dehydrate-herbs-spices

Best Food Dehydrator Reviews

Dehydrator are a simple and easy way to dry herbs, preserve foods and create healthy snacks. With so many different electric dehydrators on the market it can be hard to figure out which is the best dehydrator for you.  Do you need stackable trays?, should you have vertical or horizontal air flow?, how many watts is optimal?, the decisions can be overwhelming.  So to help make the decision simple for you we have put together a review of the following 5 best food dehydrators on the market today.

 

Benefits of Dehydrators

We all know that it is better to eat healthy, non processed foods, but we all fall into the trap of grabbing a chocolate bar or bag of chips just because its readily available. If only our cupboards and lunch bags were filled with tasty yet, nutritious, good for us snacks.  Food dehydrators, food drying and preservation have made healthy homemade healthy snacks a much easier option without having to spend lots of time cooking or deciphering complicated recipes. We found some really great dehydrator recipes on homesteading.com that you should check out.

Dehydrators can help us process and preserve all sorts of herbs, fruits, vegetables and meat, keeping them available all year round.

 

BEST DEHYDRATOR COMPARISON TABLE

Model Model Airflow Adjustable Temp Trays Watts Price
Excalibur 3900B Horizontal Yes 105 - 165 ° 9 600 $$$
Magic Mill Pro Horizontal Yes 95 - 158 °F 6 400 $$
Nesco FD 1018A Vertical Yes 95 - 160 °F 8 - 30 1000 $$
Nesco FD 75A Vertical Yes 95 - 160 °F 5 - 12 700 $
Gourmia GFD1750 Horizontal Yes 104 - 158 °F 10 550 $$$

 

 

WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING A FOOD DEHYDRATOR

 A food dehydrator is usually built with several individual trays where the food is placed for drying. There are different types of dehydrators each of them offering different options such as: timers, adjustable thermostats, see through covers, fans and so on. While most dehydrators are easy to use, some are more technical and would require an expert to operate them, as in the case of industrial dryers. Here we focus on the dehydrators for home use. 

Here is a breakdown of the different features available on home dehydrators that you should consider.

 

1)VERTICAL vs HORIZONTAL AIR FLOW:

VERTICAL FLOW DEHYDRATORS have the heat source and fan mounted either on the top or the bottom of the machine and is commonly found in the models with stackable trays. Machines with the bottom mounted heat base can provide uneven heat flow and make it harder to dry tougher foods such as jerky meat. But his can be solved by rotating the trays throughout the drying process. Since some food can be messy we prefer the top mounted dehydrators as they do not have the risk of getting drips in the fan which could cause problems. 

HORIZONTAL FLOW DEHYDRATORS have the fan and heat source located on the side or back of the machine.  In most cases the horizontal flow of of the air provides more even drying than the vertical flow dehydrators. But the horizontal airflow tends to take longer to dry out the food compared to the vertical flow machines and tend to be more expensive than their vertical flow counterparts.

TEMPERATURE RANGE. Some of the lower priced food dehydrators do not have an adjustable temperature control.  Sometimes his can cause the problem of case hardening (when the outside seals leaving moisture inside), when foods are being dried at too high of a temperature to quickly.   Having the ability to adjust the temperature to suit the product being preserved is preferred.  Approximate temperature settings for food types are:

Herbs and Spices - 95°F
Nuts and Seeds - 105°F
Fruits and Vegetables - 135°F
Meats, Fish and Jerky - 160°F

You should always refer to the manufacturers instructions for the temperature setting for you particular machine. 

 

2) TRAYS vs SHELVES:

STACKABLE TRAYS have the benefit of allowing you to add more trays than what comes with the machine (refer to the manufactures instructions on the maximum recommended for you model). For example the Nesco FD 1018A come with 8 trays but this can be expanded to up to 30 giving you a total of 30 sq. ft. of drying space. The downside of the stackable trays is that you can't just slide out a tray if you want to check the progress of the drying.  Also the height of you food is limited to the depth of the tray height (approximately 1 1/2 inches), so if you plan on dehydrating any bulky items the shelf model would be a better choice.

SHELF DEHYDRATORS have the benefit of allowing you to just pull out a shelf if you want to check the progress of the dehydrating. Additionally you can remove shelve if you need additional height to dehydrate bulk foods or crafts.  The down side is that due to the box shape of the machines you are limited to number of shelve you can have.

