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Forum Index -> Food & Grub -> dehydrator tray alternatives
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sticky buns
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Post Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:51 am   
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I got an American Harvest dehydrator this summer and have been having fun using it (and eating from it!). It came with two plastic trays, but I've also tried parchment paper. Food seems to dehydrate faster and more evenly with the parchment paper, but I don't like the waste.

Does anyone know of a good alternative -- something re-usable (if not permanently, at least for longer than parchment) but with more porosity than plastic?
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JennieEl
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Post Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:06 pm   
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Depending on the food, you could put the plastic mesh over the liner tray.  I've done that with a few things that are wet but not too mushy and it seems to help.  However, I've never had a problem with food drying unevenly unless I spread it unevenly.  (And I don't care much about the speed.  I just let the thing go until the food is dry.)
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sarbar
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Joined: 28 Jan 2002
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Post Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:42 pm   
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The mesh liners you can find on Amazon to fit that dehydrator and they do work well for small items (like pasta, rice, veggies).

I will say though that parchment paper can be re-used a couple times if you are not drying liquids. I use it till it gets crunchy  wink.gif

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Grannyhiker
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Post Sun Oct 16, 2011 12:54 pm   
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I also re-use the parchment paper.  You can do several batches before the paper gets to the point of crumbling.

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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey
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gentian
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Post Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:57 pm   
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How about cheese cloth stretched on embroidery hoops?

60 mesh nylon or polyester stretched on embroidery hoops.

Make some wood frames out of pine edging material and stretch the course fabric on them.

Or just use the fabric cut to the size of existing frames. Fabric should be available at joannes or hardware stores ask for screen door replacement fabric.
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ONELUV1
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Post Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:29 pm   
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I thought about this as I just finished making my own 10 tray dehydrator.

I'm not 100% sure on the fabric synthetics, but the food would stick to the cheese cloth as it dehydrates.  It would settle into the voids in the fabric and then adhere to the sides.  I didn't give those synthetic fibers a thought as I was trying to keep any chance of cantamination minimal.

Now if you used the CC and covered it w/ parchement that probably work well, but not breathe as efficient.  If you had the airflow going across it like an Excalibur instead of from underneath, then I'd think that'd work well.

Alot of people have used screen door materials.  One, they can leach chemicals intot he food.  Also, depending on the materials it could leach foul flavors into it.  Galvanized products and tin are the worst for these and are popular screening materials.  Even pure metals can leach undiserable flavors.  YMMV
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Dalekz
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Post Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:09 pm   
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You can always go to a place like McMaster-Carr and get a roll of polypropylene mesh (FDA compliant). Then you can cut whatever size you want.
http://www.mcmaster.com/#mesh/=exmn7w
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