jerky all the time. Sometimes they get a much cheaper cut of meat and make dog treats too. I loved your idea about the stale bread. I throw bread away all the time which is very sad. I would love to feed the birds with it but lately, I'm afraid it will bring raccoons and skunks!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Sharon - Thanks so much! I bet bread does go stale at your house - I have 3 kids so no problem there! They do leave the bag open sometimes though.

I love jerky so I can't wait to try to do it - it seems like it might be a little more difficult and I am sorta afraid I might not know when it is really done and poison someone:) LOL

I put corn cobs out (commercial store bags) for the raccoon that visits me. He thinks he is so sneaky but I see him on the Night Owl cameras:) LOL Hoping he will stay out of my garden!


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas

Hi Kelly, lots of great pictures and ideas. I finally started my new herb garden and I will hopefully have enough to be able to dehydrate for my spice cabinet. The fruit looks great too. I do have one. I should really give it another whirl and use it again. Thanks for an awesome hub.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

This yeah has been so touch for me - the scorching heat has been hard on my plants outside. Killed parsley but heck I already dried some! Lol.

I love my plants - they make me feel good and I love those fresh smells! Ahhh!

Yeah do try again...I sort of forget about my dehydrator but I brought it back into the kitchen in a visible spot so it will help as a reminder. Good luck and let me know how it goes!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

So would this be a way to save my cilantro that always goes bad before I use the whole bunch? Interesting hub and well laid out!


midget38 profile image

midget38 4 years ago from Singapore

Kelly, thanks for the tips...helpful in our humid weather here in Singapore. Something we all should know! Voted up, and sharing.


Angelo52 profile image

Angelo52 4 years ago from Central Florida

Great information on food dehydrating, real housewife. I dehydrate my chile peppers to make my own hot sprinkles.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Vicki - yep! This would be a terrific way to preserve cilantro! I am growing some so - I will try mine out and let you know how it works!

Thank you!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Midget - I didn't even realize it was so humid there in Singapore - interesting! I mean I guess I should have considering I did study the climate and stuff but you know you don't apply that knowledge to common sense things I guess!

Yeah this would be terrific! I was having a cup hot green tea last night and realized - the oranges I dehydrated would be perfect to go with the tea. I was too lazy to go downstairs again to get one though:) lol


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Angelo52 - I didn't think of chili peppers! ha! See now I am glad I posted this because everyone is giving me additional great ideas - that is one of them. I use chilis quite a bit - that would save me a few bucks:) Thanks so much!


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 3 years ago from USA

I couldn't live without my dehydrator. We grew up using it for everything. I have made tons of jerky with a simple recipe my dad showed me. You can use about any type of meat to do it. We even learned how to make our own chili powder with different types of chili. (This is handy when you have some that like it mild or hot.) My kids use to eat the apple chips with cinnamon on them before they were taken out of the dryer. The options are endless if you are willing to take a chance to try it. I know of a lady that dries her mellons, squash, mushrooms, and onions in hers. I haven't tried the mellons, but have done the others to make my own dried soup mixes.

Great hub!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Really Tip? You can dehydrate Melon? Oh Im going to try that! I still haven't tried jerky yet...but I want to! It sounds kind of hard for me. The fruit - just slice and toss it in! I love my dehydrator too...springs coming and I can't wait to harvest some fresh stuff to dry. I'm going to start herbs in the kitchen this week to get a jump start.


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 3 years ago from USA

Yep! I haven't been brave enough to try the mellon, but heard it is pretty good. I know we aren't supposed to promote our hubs, but with April Fool's Day coming up, you could impress your family with this joke. It's is so easy!

http://hubpages.com/entertainment/April-Fools-Road...

My dad use to pull this on some of his brother's "city" friends.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh Tip I don't care about spam...add that link! It's ALL good with me...! Thank you!

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