 

3) EXTRA FEATURES:

TIMERS: Some dehydrator such as the Excalibur 3926TB are equipped with an automatic timer.  Although this is not necessary it can be a handy feature so that you don't over dry your foods buy forgetting to turn off your machine. You can set it and forget it!.

CLEAR TRAYS AND COVERS: Some manufactures offer clear trays or doors on their dehydrator. This can make it more convenient to check in on drying progress without needing to unstack or open the door on your machine. Not a necessary feature but a nice one to have. 

MESH SHEETS INSERTS: Mesh sheets are used when dehydrating small, fine produce like herbs and spice. These sheet prevent small pieces falling through the trays or getting stuck in the holes on the regular trays.

FRUIT ROLL SHEETS: These are solid inserts that are used when dehydrating anything that starts out runny, such as fruit leather. These also can be used in place of the Mesh inserts.

 

 

BEST FOOD DEHYDRATOR- DETAILED REVIEWS

 

Excalibur 3900B

The Excalibur 3900B is a 9-tray dehydrator with 15 square feet drying space that allows for the easy drying of fruits and vegetables without needing manual rotation. It is constructed to dry food to the barest minimum moisture level while keeping the food safe and hygienic with its easy to clean poly screen tray inserts.

It includes an adjustable thermostat temperature control (105-165⁰F),  making it perfect for drying beef jerky, fruits, vegetables or  to re-crisp bread and biscuits etc. This dehydrator uses a horizontal airflow system (which is parallel and exclusive to Excalibur) with a back unit where the fan, heating element, and thermostat are attached in such a way that allows cool air to be drawn in, heated and evenly distributed over each tray.

This allows the food to dehydrate faster with more concentrated nutrients which is said to give a better taste and flavor. Unlike any other dehydrator, the Excalibur 3900B states that it dries "safer, better, and faster" because of its patented "hyper wave fluctuation technology" which makes the temperature fluctuate up and down to prevent even drying  or for moisture to tray inside the dehydrator.

The fluctuation technology process helps to keep enzymes within the food active, dry the food and prevents the growth of yeast, mold or spoilage of dried food. It has a 4.7-star rating among customers who have tested and used the product.

 

Features and specifications

  • Dimension: 12.5’’ (H) x 17’’ (W) x 19’’ (D)
  • Voltage: 110V
  • Watts: 600watts
  • Hyper wave fluctuation technology
  • Airflow: Horizontal (Parallax)
  • Tray: 9
  • Timer: No
  • Built-in on/off switch

  • Adjustable thermostat (105-165⁰F)
  • Poly screen tray inserts
  • 15 square feet space
  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 22pounds
  • Rating: 4.7
  • Warranty: 10 years

 

 

Pros
  • Dehydrates faster and better
  • Yields safe and ready to eat food
  • Easy to clean and operate
  • Large size for bulky food items
  • Dries a large batch of food at a time
  • Suitable for large families
  • Even distribution of heat over food
  • No need for manual tray rotation

Cons
  • More costly than other models
  • Noisier than other models
  • No timer
  • Need to lift the lid/trays to monitor progress

Verdict

The Excalibur 3900B is no doubt one of the best food dehydrators for herbs, fruits and vegetable you can own in the house. It makes it easy for you to make your own preserved food at the temperature that suits you best and store them for as long as you want to. With the Excalibur 3900B dehydrator, you can have healthy dehydrated snacks in no time.

 

Nesco Fd75a

Looking for a simple home dehydrator, then the  Nesco FD75a is recommended for you. This dehydrator features a top mounted fan with a drying capacity of 700watts. It has a built-in adjustable thermostat at a temperature of 95-160⁰F.

With the vertical flow, this dehydrator does not require manual tray rotation and it operates with a  patented "Converga flow" system that allows  quick drying of food. This model comes with 5 food drying trays but  has the capacity of taking up to 12 trays if you buy extra.

The dehydrator vertical,  centrifugal air flow is directed inwards through every tray thus allowing you to dry different food items without the flavors mixing.  It also features a Vita-Save opaque exterior that protects the dried food from harmful lights. It is very easy to wash with other dishes in the dishwasher.

Unlike the Nesco FD 75pr that is shipped in retail packaging, the 75a model is shipped in "certified frustration-free packaging". The product also contains 2 solid "fruit roll up" sheets, 2 mesh sheets, and 3 jerky spice packets with a recipe book to help you try out different healthy recipes.

