When you grow an edible garden, you get plenty to eat, and more.

Summer has provided us a pretty good harvest so far and I’m fully in the swing of acting all squirrel like and stocking up on my preserves and dried goods. I’ve posted plenty about my preserving but not so much about my drying.

The drying part of our gathering includes all the usual suspects – drying out the onions and the garlic to develop their protective papery layers, as well as chillies, tomatoes and various herbs.

The onions, garlic and chillies get naturally sun dried but the tomatoes and herbs normally end up in the oven being VERY slowly dried on a low temperature. It works, but the cost of running the oven for all the time it takes to get the right amount of dehydration was starting to play on my mind.

I have tried some of the big brand dehydrators in the past but always end up returning them or selling them when they also seem to need to run for ever, and still leave me with half dried produce.

I was lamenting my drying powers, grizzling over the oven running for 24 hours solid and my gorgeous hubby asked “Why don’t you get that dehydrator you’ve wanted for ages?”

THAT dehydrator is the one and only Excalibur Dehydrator

This little beauty is the KING of dehydrators and I have wanted one for ages, having seen it at a nutrition course I used to attend.

Well after doing a bit of creative accounting and a somewhat amateur ROI (return on investment) analysis I searched the Internet and found the best price I could for the Black 9 Tray Model. And then I hit order!

It arrived a few days later and I couldn’t wait to run it in. I packed it full of all the Roma tomatoes I had been saving since I ordered it, along with a tray of chillies, bananas and randomly, some old bread which I usually dry out for breadcrumbs.

In just 8 hours it was all beautifully dried and ready for storing. My squirrel days just got so much more efficient!

It has run through two full loads (18 trays) already and the jars and bags are filling up nicely.

If you are going to be drying or dehydrating your produce I highly recommend the Excalibur. It’s well known for it’s great Beef Jerky drying, it can be used for rising bread, making yoghurt, creating fruit leathers and raw crackers and it dries fruit, vegetables and herbs perfectly.

While it’s not a super cheap unit, the quality and efficiency is fantastic and if you are a bit of a squirrel like me, you can’t go wrong.

And with this book from Burpee Gardening, you’ll find no end of products to Dehydrate and make the best use of your investment.