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Nesco American Harvest FD-61 Encore/Express Food Dehydrator Review

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Nesco American Harvest FD-61 Encore/Express Food Dehydrator Nesco FD-61 Package Nesco FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express WIth Jerky Gun
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This dehydrator works just the way it should - quietly and efficiently. The jerky came out perfect and took slightly less time than was expected (about 6 hours). Given the relatively low cost and ease of use, this product is worth it.

Do you want to make a switch to healthy eating by starting a raw diet? Or maybe you want to enjoy the time in a work or school by tasting Beef Jerky snack during brakes? Whatever the reason, food dehydrator is certainly a useful device in most households. It can reduce the cost of preparing and storing foods, plus you get substantial health benefits by eating the food without hard to spell ingredients in it.

The Nesco American Harvest FD-61 Encore Food Dehydrator is yet another product in the family of Nesco food dehydrators. This model helped many people change their dietary habits, and probably it can transform your eating habits as well. But before you decide to buy it or not, consider reading the following report.

Let’s get started!


The Nesco American Harvest FD-61 is great for dehydrating fruit rollups, banana chips, vegetables, herbs, Beef Jerky, venison jerky, fish jerky and even snacks for the dogs!

Measuring 13,5 by 13,8 by 9,8 inches, this dehydrator comes originally with 4 trays, but is expandable to 12 trays. The 4-trays unit can hold about 3 lb of raw jerky, which is converted to about 1,75 lb after 4-5 hours of drying – yes, that explains why Beef Jerky is more expensive than raw food.

The Nesco FD-61 Encore Dehydrator has similar features to its brothers.

The FD-61 dehydrator runs at 500 watts of power. The head unit is equipped with 2100 RPM fan. The top mounted fan eliminates liquids dripping into the heating chamber. The one drawback of this solution is that you need to unplug the dehydrator and take off the head unit before you gain access to trays below.

Heating process utilizes Converga-Flow drying system that pushes hot air down through the pressurized chamber and then horizontally across each individual tray, facilitating the even dehydration of food on every tray. No flavor mixing is an additional benefit of this solution. Flavors don't mix as long as you don't combine the onion with another food… ;)

Nesco Converga Flow Drying System

The unit is equipped with adjustable thermostat, which allows you to dry foods at proper temperatures and produce best drying results. You can set temperature in the range of 95 – 155 degrees Fahrenheit (35°C – 68°C).

The Nesco FD-61 Pro Food Dehydrator has Vita-Save exterior that helps block the light, which destroys nutritional content of food being dehydrated.

The lack of timer and no on/off switch were the things customers didn’t like. As they noted, these issues are not that big – you can just unplug the appliance to check out the drying food.

Last but not least, the plastic that touch the food does not contain BPA, and thus is safe for human.

Dehydration Process

As manufacturer assures, the drying pressure is automatically adjusted to the number of trays being used. Keep in mind, however, that you shouldn’t load trays too heavily as the drying time will be longer than noted in the recipe sheet.

Moreover, some customers suggest to rotate lower trays from time to time. This is especially the case when you stacked up more than 4 or 5 trays.

Ease of Use & Cleaning

This machine is so easy to use i am having tons of fun. If you are buying your first dehydrator this is the one to get.

The Nesco FD-61 is easy to use. Most customers reported that the unit is also quiet or very quiet during the operation.

There were some minor complaints about the cleaning process – it takes some time to do hand washing because you need to remove leftovers from trays. Generally, it is good idea to use dishwasher or steamer.

Warranty & Quality Control

The Nesco food dehydrator is backed up by 1 year warranty. After this period, you will be charged about $30 for repair if your unit suddenly stops working.

Although Nesco’s customer service is average, we should not discard the FD-61 food dehydrator. The low percentage of defective models and successful design make it worth buying after all.


There are several versions of Nesco FD-61 you can buy. The clean set (FD-61 without additional letters) contains the power unit with 4 trays included. Adding a few dollars more you can buy a set named FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express, which contains 5 trays and a jerky gun.

Additionally, all packages usually include 2 fruit roll sheets and 2 clean-a-screens. Fruit roll sheet covers the trays preventing a food from falling below. You can also use these sheets on the bottom tray to catch leftovers (like grease from a beef). Clean-a-screens are helpful for drying herbs or sticky fruit and a recipe guide

If you need larger capacity, you can buy additional trays in the set of 2 (LT-2SG Add-A-Tray).

Special Features & Benefits

  • stack up to 12 trays (4 or 5 trays comes originally plus additional trays you buy optionally);
  • relatively quiet;
  • the all-in-one set includes more trays and jerky gun;
  • for the most part the dehydrator is made in USA;

Best for…

The Nesco FD-61 food dehydrator is a good fit for smaller, medium and larger households. You could buy additional trays if you ever find that you need more capacity. However, we don’t recommend this dehydrator for mass drying on a commercial scale.

I would recommend this for the beginner or even intermediate hobbyist.

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