Features and Specifications

  • Dimension: 13’’ x 13’’ x 10’’
  • Weight: 7.5lb
  • Drying area: 4.5 square feet (for 5 drying trays) 10 square feet (for more)
  • Top mounted fan
  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Vita-Save opaque exterior
  • 5 trays (fits more, up to 12)

  • 2-Solid sheets
  • 2 mesh sheets
  • 3 jerky spice packets
  • Temperature: 95- 160⁰F
  • Watts: 700
  • Airflow: Centrifugal (with the Converga flow system)
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Warranty: 1year

Pros
  • High drying capacity (hours not days)
  • Centrifugal airflow that allows inward flow of air through food items
  • Fits well on countertops or below raised cabinets
  • Can take up to 12 drying trays, which allows it to dry more at a time
  • Flavors do not mix
  • Does not require manual rotation
  • Easy to wash in a dishwasher

Cons
  • No timer
  • Low power effectiveness i.e. you spend the same power drying less quantity of food as with drying more.
  • Less base capacity
  • No on/off switch
  • Need to lift the lid/trays to monitor progress

Verdict

The Nesco FD 75a dehydrator is light and easily portable. It is an affordable price meaning that anyone can easy preserve herbs and food fresh from the garden. With the Nesco FD 75a dehydrator, you can be sure to have a dried food with a 100% nutrient retention, and low moisture content. It is rated 4.5 among customers who are all very happy with this dehydrator.

 

NescoFD-1018a

The NescoFd -1018a is a plastic, white colored dehydrator which comes with  8-drying trays but can take as many as 30 tray in one go. Unlike some plastic equipment, the Nescofd-1018a is free from carcinogens and does not overheat even after multiple uses.

It consists of 8 fruit rolled sheets, 8 clean-A-screens, 1 jerky and spice cure packet and a recipe book. It has an adjustable thermostat with a temperature range between 95-160⁰F enabling you to regulate the temperature you need for a particular food item. It has a power capacity of 1000 watts that allows you to dry food faster in hours; what other appliances take days to do.

It features a powerful functioning fan that runs at 2400 RPM that makes it work four times faster than dehydrators without a fan. The NescoFd-1018a dehydrator is built with a Vita-Save body to protect food product from harmful light. It also operates on the Converga flow system and the air flows  on every food tray and assures you of a uniformly dried food item.

Features and Specifications
  • Dimension: 15.9’’ x17.2’’ x 17.2’’
  • Tray dimension: 1.2 x 16.5 x 16.5’’
  • Cord length: 36’’
  • Weight: 29 pounds
  • Power: 1000watts
  • Air flow: Vertical
  • Category: Stackable
  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Converga flow system

  • VitaSave opaque body
  • Material: Plastic (Polypropylene)
  • Digital timer
  • Temperature: 95-160⁰F
  • Fan size: 4.5’’
  • Fan capacity: 2400RPM
  • Rating: 4.4
  • Warranty: 1year

Pros

  • Dries fast and efficiently
  • Does not overheat
  • Easy to clean
  • Temperature can be regulated and adjusted
  • Gives even drying
  • Comes with extra accessories
  • Affordable to own
  • Strong power capacity
  • Drying pressure adjusts automatically to the number of trays

Cons

  • A bit louder than other brands
  • No timer
  • Need to lift the lid/trays to monitor progress

Verdict

The NescoFD-1018a is great for those who need the option of dehydrating very large batches at once (up to 30 trays).  Although this dehydrator has one of higher price tags on the list, it is an affordable appliance for those who are serious about dehydrating for their family or business. The only feature we feel this dehydrator is missing is an automatic timer. It has a 4.6-star rating among customers who have used it.

 

 

Gourmia GFD1750

 The Gourmia 1750 dehydrator features a digital control LCD panel where even a "newbie" can easily regulate the temperature and all other operations needed to dry or preserve herbs and food.

It contains 10 drying trays, with 7 levels of drying temperature. The front door has a transparent window so it is easy to see and monitor the progress of the food drying. Also included in the pack is one "jerky or sausage sure hang" drying rack. The door of the dehydrator is magnetic, so you don’t have to worry about a slightly opened door.

The dehydrator works on 48 hours drying time and  features a Circumsmart 360⁰airflow system. It has a sleek modern design.

