Friday, September 19, 2008

Help... (the Sweda dilemma)

A couple week's ago, as I was biking to our local farmers market, I received a call on my cell phone. The phone being nestled snuggly in my purse, in the basket, on the back of my bike - well, I didn't hear it. But the voice mail message was nothing but good news! My friend's mother (who hits all the promising garage sales each Saturday morning) has been on the look out for 1) used canning jars and 2) a food dehydrator. 

As you can see, a food dehydrator it is! For $3 bucks! Um, yeah. Sold! There's just one catch. There are no instructions. Now, I've looked online and although I can't find an electronic instructions manual for a Sweda Food Dehydrator, the general instructions for drying fruits and veggies seems to be pretty straight forward and translatable for just about any machine. The only problem is that this one has vents on both the top and bottom.

From what I understand, the vents help keep the temperature down (the ideal range for dehydrating is 85-145 degrees - dehydrators tend to run at 140 degrees). So here's my question. Does anyone have a dehydrator like this? How do you use the vents? The top vent has a setting of 0-4; the bottom vent has a setting of A-E. Any ideas?

24 comments:

jennconspiracy said...

Experiment. I have a similar dehydrator and it sucks. It only has on/off and my understanding is that you have to rotate the shelves periodically. I made a report of my experience with that little piece of junk -- and I'm bidding on an Excalibur on ebay now. Sadly, it's already too overcast and cool for my solar dehydrator to be useful. Dang it.

Green Bean said...

I'm with Jenn. Expermient. I have a Nesco - vents only on the bottom. It is super easy to use, though, and I've always been happy with the results. The dehydrating process is so slow that, if you do it during the day instead of overnight, you should be able to keep an eye on things.

DramaMama said...

You know that it was an "As seen on TV" product right? I don't know if that will help you at all in your search...

Heather @ SGF said...

jennconspiracy - I figure at $3 even if it sucks at least I can give it a shot. Hopefully it's not too complicated. I'll have to report on how it works when I finally give it a go. I've been dreaming of dried strawberries. Yum!

green bean - What kinds of things should I be looking for as I keep an eye on it? Have you tried drying fruit? That's what I'm most interested in.

dramamama - Yeah, I noticed that, but at the website, they no longer list the product. Oh well. Looks like experimenting is the way to go.

The Cooking Lady said...

I have an OLD dehydrator, but I leave all four vents open on both the top and the bottom.

I dehydrate everything, like apple chips, bananas, parsely, spearmint...are ya gettin' me. I love mine and would miss it terribly if it were gone.

Heather @ SGF said...

cooking lady - thanks for the tip! I'm trying to dry bananas today. If all goes well, I may be hitting you up for more tips :)

ttammylynn said...

I found a little article
http://www.pickyourown.org//dryingfoods.htm
I know that some books have sections on dehydrating, Ball's Blue Book of preserving and canning. I think Nourishing Traditions might have some stuff, check your cookbooks just in case. I bet you could use a thermometer in that thing if needed...just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading your blog and thought to forward this on. Just found the manual. It is 3 pages with no real instructions except the noteworthy ones here and a few recipes. "Unit must be stacked with all 5 grids facing up and must use all grids each time or unit will burnout". Large note states"All vents, top and bottom, must be open". Also, "Do not operate with top vent or bottom closed at any time and ALWAYS keep top vent at FULL OPEN position"(cap emphasis is from manual)."To clean bottom, wipe with damp cloth, PLATE IS NOT TO BE REMOVED FOR CLEANING. To clean trays or lids, use sponge and mild soap"."Do not use outdoors". "Dries most foods in 24 or 36 hours". "NOTE: Time may vary drastically in relation to size of pieces and ripeness". No meat recipes. Only fruit recipes which are to be sliced uniformly 1/4 inch thick.

Anonymous said...

I found the same dehydrator at Goodwill and I'm in the process of doing my first attempt at using it. So far we just hit the 24 hour mark with bananas, pears, grapefruit, and pineapple. Not even the bananas are done... But like you said: For the price it is worth some experimenting. I hope we both have some luck with it. Amber david_amber07@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I am grateful for the helpful information given here on the Sweda dehydrator. I just received one from my mom (who at 91 is no longer using it). No instruction booklet though. I had a dehydrator, but it has disappeared (someone must have borrowed it, but I no longer remember who!) so until mine reappears this will do quite nicely. I have rinsed the dust off it and left it to air dry. Planning on drying some peppers & pears tomorrow! If these turn out, onions & carrots are next!
Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I can't find my manual any more and was looking for one to download when I came across your "help" post. Obviously I don't remember all the instructions, but I do remember that the thicker and juicier items needed all the vents open, while the less moist ones varied as to what was open and what was closed. The manual was several pages long and included recipes for fruit, vegetables and jerky. Guess I'll look for general recipes.

Anonymous said...

