I dunno about using the oven, but someone on here (Dids/Mole?) recently linked to a dehydrator that was only about £20.
I can't find the thread in the search btw.
Include a little history in your walks. Pecsaetan - Ancient Derbyshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire - http://pecsaetan.weebly.com/
Ah, here we are.
Courtesy of Google.
(Why is the search facility here so crap?)
Thanks - that's not so bad then, but it doesn't have a fan which my brief internet research suggests is important or at least recommended. The cheapest I'd found with a fan was about £45 and it wasn't getting very good reviews.
If the fan oven would work then it'd be a bonus as it has all the features of an expensive dehydrator: - A fan (!) - A thermostat - A timer - A large capacity
Maybe I should just give it a go. I'm not overly bothered about wasting one portion of food on a trial run if it doesn't work, I'm more concerned about potentially making myself ill if it fails to completely dehydrate and/or takes so long that bacteria builds up.
Hmm, those are some intersting points. It's a reasonably good oven so has upper and lower elements so I was hoping that plus the fan would keep temperatures even, but yes if the temperature fluctuates significantly that would just mean it does so evenly! You're right about water vapour, I found when drying chillis that it worked a lot better if I cracked the door for a few seconds now and again.
Nobody thought of just leaving the door open a little?After both myself and Cathy mentioned that, everybody else probably thought that it had been mentioned enough...
and I should learn to type faster...
The other factor you might want to consider is the cost of running an oven for (probably) several hours compared to the small electric motor and heating element in a dehydrator.
An oven is a pretty big space to heat and if you're only occupying, say, 5% of the volume with food, that's a lot of wasted heat, especially with the door open. A dehydrator has very little unused space by comparison.
A couple of years ago, I did work out the cost of running my dehydrator and it was literally pennies. I would be very surprised if an oven was anything like as cheap.
Ok, so I actually got around to trying this. I was making a big load of bolognese so decided to test it with a small sample.
Before (ignore the slightly neon orange colour, the camera got the white balance wrong!):
To get to that result I ran my fan oven for 4 hours with the temperature set to 60C and the door wedged open slightly using an oven glove. About halfway through I moved everything around and dabbed off some drops of fat I could see. By the end of the four hour process it was dry to the point of being crumbly so I sealed it in a freezer bag and left it overnight.
By the morning it had softened a bit so I'm thinking that could either be because of fat still seeping out or just what happens as it cools down. I rehydrated it today and, while it's not going to win any Michelin stars, it was ok and I haven't suffered any ill effects!
A few notes:
Finally, I was a bit concerned this would be ridiculously expensive in terms of electricity usage so I read the meter before and afterwards. Result: 2 kWh was used or (as I'm on an economy 7 tariff) about 50p, but if I was to run it overnight using the oven timer then that changes to 9p. I would have no safety concerns doing so as the temperature in the oven never got anywhere near levels which could cause a problem, I was lifting the metal rack in and out with my bare hands with no issue.
Overall, a better result than I expected I think.
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