Features and Specifications

  • Magnetic door
  • Digital timer
  • Digital control center LCD panel
  • Color: Black
  • Circumsmart 360⁰ airflow
  • 10 drying trays
  • 1 sausage hanging rack

  • Power: 550W
  • Voltage: 120V-60Hz
  • Size: 10.25’’ x 15.5’’ x 15’’
  • Weight: 11.5 Lbs
  • Drying time: 48 hours
  • Rating: 3.9

Pros
  • Even drying
  • Easy to use
  • Digital time and temperature control
  • Affordable price
  • Looks great on countertops
  • Transparent door to monitor drying progress

Cons
  • Some reviews mention timer issues
  • Could be noisy at times
  • Instructions need to be printed
  • Trays need to be manually rotated

Verdict

The Gourmia 1750 is suitable for drying fruits and vegetables and has the advantage of being left to work while you get on with another work as it will go off on its own in time. It is an affordable appliance for the kitchen and with this dehydrator; you don’t have to worry anymore about throwing away spoilt food. It has a 3.9-star rating among customers who have used it.

 

Magic Mill Pro

One of the best food dehydrators for herbs, the Magic Mill Pro features outstanding components that make it unique among others. It has a rear mounted fan that allows even drying. Along with its adjustable thermostat, the dehydrator also has a digital thermostat and timer that allows you to leave your food to dry without worry while you go about other activities.

The Magic Mill consists of six spacious and adjustable stainless racks, six plastic fine mesh trays, 3 nonstick trays, 1 set of oven mitts and a drip tray that collects residues after drying. The Magic Mill has a drying time of 19-20 hours at a temperature of 95 158⁰F.

An overheating safety precaution has been put in place to prevent overheating while using the equipment. Its airflow circulation technology also allows for a horizontal distribution of air within the dehydrator.

Features and Specifications

  • Rear-mounted fan
  • Automatic shut off
  • 5 hours of drying time
  • Temperature: 95-158⁰F
  • 6 stainless racks
  • 6 plastic trays
  • 3 nonstick trays
  • 1 set oven mitt
  • Color: Black

  • 1 drip tray
  • Airflow circulation technology
  • Dimension: 12’’ x 17’’ x 19’’
  • Watt: 400-450
  • Airflow: Horizontal
  • Product type: Stainless
  • Rating: 4.6
  • Warranty: 1 year

Pros
  • Digital timer and thermostat
  • Drip trays for collecting residues
  • Even drying
  • Automatic shut off
  • Bigger and more spacious
  • Dries faster
  • Noiseless
  • Affordable
  • Effective heat distribution

Cons
  • Timer is not reliable
  • Frequent plastic smell
  • High power usage

Verdict

The Magic Mill Pro is an effective dehydrator that is recommended for every home and factories. It is fast and reliable and you can definitely get the best-dried fruits out of using it. It is affordable and convenient to use, while you monitor every process as it works. It is definitely worth its price and rated 4.6 among others.

 

Check out this article from humoroushomemaking.com for 40 great idea to use your dehydrator for. Or our article on Preserving and Drying Herbs

diy-cleaners

Best DIY Natural Home Cleaners – 8 Recipes

 

Making your own DIY natural cleaners is a simple and cost effective way to get rid of some of the most toxic and poisonous products in your home. According to the National Capital Poison Center cleaning substances were the second highest cause of unintentional poisoning in of children under 6 years old in the U.S 2014.  Many people don't realize how toxic many of the commercial products they use in their home everyday really are. The harmful chemicals are not only a danger if accidentally consumed , but can also cause acute or chronic illness due to repeated exposure from skin contact and through inhaling the VOC's (volatile organic compounds) they release into the air. 

 

TOXIC CHEMICALS IN COMMERCIAL CLEANERS YOU WANT TO AVOID


1) AMMONIA

Found in: Glass, oven, drain, toilet and multipurpose cleaners.

Health Risks: Exposure to ammonia at minimum can cause eye, throat, lung and skin irritation, at worst it will result in lung damage, blindness and death. When mixed with bleach  highly poisonous chloramine gas is produced. 

2) BUTOXYETHANOL

Found in: Glass, oven and multipurpose cleaners.

Health Risks:2-butoxyethanol is used in many common cleaners as as solvent and has a characteristic sweet smell. 2-Butoxyethanol belongs in the  Glycol Ethers family of chemicals. According to the EPA, short term exposure high levels of Glycol Ethers can cause headaches, sore throats, and kidney and liver damage. Long term exposure has been linked to anemia, anorexia, nausea, fatigue and neurological damage.  sore throats when inhaled, at high levels glycol ethers can also contribute to narcosis, pulmonary edema, and severe liver and kidney damage. 

