Please read, before reading

I am saddened by the comments on this blog that often take a judgmental turn. The information is intended to be just that -- information. You need to make your own decisions for your life and be accountable for your actions. I debated closing the blog, but feel there are many valuable items listed for families struggling with food allergies, especially early on.

If you need further information please contact a doctor. If you need to verify a product's ingredients, please look at current labels and contact the company yourself. Note many posts are several years old. Use your best judgment and do not make up comments to scare people.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pre-packaged food = frustration -- Product Review

Recently, I was asked by CSN stores to do a review of a product of my choosing from one of their online stores.  First off, let me say that my product arrived in less than a week and it was in perfect running condition.  I selected a food dehydrator.  Our daughter loves dried fruit, but it can be pretty expensive.  We often find the cheaper version of dried apricots or raisins to have been made in a facilty that shares equipment with tree nuts or peanuts.  That's not a risk we want to gamble.

The Product

I used the Nesco American Harvest Snackmaster.  I read the reviews of different food dehydrators and this one seemed to be the best for our needs.  It has four trays and one fruit roll tray.  Many of the reviews said it was noisy, but I didn't find it any noisier than the fan over my stove.  It ran all day in my house and it wasn't much of a bother in terms of noise.  I just kept thinking I had to turn the fan over the stove off.

I also had read that the clean screens that come separately are almost a neccesity for using this food dehydrator.  I searched for them locally and couldn't find them.  I gambled without them.

The prep work (took about 30 minutes)

I decided to focus on a just a couple fruits for my first experimental dehydrating experience.

  • 2 Golden Delicious Apples:  I cored and soaked in Fruit Fresh.
  • 2 Bananas: Cut and sprinkled with Fruit Fresh
  • 1 Braburn Apple and 2 Bananas: Purred in blender, mixed in a little water and Fruit Fresh and poured in roll up tray
  • 3/4 pint Bluberries: Soaked in Fruit Fresh (later read I was supposed to blanch, oops)
  • 1 lb Green Grapes:  Soaked in Fruit Fresh (oops, didn't blanch)

I sprayed each tray of the food dehydrator with cooking spray because I didn't have the clean screens.

The results

  • Apples took about 4 hours.
  • Bananas took about 8 hours
  • Fruit Roll took aobut 8 hours
  • Blueberries took about 13 hours
  • Grapes didn't turn out (guess I should have read the directions beforehand)

What did my food allergic child think?  She loved everything she tried -- apples, bananas, fruit roll and blueberries.  Each time she tried one of them she asked for more and more.

The clean up was easy and I don't think I need to buy those screens if I use these fruits on it.  I was very impressed how little mess it made.  I was expecting a sticky, gooey mess.  Not the case.  It took just a couple minutes to wipe each tray


I was initially a little overwhelmed by the directions and the length of time it takes to dehydrate food.  But it turned out to be much simplier.  It did take a long time, but to know that it we have safe food for our daughter to eat makes it worth it.  We often have extra fruit that goes bad before we eat it.  This is a great option for that predicament.  I feel the dried fruit will be a great addition to snacks at home and for preschool.

I highly recommend buying a food dehydrator if you child has food allergies.  You can check out CSN stores for a good selection.  Or you can go over to my other blog and enter to win a $50 gift card with CSN stores to help with the cost!

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