Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Excalibur 9 Tray Dehydrator: A Review in Progress

I'm calling this post a review in progress because I've had my Excalibur dehydrator for a just few days and I've only had a chance to try it out on one type of food. So far, though, I'm pretty happy with my purchase.

Hubby Dear pruned back the oregano in my herb garden this morning and brought in a large pile for me to process.

Mama mia! That's a lot of oregano!

The best time to harvest oregano is right as it goes to flower. We cut it back to about 10" in height, which gives me an ample supply of oregano to dry for use over the next year. Normally, I dry oregano by hanging it up for a couple of weeks in my laundry room.

Yes, my laundry room is the color of Pepto-Bismol. Want to make something of it?

It works well and doesn't use electricity. I just had to try out my new dehydrator, though, so that's what I opted to do this time.

Here's the Excalibur 9 tray dehydrator. It's not a small appliance.

I've owned microwave ovens that were smaller than this.

It's not something I would want to leave out on my counter every day. I'm not sure where I'm going to store it, though, so I'd better work on figuring something out!

The door on the front of the dehydrator comes off, revealing 9 trays that slide in and out.

I started out removing the leaves one by one from the stems and placing them on the tray, but I soon got tired of that. After I finished one tray like that I started loading in entire stems. 

The dehydrator was easy to figure out how to run, even for a technophobe like me.

I plugged it in, turned the dial, and the dehydrator took care of the rest. The instruction manual said herbs should take 2-4 hours at 95 degrees to dry. That may be true for some herbs, but not oregano on the stem! In total, it took 6-8 hours for everything to get completely dry.

I ran my fingers down the stems and was able to easily pull the dried leaves off. I placed the dry oregano in canning jars and vaccuum sealed them with my FoodSaver.

Last year's harvest gave me 1-1/2 pints of dried oregano leaves and I've still got a bit leftover. By the time I'm through with that pile on my table, I'll have more than 2 quarts of it. Anybody need some oregano? ;)

Last year's oregano harvest. Multiply this by 3 for this year.

In the future, I think I'll stick to air-drying with oregano. The Excalibur did a nice job, but it is easier to just hang it up in bundles and let time do the work. I'm curious to see if all the great reviews for the Excalibur are also true when it comes to things like fruit leathers, vegetables, and jerky.

Sounds like a part two for this review is in order!


  1. Glad you like your Excalibur. I got the 9 tray Excalibur with the timer, directly from the company, a couple of months ago. It has gotten used A LOT! I love it! Great review and pictures. BTW, I love your pink laundry room.

  2. I'd like a dehydrator, but am concerned about the space commitment. I can already tell from the pics I won't have space for the Excalibur. It's bigger than my microwave oven! Nice oregano. I used to have a nice African oregano bush, that was hardier than regular oregano but takes over your garden. But I have never been able to grow them since. Great post!

  3. I just did a search to see if I could dry oregano in my Excal w/o cutting off the leaves. Thanks for the confirmation! I don't have any place to hang herbs to dry, so I do them all in the dehydrator. Love how green the parsley stays!