3) SODIUM HYDROXIDE

Found in: Oven, toilet, disinfectants and drain cleaners.

Health Risks: Highly corrosive; can burn the eyes, skin and lungs. It can cause blindness if it gets in your eyes. If swallowed it will cause nausea, stomach cramps diarrhea and even death.

4) FORMALDEHYDE

Found in: Soap, glass, oven and multipurpose cleaners.

Health Risks: Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that is used in many household products. Short tern contact can cause asthma attacks, eye, nose and throat irritation. Long tern exposure can cause cancer. 

5) SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE

Found in: Dish soap, toilet cleaners and Liquid Laundry Soap.

Health Risks: Sodium lauryl sulfate is used in many cleaning products to create foam.  It is a known skin irritant and a possible carcinogen 

6) PHALATES

Found in: Air fresheners, dish soaps and most products with "fragrance" listed as an ingredient.

Health Risks: Phthalates are known to reduce sperm count. It can cause eye, skin, nose and throat irritation. Phaltes have also been linked to breast cancer, type II diabetes and ADHD. 

7) TRICLOSAN

Found in: Liquid dishwashing detergents and antibacterial hand soaps. 

Health Risks: Triclosan is used as an antibacterial agent, but it can promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria.  It can impair muscle function and reduce the strength of your heart muscle. A study in the Oxford Journal found that Triclosan imitates estrogen in the body, chemicals that do this are linked to an increase in breast cancer. 

 

Instead of paying for multiple expensive commercial cleaners that contain toxins and poisons, try these simple homemade, environmentally friendly, diy natural cleaners.

 

8 DIY NATURAL CLEANERS - RECIPES

 

homemade-multipurpose-cleaner

  

1) Multipurpose Cleaner


What you will Need:
  • Spray Bottle
  • Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Funnel
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 1 Tbs of Borax
  • 1 Tbs of Hydrogen Peroxide
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Essential oils (optional)
Directions:

1. Put 1 tablespoon Borax to a mixing bowl, and cover with 2 cups hot water. Whisk until borax dissolves
2. Add the 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup vinegar, and juice from 1 lemon to the bowl. Give the mixture a gentle stir.
3. Use a funnel to pour the cleaner into the spray bottle and top with a few drops of essential oil (optional), which gives the all-purpose cleaner any scent you choose.

 

 

oven-cleaner

 

 

2) Oven Cleaner

 
What you will Need:
  • Sponge
  • Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Paper towel
  • 1/2 cup of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup of liquid dish soap
  • 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 tbs of vinegar
  • Zest from 1 lemon
Directions:

1. Whisk  all the ingredients together in a bowl until until its a thick paste.
2. Wipe down the oven with warm soapy water.
3. Using the sponge spread  the cleaning paste all over the inside of the oven.
4. Close the door and let sit for 4 hours.
5. After 4 hours use a damp sponge to remove all the cleaning paste.

 

 

dish-soap

 

3) Dish Soap


What you will Need:
Directions:

1. In a mixing bowl mix the 1Tbs Borax, 1 Tbs Washing Soda, 3/4 cup of Castile Soap, and 2 1/4 Tbs of Vinegar.
2. Gently mix in the 2 1/4 cups of boiling water, and the 10-15 drops of the optional essential oil
3. Leave the mixture to cool to room temperature.  Once cooled transfer to the pump bottle or other storage container of your choice.

 

 

 liquid-laundry-soap-fabric-softner

 

4) Liquid Laundry Soap

 
What you will Need:
Directions:

1. In large bowl mix the 1/2 cup of Washing Soda and 1/4 cup of Borax. 
2. Cover the dry ingredients with boiling water (approx 1-2 cups), whisk until Borax and Washing soda have dissolved. 
3. Add in the 1 tbs of castile soap and 1/4 cup of vinegar, mix gently.
4. Pour the mix into the gallon container. Add enough hot water to fill. (also add 10-20 drops of essential oil, if using).
5. Gently swirl the container to mix. Use approx 1/3 cup per load of laundry.

 

5) Fabric Softener

 
What you will Need:
  • 1 gallon container
  • Microwave safe bowls
  • Whisk
  • Funnel
  • Measuring cups
  • 6 cups of hot water
  • 3 cups of vinegar
  • 2 cups of hair conditioner
  • 10-20 drops of essential oils (optional)
Directions:

1. In a microwave separately heat the vinegar and conditioner sightly, (just above room temperature).
2. In the 1 gallon container, gently combine the water, vinegar and hair conditioner. (Do not shake or you will cause foaming).
3. Add the essential oil (optional).