I'm praying someone has a picture of the bottom of this dehydrator. My brother borrowed my machine. Thinking he was being nice he took heat element with the cord off to wash all plastic parts. I'm not sure now how the cord sits. I've been searching the web for 7hrs. without any solution. Please someone help me!

Traveler said...

Just bought the same food dehydrator at a thrift shop for $2.... any other tips on how it works?

Rhonda Main said...

I too, as many of you, received this unit used and with NO instructions. After watching a few you tube videos on dehydrating and reading the website www.dehydrate2store.com I decided to "experiment" a little too. She recommends dehydrating at 120-125 degrees. This unit is simply on or off, so I thought maybe I could lay my candy thermometer in there to check it! Bottom tray temp read 135-140 degrees. Middle tray and top tray read 125 degrees! :) I am now ready to truly experiment with real food this time! Those temps were all with ALL vents open, both top and bottom. Hope this post will help someone else as I too have spent a lot of time searching the web for user guide.

Anonymous said...

The closest manual I could find is this one. It's a Sunbeam Dehydrator and works the same as the Sweda...by that I mean it only has ON/OFF.

http://kitchen.manualsonline.com/support/telebrands-corporation/food-processor/user-manual-for-food-dehydrator-1907502

Good luck...and I found (if making beef jerky) leaving the bottom tray empty is better as the meat in that one won't dry out faster than the other trays. And also periodically rotate and shuffle the trays so they dry evenly.

Anonymous said...

I JUST PURCHASED THIS SWEDA FORM AN ONLINE YARD SALE PAGE. NOT KNOWING MUCH ABOUT DEHYDRATORS OR THE ART OF DRYING FOODS, I NOTICED THIS SWEDA DOES "NOT" HAVE A FAN! JUST A HEATING ELEMENT ON THE BOTTOM. HAVE NO IDEA EVEN WHERE TO START WITH THIS..WILL SOMETHING LIKE THIS DO JERKY? JUST FRUIT? I'M GUESSING IT'S BETTER THAN WASTING ELECTRIC BY USING MY OVEN?

Anonymous said...

Instructions for the Sweda Dehydrator

"Easy and convenient to use!
Just slice...take any fruit vegetable, even meat. With a knife or foot processor, slice food uniformly, about 1/4 inch thick.

....and dry
Place sliced foot in the food dehydrator tray. adding extra trays (included) as needed. The Sweda Food Dehydrator's convenient one step operation does all the rest. Dries most foods in 24 or 36 hours, even while you sleep.

How to Operate Your Food dehydrator (pink insert)
Unit must be stacked exactly as shown on the cover of the cookbook. If stacked incorrectly, unit will burnout (base, white tray with grid side up, trays with double rim down, grid topside)
NOTE All vents top and bottom must be open at all times.

Do not remove any trays, always keep 5 trays in use [this doesn't seem to agree with the cookbook (all of 5 recipes)]."

There are more "safeguards" that are basically the same as any other electrical appliance warnings.

And that is all, folks, not much to go on

Anonymous said...

Thank you, all, very much!

And, what an easy-to-use blog this is. No signing up, giving a pint of blood, etc... THANKS! Karen

ellie said...

I have never posted a blog before and am not sure how to get back to this should I close the link I got this dehydrated yesterday at a yard sale too! $2.00. No booklet. No fan. These posts were helpful.

Anonymous said...

I says,
Thank you for the advice because I have had one in my loft in the garage and I don't remember when I bought it. Seems like about 10 or 15 years ago. I washed it real good not submerging the element and will let it air dry for a day or two. I want to do some venison jerky from a buck I killed last year and I asked the processor to cut a few roasts for jerky as I like snacks out there in the cold. I will use all of the ideas in this helpful blog and thank you so much for the info.

Candi Davis said...

Wow, my husband found a dehydrator at goodwill and brought it home. Like most everyone here, no instruction book, just a box. I found this blog and poof! Y'all have answered all of my questions. So excited to get started tomorrow. I am definitely going to bookmark this page.
Thank you much,
Candi

Anonymous said...

I, too, bought my unit at a second hand store for $5, complete with the box And a small instruction booklet same as written about above. Yesterday I loaded it with tomatoes, peaches and apple slices. After 12 hours I would guess the slices are halfway dried. I rotated the shelves as was suggested and will see what the next 12 hours does!

homefire said...

Well, I'm another one. I was given one of these by a friend who either received it free or cheap with no instructions. Thanks to the help here, I have now loaded it with cranberries, and it is heating with all the vents open. I put them on straight from the freezer, so I'm hoping that's not a mistake. We shall see.

Jelina Roy said...

Hello,

Indeed a good post, And I believe having a Food Dehydrator at our home is very important as it helps dehydrating food,, so we need the best food dehydrators, that's why I have recently purchased one of the best food dehydrators available, because i want to make best food with food dehydrator.
By the way, Keep up the good work.