Review of the Nesco GardenMaster Dehydrator

January 17, 2011


I have wanted a dehydrator FOREVER. We all like to eat dried fruits, but the prices at the grocery store are excruciating. For years, I kept promising myself (and the kids) that we’d get a dehydrator… someday.

Well, I recently got a bonus at work, and shelled out the big bucks for the Nesco GardenMaster Dehydrator. I got it online for a little over $100. I hope the fruit tastes good, at least good enough to make the big expense worthwhile…

Nesco Dehydrator

The dehydrator is huge– I didn’t expect it to be so large– and comes with a nice recipe book and a package of spices for making jerky. I haven’t scrutinized the recipe book; it’s pretty basic, though. I was eager to try dehydrating some fruit (before it rotted away!) so I skipped the recipes to simply try out the dehydration machine.


The machine comes with 4 trays and 2 plastic tray liners. The trays are made of plastic, resembling netting. After a lot of use, I could see these becoming brittle and cracking. Nice thing is that replacement trays are available. You can also stack additional trays if you have large loads to process.


I decided to dehydrate my rapidly ripening papaya, and a few very over-ripe Anjou pears. The instructions say to avoid under-ripe and over-ripe fruits, but what do they know. (haha)


The dehydrator has a temperature control (95 to 155 degrees F) and on/off switch. It has no timer or automatic shut off (a real bummer). Since most loads take anywhere from 8-12 hours, you have to get your own timer and make sure you are home (or awake) to turn off the dehydrator. To do four trays of pretty juicy fruits, I set the control for 145 degrees, and ran it for 10 hours.

The dehydrator fan is NOISY. You know how noisy an uninsulated dishwasher can be? It’s about that loud. If yo can, run it at night, or expect to holler through your kitchen duties. It’s noisy.
The fruit turned out pretty good! I think I sliced the papaya a little too thin, but it’s still good. They are crunchy and feel like paper. But stil very edible and they are terrific with mixed nuts and raisins. The pears are magnificent. They are chewy and so sweet, with a slight taste of wine about them.


The Nesco Gardenmaster can dry fruits, vegetables, herbs, jerky, granola, etc. I am looking forward to trying the jerky, and experimenting with fruits like bananas and mangoes. For $107, it is pretty pricey. If you don’t use a dehydrator often, a smaller unit would do just as well.
So far, so good. I like this appliance and it works well for me. If anything develops, good or bad, I’ll be back to report. Thanks for reading!

Note: I was not given this product nor compensated in any way for this review. All the opinions are mine and the facts are true to the best of my knowledge.

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3 Responses to “Review of the Nesco GardenMaster Dehydrator”

  1. Renee Says:

    That’s pretty cool! I’d be interested in reading more of your adventures with the dehydrator! (especially the jerky) We have a cheap one, but don’t use it often. I would like to try raw crackers in the dehydrator some time!

  2. Marg Says:

    That is really interesting. I don’t know how much I would use it but I do get frustrated when fruit goes bad and it is a long drive for me to the grocery. I will be interested in how much you use it. Glad it was tasty.

  3. Carole Says:

    We have a very similar dehydrator and I also would love to see what else you make with it – all we’ve ever made is jerky (which has come out great!). And yeah, boy is it loud! And since we use it to make jerky, it makes the whole house smell like meat. It’s kinda weird. I feel bad for the pets – must be torture, LOL. Also, I don’t know if your sink is big enough to wash your trays in – ours really is too small to easily wash them, but we discovered washing them in the bathtub works great. Enjoy your dehydrator and be sure to keep us posted!