 

 

fabric-refresher

 

 6) Fabric Refresher


What you will Need:
  • Spray Bottle
  • Funnel
  • Measuring cups
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of liquid fabric softener (store bought or see recipe #5 fabric softener above)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
Directions:

1. In a spray bottle mix the water, fabric softener and vinegar.

 

 

toilet-clener

 

7) Toilet Cleaner


What you will Need:
  • Squirt Bottle
  • Funnel
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3/4 cups castile soap
  • 3/4 Tbs baking soda
  • 10-15 drops Essential oils
Directions:

1. In a squirt bottle gently mix the water, baking soda, castile soap and essential oil.
2. Squirt around the toilet bowl, scrub with toilet brush. 

 

 

 

carpet-cleaner

 

 

8) Carpet Cleaner


What you will Need:
  • Spray Bottle
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1 cup of vinegar2 Tsp salt
  • - 15-20 drops Essential oils (Optional)
Directions:

1. In the spray bottle combine the water and vinegar.
2. Add the salt and essential oils. Gently shake
3. Spray on carpet and allow to dry, then vacuum the treated area.

 

I use these DIY natural cleaners in my house and love them. Try them out and let me know what you think of them. If you have ways I can improve them, let me know. The comment section is always open an looking for feedback.

But if you are looking for even more DIY natural cleaners you can make yourself we found some great ones on Popsugar.com and on goodhousekeeping.com, check them out, they are great resources of information.

 

11 Natural Remedies to get Rid of Ants in Your House

 

Every year, when the weather warms up we have to deal with ant home invasions so I look to natural remedies to get rid of ants. It's best to deal with the situation as soon as you see even one ant marching through your house. This little ant is not just a lost little creature trying to find its way home, it is a scout. A scout sent out to find the easiest access to food for the colony.  If the scout ant is successful in finding a cache of food it will leave a scent trail for other to follow. This is why you will see an "ant train" weaving its way across your floor or counter. 

To successfully rid yourself of this insect invasion first you must wipe out the scent trail to prevent new ants from following the course. Then you have to deter new groups from wanting to explore you house. 

Battling ants can be frustrating and annoying, as they are very persistent little creatures. By using the natural remedies to get rid of ants listed below you will be able to turn back the ant invasion without needing to resort to toxic pesticides that could harm your children or pets. 

 

11 NATURAL REMEDIES TO GET RID OF ANTS

 

borax

 

 1.BORAX


What you will need:
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Borax
  • 1/2 cup Sugar 1 1/2 cups Warm Water
  • Cotton balls
  • Small bowl
  • Whisk
  • Jar with a lid
Directions:

1. In a bowl whisk the 1 1/2 Tbs of Borax with the 1/2 cup of sugar, and get rid of any lumps.
2. Whisk in just enough water to create loose paste. Mix until all the power has dissolved.
3. Dip a few cotton balls in the mixture.
4. Place these cotton balls in places where you have seen the ants.
5. Wait. It may take a little while for the ants to find the Borax covered cotton balls. Once they do they will eat the sugary solution and also take it home to their nest. 
6. Store the rest of your Ant killing home remedy in the jar (please label your jar), and store out of the way of children.

 
WHY IT WORKS

Borax contains boric acid which damages the ants outer skeletons, causing them to dehydrate. Most commercial insecticides also use boric acid. Borax is less toxic than other insecticides, but it is still mildly toxic. Please ensure that children and pets do not have access to borax-based ant traps.

 

cinnamon

 

2. CINNAMON


What you will need:
  • Cinnamon
Directions:

1. Once you see a line of ants marching through your house follow it back and find where the are getting into your house. 
2. Sprinkle an unbroken line of cinnamon at the entry point. For additional fighting power, if you can find the next outside sprinkle the nest with cinnamon too.

 
WHY IT WORKS

Cinnamon is a great option for killing ants. When an ant inhales cinnamon, it suffocates and dies. Other natural powders like cayenne or coffee also kills ants through inhalation and suffocation. We like to use cinnamon is because it is not harmful to children and pets. Also the scent of cinnamon disrupts the ants' ability to smell. Since ants rely on smell  to detect food and to leave and send messages back to the colony, this is a bad for the ants. For cinnamon to be the most effective, ants need to take small amounts of cinnamon back to the nest.

