How to Adapt Your Nesco Dehydrator to Make Leathers & Liquids

A cheap hack to convert your Nesco FD-80 dehydrator to be able to do fruit leathers and other liquids

Here’s an easy hack to be able to do fruit leathers and liquids with your Nesco American Harvester FD-8 Food Dehydrator. You can do this with the circular dehydrators, as well, but it’s a bit harder. Your Nesco doesn’t come with fruit leather sheets or small object grid sheets. But they are easily made from things you can find around your local box store or craft store. To make Fruit Leather/Liquid sheets – I went to a large mega-retailer to purchase some thin, food-grade, plastic cutting sheets. The package was about $3.50 for 3 sheets. I then took a sheet, laid it on the dehydrator and marked a general shape onto the sheet. I cut away the excess and then cut a bit more to make sure I had a good fit.

How to adapt your Nesco dehydrator to do leathers & liquids

Once I had one done, I just laid it on the other sheets to cut the extras.

Now, I can just spread out product to make leathers. The one I have right now is a tomato paste leather. Dehydrated tomato paste to be stored in sheets or ground to powder. You can store this more easily than those tiny little cans.

You can also wrap your tray in plastic wrap, but plastic wrap and I are not friends. We fuss and fight and bicker, and it’s not worth the trouble.

To create screens for small items (because these trays don’t keep small items contained once dried), I used some plastic canvas sheets that I got from the craft store. Cut these down the same way and you can lay them down to be able to dehydrate blueberries, grape tomatoes and more. There are screens are available through Amazon and other places, but I’m more of a DIY’er if I can save a few bucks!


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Becky is a wildlife enthusiast and pet and livestock care expert with a diploma in canine nutrition. With over a decade of experience in animal welfare, Becky lends her expertise to Simple Family Preparedness through insightful info about pets, livestock, bee keeping, and the practicalities of homesteading.

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