The Cabela’s 80-Liter Commercial Food Dehydrator is a great addition to your kitchen if you want the health benefits of drying your fruits, vegetables and meats. Not only is the dehydrator good for preserving nutrients and vitamins in foods, but it lets you dry large amounts of food in a reasonable amount of time. The Cabela’s 80-Liter dehydrator is much more expensive than other models we tested. However, if you do a considerable amount of food preservation, this would be a good investment since it operates so well and can handle such big quantities of food at one time.
We tested this food dehydrator using 1/8- to 1/4-inch slices of banana to make dried banana chips. We followed the instructions in the user manual, found the digital display was a snap to use, and set the time and temperature. The results were great: nicely dried banana chips with a good texture and taste.
This model has 12 drying racks so you have the space you need to dry large quantities of food. If you need something more compact for your countertop, check out the Presto Dehydro. The steel racks of the Cabela’s Commercial Food Dehydrator have a black non-stick coating that is non-toxic and food safe, so you don't have to worry about your food getting contaminated.
This 80-liter model has a forceful 4,000-watt heater and features its Penta 360-Degree Air Flo process that is designed with five air tubes to ensure even air circulation throughout the interior of the machine. The trademarked SmartHeat function monitors the intake of air and the temperature inside the dehydrator and adjusts the fan speed.
The temperatures you use can range anywhere between 80 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and the fully insulated housing for this unit helps maintain the correct drying temperature. You can set this device to run for up to 23 hours and 55 minutes without having to check on it or make any adjustments, which gives you the freedom to do other tasks while your food is being dehydrated.
Besides setting the time and temperature you want for dehydration purposes, you also can set the actual time and temperature. This machine can begin a preheat mode to warm the device before it begins drying the food. The dehydrator has a built-in drain reservoir that catches any drippings, which will reduce the amount of cleaning you'll need to do. One drawback is that with dimensions of 20.13 inches in length, 23.25 in width and 25 in height, and weighing 75 pounds, this dehydrator might be too big for many homes.
Unlike most dehydrators that operate with knobs, this unit utilizes brightly lit and easy-to-read digital controls that look complicated at first, but are a breeze to use. You set the time and the temperature just by pressing buttons, then push the on button to get the machine working. You can also see inside quite well since there are two big LED lights that illuminate the interior when you want to check on your food – and you can do that without opening the door and letting heat escape. Besides conventional dehydration, you can also use this versatile machine to do such things as dry flowers and make croutons from stale bread and dry herbs.