 

lemon

 

3. LEMON


What you will need:
Directions:

1. Juice the lemon
2. Remove the zest from the lemon and save. 
3. In the spray bottle mix lemon juice and water.
4. Spray the areas where you see the ants - counters, floors etc, also spray the areas where the ants are getting into you house. 
5. At the points of entry sprinkle the lemon zest.

 
WHY IT WORKS

Ants leave an invisible scent trail to a food source for other ants to follow. This is why you see ants traveling in a single line across your floors and counters.  Lemon juice won't kill the ants, but its smell and acid disrupts the scent trails they leave behind. The next group of ants will not be able to follow the paths left behind, and the citrus smell will discourage them from starting a new one.

  

vinegar

 

4. VINEGAR


What you will need:
  • 1 cup Vinegar
  • 1 cup Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Cloth
Directions:

1. Mix the water and vinegar together in the spray bottle.
2. Spray and wipe down the  the areas where you see the ants - counters, floors etc, also spray the areas where the ants are getting into your house. 

 
WHY IT WORKS

Like Lemon juice the smell and acid of the vinegar disrupts the scent trails ants leave behind for their friend to follow.

  

diatomaceous_earth

 

5. DIATOMACEOUS EARTH


What you will need:
Directions:

1. Sprinkle a thin amount of diatomaceous earth where ants are seen and where they are entering the house.
2. Repeat each day until the ants are gone. 

 
WHY IT WORKS

Diatomaceous Earth is made up of crushed fossilized skeletons  of marine phytoplankton. When it comes in contact with the ants the jagged and sharp little pieces of Diatomaceous Earth scratches up the insects' bodies then dries up their fluids.  It will hurt insects but is not toxic to mammals.

  

peppermint-oil

 

6. PEPPERMINT OIL


What you will need:
  • 12 Drops Peppermint oil
  • 2 Tbs Witch Hazel
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Spray bottle
Directions:

1. In the spray bottle mix the water, with hazel and peppermint oil. 
2. Gently shake to mix.
3. Spray around the doors and windows, or anywhere the ants are entering your home. 

 
WHY IT WORKS

The smell of the peppermint oil and the witch hazel will eliminate the invisible scent trail left by the ants. It won't kill the ants, but the next group of ants will not be able to find the paths left by the previous ants for them to follow.

 

corn-starch

 

7. CORN STARCH


What you will need:
  • Corn Starch
Directions:

1. Sprinkle corn starch around where you see the ants.

 
WHY IT WORKS

Ants are attracted to cornstarch and they will try to eat it. But ants are unable to digest cornstarch so they starve and die.

 

castile-soap

 

8. CASTILE SOAP (Peppermint)


What you will need:
Directions:

1. In the spray bottle mix the water, with castile peppermint soap. 
2. Gently shake to mix.
2. Spray around the doors and windows, or anywhere the ants are entering your home. 

 
WHY IT WORKS

The soap will dissolve the ants exterior wax coating killing them on contact.

 

baking-soda

 

9. POWDERED SUGAR AND BAKING SODA


What you will need:
  • 1 part powdered sugar
  • 1 part baking soda
  • Small shallow container (such as jar lids)
Directions:

1. Combine the 1 part powdered sugar with 1 part baking soda.
2. Place the mixture in the small containers.
2. Place these ants trays where you see the ants. 

 
WHY IT WORKS

The ants are attracted to the sugar. But they cannot tell the difference between the sugar and the baking soda. Once they eat the baking soda it will react with their stomach acids and kill them.

  

chalk

 

10. CHALK


What you will need:
  • Chalk
Directions:

1. Use the chalk  to draw/make an unbroken barrier lines around doors and windows. Draw lines anywhere ants are getting in to your house.  

 
WHY IT WORKS

Ants will not cross a chalk line. The fine chalk powder will stick to their feet and clog their pores. This hurts the ants and deters them.

 

peanut-butter

 

11. PEANUT BUTTER AND BORAX


What you will need:
  • 1 part Peanut Butter
  • 1 part Borax
  • Straw
  • Scissors
  • Small bowl
Directions:

1. In the bowl mix the 1 part peanut butter and the 1 part borax
2. Repeatedly stick the end of the straw into the mixture, filling up the straw.
2. Cut the straw in to 1 inch pieces. Place these ant traps in the places you see the ants.

