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Reviews > Food Preparation Gear > Open Country 700W Food Dehydrator > Owner Review by joe schaffer

Open Country 700W Food Dehydrator
Owner Review
by Joe Schaffer

January 25, 2017

TESTER INFORMATION:
NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
AGE: 69
GENDER: Male
HEIGHT: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.4 kg)
HOME:  Hayward, California USA

   I frequent California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year; often solo. Summer trips typically last 5 to 10 days; about 5 mi (8 km) per hiking day toting 40 lb (18 kg). About half the load is food related, and getting what I like to eat at a practical weight ranks big. I winter camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); 1 to 4 mi (1.6 to 6.4 km) on snowshoes, needing food that will tolerate freezing.

The Product:
        Manufacturer: Open Country, Inc.
        Web site: http://www.opencountrycampware.comdryer top
        Product: 700 W Food Dehydrator and
        Purchased: 12/2013
        MSRP: closest currently available is 600W US $79.99

My measures:
    storage box height: 13 1/2 in (34.3 cm)
    storage box depth: 11 in (28 cm)
    storage box width: 13 5/8 in (34.6 cm)
    unit width (diameter): 13 1/4 in (33.7 cm)
    unit height w/1 tray: 4 1/2 in (11.4 cm)
    individual tray height: 1 3/16 in (3 cm)
    
Comes with:
    top
    5 trays (additional trays sold separately)
    bottom
    fruit roll sheet
    Clean-A-Screen

Manufacturer specs:
    power: 700 W
         
KEY FEATURES:
    can stack to 14 trays  
    adjustable thermostat
    patented Converge-A-Flow 

DESCRIPTION:
    This plastic dehydrator uses three basic pieces: Motor/fan/top; center trays; and bottom. The unit stacks very precisely for a tidy package on the countertop, and quickly breaks down to fit in the shipping carton/storage box. The motor/fan/top incorporates a generously sized flip-up handle. The top shows a menu of printed options for drying food, with a twist-knob rheostat that adjusts heat from 95F (35C) to 160F (71C). There is no on-off switch--it's on when plugged in and off when not plugged in. The fan draws air in at the top, circulates it across the trays and down and out the bottom. The unit comes with a plastic pan for containing really wet stuff like bean soup; and a finer-mesh screen than the tray "web".

food beforefood dryFIELD CONDITIONS:
    Kitchen is my home's wilderness area: I only go there for backpacking. I've used the dryer on many types of vegetables, fruits and meats.  I've used the sheet to hold cut tomatoes and bean stew; and the screen for smaller stuff like rice and blueberries. The picture shows before and after 11 1/2 hours drying three trays of cooked spaghetti squash. The food was probably thoroughly desiccated in much less time than that, but I slept in. Although this batch was all one kind of food, most of the time I fill the trays with whatever happens to be available. I don't sort clothes for the washer and I don't sort food for the dryer.

IMPRESSIONS:
    This is my second dryer so I've not much to compare it with. I like the fan on top as though heat rises, drips fall and I like them falling on a smooth surface that can be easily doused for cleaning. The top stays clean. The trays can be difficult to clean. Most of the unit feels smooth and round, but the bottom side of the tray "web" is flat with sharp edges that like to clutch food that sinks through. The "web" spines are thin and I am reluctant to apply much scrubbing force. I have not put the trays in the dishwasher as the box makes no mention of it and I'm afraid they'd melt. There may be reference to that in the directions.

    I'm very satisfied with the dryer. I wonder if all the plastic in the heat of drying can outgas or mingle nasty chemicals. I drive to the trailhead and that's pretty dangerous; and lugging extra pounds is no good for my health either. So most of the time I don't think about it. I don't find any kind of chemical taste in the food. I've even dried stuff like onions and apple at the same time and I don't notice cross-flavor. The unit claims that the patented Converge-A-Flow system prevents cross-flavor.

    I find the result of drying substantially reduces weight and bulk while increasing shelf life. I like my own stuff better than freeze-dried. Some is outrageously good, like banana (perhaps the worst culprit in the hard-to-clean category) and pineapple; and some not, like avocado. High-fat meats don't dry well. Some things probably would reconstitute better with a few minutes of boiling, but I stick to stuff that gets good enough soaking in hot water for maybe ten minutes or so. None of these comments relate specifically to the product at hand, but seem appropriate to the process of helping decide whether to buy any dehydrator.

Quick shots:
    a) compact
    b) easy to use
    c) not expensive
    d) flimsy trays





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Reviews > Food Preparation Gear > Open Country 700W Food Dehydrator > Owner Review by joe schaffer



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