November 5, 2022

Silicone Dehydrator Tray Liners

One of my learning projects this year has been learning how to make fruit and vegetable powders (like dried pear sauce and powdered tomatoes). The problem is that dehydrator trays are mesh. That works great for solid slices and pieces, but not so well for sauces and purees. I've tried both waxed and parchment paper, but they tend to stick to the food and need careful peeling off. This is a tedious extra step, so I finally decided to invest in some silicone tray liners for my dehydrator. The Excalibur brand is pretty expensive, but I bought some from Amazon for about $18 for a four-pack. 

They fit my Excalibur trays perfectly. I tested them out with more mashed potatoes for homemade instant mashed potatoes.

I really like that these have a rim on them. It made it easy to spread the pureed potatoes evenly.

When I checked on it after several hours, the top was dry but the underside was still wet. So I flipped the sheets of potatoes and dried them for several hours more.

The sheet of potatoes shrank, as dehydrated foods do, and the edges curled. But they didn't stick to the silicone tray liner! 

I broke them into chunks, powdered them in my blender, and transferred them to a storage jar.

I think this was a useful purchase for me because, unlike waxed or parchment paper, these are reusable, plus save frustration. I've slowly learned that not all purchases actually end up being useful, no matter how appealing the item was at the time. Learning to not succumb to impulse purchases has really helped in that department! A thoughtful purchase, on the other hand, is well worth it, even if the item is used only rarely. I don't mind putting time into any project, but being efficient with that time is important too.


Judy said...

Cool!  Trays with sides! When I bought mine, all you could get were silicon sheets. I kind of made trays out of mine by folding up the sides and stapling the corners. It doesn't work all that well, but it's better than the sheets with stuff dripping off and drying to the bottom of the dehydrator.

Hundehaare said...

Quite cool post;



Leigh said...

Judy, I had no idea they made this type either, until I started looking around for a an economical alternative to Excalibur brand. I really like them!

Lilli, thanks!

Ed said...

Having never used waxed or parchment paper, I will be curious as to how you think they work with a sugary puree. When I did the apple powder, I still had to peel them off and it took some effort even with the silicone trays. But once I got them peeled off, I put the chunks on the mesh trays to get them dry on all sides and it worked well. Next time I might try spraying some PAM or something on them to see if that helps.

If I ever get another food dehydrator, I'm going to get one like yours. Mine is one of those round ones with the donut holes in the center of the trays. While it works well and the silicone trays have lips, one still has to be fairly careful in poring in the puree and spreading it into a donut shape so not to make a mess. It would also be more efficient making jerky strips too.

Mama Pea said...

I'm still using my old Bee Beyer's Food Dryer (and loving it) so I'll now go check out the trays you have to see if they would fit on my mesh (stainless steel) trays. I've used parchment paper with success, but as you say, it can get tedious and time consuming carefully peeling off the dehydrated product. Thanks for this information you've shared!

Mama Pea said...

I just measured my trays and these you got from Amazon would fit with no problem. They will be great for my fruit leather (which is always a struggle) and many other things. Thank you, thank you!

Sandi said...

What a great idea!

Leigh said...

Ed, I'll have to let you know. So far, I've only tried it for low sugar items, so I've made a mental note about the sugary purees and will test them out next time I have a fruit puree to dry.

If you ever get another food dehydrator, I recommend a Cosori! Mine (an Excalibur) is all plastic, but the Cosori is stainless steel, including the trays. I've loved my Excalibur, but I've had it over a decade and the plastic trays and sheets have begun to crack. When I finally have to replace it, I'll get a Cosori. The trays are slightly smaller, but it comes with 6 trays instead of 4 (like the Excalibur). It has options for mesh and fruit leather screens too. Price-wise, it's comparable or better.

Mama Pea, I've never heard of a Bee Beyer's Food Dryer. And it has stainless steel trays? So much the better! I'll have to look into that brand too.

The other thing about parchment or waxed paper is that you have to keep buying it. In the future, who knows? But the real selling point is that the silicon peels off easily. I'm glad you found some to fit your dryer!

Sandi, good tools and accessories are well worth it!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, the reusable nature of these is most attractive - in that sense, it does not seem like as much of an "expense".

My dehydrator is house brand from Cabela's. Delightfully (I just checked their website) they no longer offer this model. That said, it appears the model you have purchased would fit. Definitely worth looking into. Thank you!

Quinn said...

I wish I could reduce my dependency on a freezer, but the useful-looking dehydrators are beyond my means at this point. I suppose if/when my chest freezer decides to retire it will be a good time to think about making a switch to a dehydrator.

Leigh said...

TB, it must be a fairly universal size! Definitely a good addition to the dehydrator's accessories.

Quinn, I wish I could get away from using the freezer so much too. But for some things, it seems like the easiest choice. I think canning is a good alternative, and dehydrating for some things. Blueberries, for example. They really taste best if frozen. Canned are okay too, but I didn't care for home dehydrated. Then too, I somehow doubt Dan would go for re-hydrated chicken or chevon roast.

wyomingheart said...

Great post, Leigh. The dehydrator is on the list for future purchases, and totally agree with you on the thoughtful purchases… So much thought goes into each step of self reliance, and I wouldn’t want it any other way! I still haven’t resolved my issue on our blog, but wanted to thank you for stopping by, and yes, we have projects lined out for the old barn! Thanks again, Leigh!

DFW said...

Going to check these out tomorrow! Thanks for the info.

Leigh said...

Wyomingheart, it's funny how expensive becoming self-reliant is! If and when you are ready for a dehydrator, do check out the Cosori I mentioned above to Ed. Can't beat stainless steel or the price.

I'm so sorry you've been having blogger issues. Those are sometimes hard to figure out and especially hard to get help resolving. But it isn't impossible! (Assuming you have the time to pursue it :)

Deb, you're welcome!

R's Rue said...

So cool.

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

I've had those on my wish list for a while now. Glad you posted with a review on them. I have a 9 tray dehydrator, so I will be measuring to see if they will fit.

Leigh said...

R, I agree!

Kristina, if it's an Excalibur, they should fit. Otherwise, perhaps they come in different sizes.