 
WHY IT WORKS

Ants are attracted to the peanut butter and accidentally eat the borax too. The borax poisons them and they die. 

 

Did these Natural Remedies for getting rid of ants help you, or did you find a better solution? Let us know in the comments, we are always looking for feedback or new recipes to try.

dried-herbs

6 Simple Ways for Preserving and Drying Herbs at Home

 

Preserving and drying herbs is really simple.  Although I always love using fresh herbs when ever possible,  some applications such as herbal teas and herb oils work really well with dried herbs and flowers. If you are growing your own herbs, it is cheaper to dry them than to buy the store bought ones. I like to preserve as many fresh herbs, from my garden and the store, as possible to use all year round. There are many different ways to preserve and dry herbs and here we have outlined 6 of the best ways to make sure you have access to all you favourite herbs whenever you need them.

 

PRESERVING AND DRYING HERBS

 

PREPARING THE HERBS

Gently wash and pat dry the fresh herbs. Personally I find a salad spinner works very well for this.  Pick out any discoloured leaves.  If you have a variety of different types of herb you wish to preserve separate them into their individual plant type. Then sort the into two sections - High moisture content and Low moisture content.

 

HIGH MOISTURE HERBS


High moisture herbs need "Fast Drying Methods" so that they do not develop mold. The best method for drying these types of herbs is in a dehydrator, oven or microwave.

Basil
Lemon balm
Mint
Tarragon
Parsley
Cilantro

 

 

LOW MOISTURE HERBS


Herbs with low moisture can be preserved with "Slow Drying Methods" without fear of mold. So they can be preserved using the  air drying methods. They can be dried with any of the fast methods listed below.

Thyme
Rosemary
Oregano
Bay Leaf
Dill
Summer Savory
Marjoram
Sage

 

FAST DRYING METHODS 

 

1. DEHYDRATOR

Dehydrating is my favourite way to dry herbs as its so fast and simple.  Place a single layer of herbs on to the dehydrating tray. Turn the dehydrator to the manufacturer recommended temperature for herbs (approximately 95°F).  The drying time will be anywhere from 1 to 4 hours depending on the moisture content and the amount of herbs you are drying.

2. OVEN DRYING

Place your herbs on to a cookie sheet or low rimmed pan. Turn the oven on to its lowest setting, with the door open. Leave the herbs in the warm oven for about 2 to 4 hours.  Personally I find this method wasteful on energy and it tends to heat up the kitchen so I prefer to use the dehydrator.

3. MICROWAVE

Place a single layer of herbs between two piece of paper towel. Place in microwave on high for 1-2 minutes.  Let the plant cool. If they are not completely dried out and brittle, heat again for 30 seconds and let cool. Repeat the 30 seconds reheat and cool until herbs are completely dry.


 4. FREEZING

Most herbs need to be blanched before freezing (Basil, dill, and chives do not need to be blanched). To do this put the herbs into boiling salted water for just under a minute. Then immediately put the herbs in to ice water to stop the cooking process.  Then place the herbs in to a ziplock bag or other storage contain and put in the freezer.

 

 

SLOW DRYING METHODS

 

5.INDOOR AIR DRYING

a) Gather a small bunch of the herb  and tie there stems together, hang upside down in a dark place for 2 to 3 weeks. If you do not have a suitable dark area, place the bunch it a brown paper bag, do not let the herbs touch the side of the bag. Tear several holes in the bag for air circulation and hang to dry.  By keeping the herbs out of the UV of the sun they will retain more of their colour.

b) Spread the herbs out flat on a window screen. Then suspend the screen indoors between the back of two chairs. Turn the herbs once or twice a day to get even drying. This method will take a few weeks to thoroughly dry out the herbs.
 

6. SALT DRYING

Place a small bunch of herbs into a jar. Fill the jar with non-iodized salt. Completely covering the herbs. Stir the salt and herb mix every few days.  Repeat until the moisture has been completely drawn out of the plants. This will take approximately two weeks.

Here is a great instructional video from Mother Earth News air drying and freezing herbs.

STORING HERBS

Once fully dried you herbs should be stored in a labeled and dated air tight container. Dried herbs will last for 1 to 3 years, after this time they tend to lose their flavour. For the newly dried herbs you should check the container for the first few days for signs of moisture.  If you had not completely dried out the herbs you will run the risk of mold. If you see signed of moisture repeat the drying process. If you see signs of mold do not use the herbs.