The Nesco Snackmaster Pro is part of the Nesco/American Harvest line of food dehydrators, and its all-around excellent performance makes it possible to dry fruits, vegetables and jerky in hours instead of days. Unlike most food dehydrators, the Snackmaster Pro circulates warm air evenly around the food to expedite the drying process.
For our tests, we used banana slices that ranged between 1/8 and 1/4 inches thick, dehydrated at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for six hours. They dried evenly and well, and we got good texture and taste.
The Snackmaster Pro features an adjustable thermostat that lets you dry foods at different temperatures between 95 degrees and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The dehydrator comes with five trays that are 13 1/2 inches in diameter. You can expand the unit to 12 trays if you're willing to buy those additional trays. Expanding the dehydrator's capacity and adding trays makes space for drying larger quantities of food at one time, which is great if your garden flourished more than expected or things went well during hunting season. If you need a unit that makes even larger quantities, consider Cabela's Commercial Food Dehydrator.
The top-mounted fan and 600 watts of power assist in the drying process and keep liquids from dripping into the heat chamber. Flavors won’t mix because of this, which lets you dry different kinds of foods at the same time with no fear that anything will emerge with an off taste. There also is no need to move or rotate trays. You can easily clean the trays with warm, soapy water or on the top rack of the dishwasher.
Since food drying is a great way to preserve fruit, vegetables, herbs and animal proteins, the opaque exterior of this device helps block light. This helps the food you are dehydrating retain more nutrients during the drying process. With this model, you get a 52-page recipe book that also includes clearly written instructions. When you buy this machine, you also get two flexible screens for dehydrating sticky food thoroughly as well as two fruit roll sheets which help dry semi-liquids.
The Nesco Snackmaster Pro also comes with one packet of Original Jerky Spice to get you started if you haven't tried making jerky before, and you also have the option to purchase jerky kits or seasoning packets for beef or venison jerky. If you can't decide among the different flavors that Nesco offers, there is a "variety pack" you can try. Nesco also sells two food dehydrating cookbooks.
The Snackmaster Pro can help you save time as well as save money on your grocery bill. Like all name-brand dehydrators, the Snackmaster Pro's user manual notes that you might need to vary the length of time to dry food, depending on the amount and type of food being dried and many factors regarding how it was grown.