Pros: dehydrates very quickly, lots dehydtrating square footage, has timer, adjustable thermostat, easy to use, efficient.
Cons: need large footprint on counter, some people might not like noise, narrow spaces between trays.
The Bottom Line: This is Cream of the Crop in food dehydrators. Quick drying, lots of dehydratingsquare footage-perfect for raw foods people and those who want to preserve gardens or have larger families.
One of the best things that my family ever did was to enter the wonderous world of dehydrating foods. There is nothing quite like a cold winter day and grabbing a piece of summer and popping it in your mouth. Whether it is the delightful burst of intense flavor of a homegrown tomato or the sweet kiss of a hand picked strawberry, dehydrated foods enable you to preserve a large amount of food using very little storage space.
MY EXPERIENCES WITH FOOD DEHYDRATORS
My first experience with food dehydrators was using the lowest setting on the oven and leaving the door open. This was really hard to control and gave very inconsistent results.
Our next food dehydrator was a metal dehydrator that we had to assemble from metal parts and it had a recirculating fan. This was an awful experience- worse than the oven. The foods tasted awful. They were brown and the flavors all seemed to mix with each other and I was not happy with it at all.
The third food dehydrating experience that we had was with a VITA MIX product that was called the BIG ONE. This one had the capacity for 20 trays. The motor and fan with adaptable thermostat allowed the food to dry as air passed from the bottom up a stack of round trays. This dehydrator has served us very well over the period of 18 years. My husband modified the base unit to make it possible to clean it well semi-annually and that was all of the maintenance needed. The results were fantastic. Drying time, however, varied, and sometimes it seemed like the dryer had to run a long time for certain foods.
Over the last year, our family has adopted the raw foods lifestyle. Although we still have cooked food on occasion, the majority of our nutritional intake is through raw foods. This lifestyle demands the use of dehydrated breads and foods to a degree that is larger than any other lifestyle we have adopted to this point. We needed something that did not take up the space that the BIG ONE takes up, so we invested in an EXCALIBUR 3926T food dehydrator.
WHAT IS THE EXCALIBUR 3926T LIKE?
One of the reasons that we invested in the EXCALIBUR 3926T Food Dehydrator was because although it has a bigger footprint than the BIG ONE, it is more compact, but allows for just as much drying area as the 20 tray BIG ONE that we have used for years.
The EXCALIBUR 3926T Food Dehydrator is a 9 tray system. On each tray is a mesh poly screen that fits on the tray. The support system on the tray has criss crossed plastic strips built into the tray, but the holes are way too big to put food on. The polyscreen has a mesh with holes in it about 1/8 x 1/4 inches large.
Paraflexx sheets sometimes will come with the package or you can purchase them separately. These are reinforced high mil plastic that are food grade. These cover the entire tray allowing for fruit leathers, watery products to be dried as well as raw foods products that replace breads. These are not to be soaked, only washed briefly.
The unit has nine trays with 15 square feet of total drying space if using all trays.
There is a fan in the back of the unit which pushes air from back to front allowing for very quick and even drying.
On the back, there are two dials. One dial is for temperature, and the other one is for time. The timer dial goes from 2 to 26 hours. The temperature dial goes from 155 F to 95 F.
The entire unit is black (white is available for extra $10), and the trays slide out from the front of the unit. There is about 7/8 inch space between trays, but trays can be removed to allow for larger items to be placed in the dryer.
On the front of the unit, there is a door that sits loosely on the front of the dehydrator. There are some small hefty prongs that allow the tray to sit in a furrow on the base unit. This causes the door to sit pretty nicely on the front of the dehydrator but it is easy to knock off if you hit it directly. The door is heavy enough to stay put for the most part though.
The EXCALIBUR 3926T is not overly noisy, but if you have a quiet home with very little noise, it might be a big change for you. It is similar to running a fan on high in the summer time. If you can stand that with no problem, then you will not have a problem with this unit.
Cord is a three pronged plug and is barely 2 feet long. You need to have the EXCALIBUR 3926T pretty close to a plug or have a grounded three pronged plug extension cord for heavier appliances to use with it.
TOTAL DRYING ROOM- 15 square feet (if using all trays) BUILT IN On/Off switch FAN SIZE- 7 inch WATTS- 600 ADJUSTABLE THERMOSTAT TIMER CAPACITY 2 to 26 hours WEIGHT- 22 lbs DIMENSIONS- 12 1/2 H x 17W x 19D (official company measurement)
(Mine measures 12 1/2 Hx 16 1/2 W x 19 1/2 D as compared to the measurements listed their site which is what I have put down as first listing)
HOW THE EXCALIBUR FOOD DEHYDRATOR WORKS
Using the EXCALIBUR FOOD DEHYDRATOR is very easy. There is almost no learning curve to this great appliance. Let's take a simple food for an example.
If I wanted to dry bananas that were on sale for .25 a pound, I would slice the bananas about 1/3 - 1/2 inches thick. I line them up on the tray on top of the polymesh- I don't need the ParaFlexx sheets for these.
Once I am done slicing bananas or if the tray is full, then I slide the tray back into the unit.
I replace the door on the hinge and make sure it is pressed into the unit correctly.
I look at the top of the unit where there is a chart listing what each temperature is appropriate for. I find that the best temperature for drying fruits is 135 F. (I prefer drying them a little lower like at 120 F).
I turn the thermostat dial to 120 F.
I turn the timer on to 12 hours intending to check on the bananas the next day.
If I happen to get called out of the house, the food dehydrator will automatically turn off after 12 hours, so that the food won't get over dried.
HOW DO I LIKE THE EXCALIBUR FOOD DEHYDRATOR? WHAT I LOVE:
I have to say that the EXCALIBUR is one of the nicest food dehydrators that I have come across in all of the years we have dehydrated foods. Although the BIG ONE worked very well for us, the EXCALIBUR FOOD DEHYDRATOR dries food much faster than the BIG ONE did.
I also love the high square footage that the EXCALIBUR provides for.
The food scents do not travel between foods like they did in the oven and that old metal food dryer that we had some years ago.
Trays do not have to be moved around constantly like in other food dehydrators either.
The timer allows for me to stop drying food before it becomes way too dry and brittle- one of the most frustrating things about the other dehydrators that we have had.
I like the chart on the EXCALIBUR that lists appropriate temperatures for certain items- it saves time when I am in a hurry.
The ParaFlexx sheets store in the base of the EXCALIBUR so they don't have to be lost or ruined from outside storage.
WHAT I DON'T LIKE
One of the few things that I don't like about the EXCALIBUR FOOD DEHYDRATOR is that the trays are very close together. 7/8 of an inch is not a lot of room for drying chunky items like pineapple or other things that I might want to dehydrate.
However, you can remove every other tray to allow for more room in dehydrating, however, that does reduce over all drying space. I try to keep my dehydrating down to small pieces, but sometimes I have a hard time fitting a few things in. It is a small frustration easily fixed, however. Just cut the large pieces smaller!
You can use the EXCALIBUR for raising bread dough, making yogurt, and a few other purposes that I never thought of before. Of course you have to remove trays to make room for that.
And of course, one of the first things I discovered in our food dryer was MITTENS! Apparently my family decided that it was a great way to dry mittens quickly to go back outside more quickly........not recommended by the manufacturer, however........HAHA
EXCALIBUR is one of the nicest food dehydrators that I have ever used. I understand why they are so popular. For raw foods they are indispensible!. But for large preservation of gardens or large families, the 3926T is the prefect model.
The warranty on the EXCALIBUR is a 5 year limited warranty. Here is what the company says about that:
Excalibur Products warrants to the ORIGINAL RETAIL PURCHASER of this product that if it is purchased through an AUTHORIZED EXCALIBUR RETAILER , and operated in accordance with the printed instruction accompanying it, then for a period of five years from the date of purchase, the product shall be free from defects in material and workmanship. For the first year of the warranty period all plastic and electrical components are covered free of charge. For the balance of the five years, new or rebuilt replacements for factory defective electrical parts will be supplied at no charge. Shipping of the electrical parts are the responsibility of the customer. We recommend that you properly register your purchase by completing the warranty registration online or mailing to Excalibur, the product warranty registration sheet delivered with your product. This Limited Warranty is in no event extended to cover a product purchased for commercial, rental or any purposes other than for personal, family or household use. Products sold through online auctions, by unauthorized dealers or discount retailers are not eligible for warranty services from Excalibur . To obtain warranty service an original or copy of the sales receipt from the original authorized retailer is required and a completed warranty registration. THEREFORE, YOU SHOULD RETAIN YOUR SALES SLIP OR INVOICE. Excalibur will not replace missing components from any package purchased through an online auction.
You can purchase a 10 year extended warranty from the company as well for $29.95. From time to time the company offers it for free when you purchase a special package from them, which involves lots of savings.
The Excalibur 3926T Food Dehydrator is $299.95 retail, but you can often find good sales on the site which combine extended warranty, reduced or free shipping, a few paraflexx sheets and/or other enticements to make for a nice deal.
We got our unit for a really nice price with coupon for about $175, but that price range is rare.
or do a google search for other authorized dealers which may also offer very good prices on EXCALIBUR. You will want to be sure that the warranty is applicable. I do know that if you purchase one off of Ebay, EXCALIBUR will not offer the factory warranty on it.
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