The Magic Mill MFD-500 is the ideal appliance for anyone desiring to start drying and preserving their own food. Make fruit roll-ups, jerky, apple crisps, or veggie chips. Dry garden herbs. Create your own soup mixes. Make your own pasta. The possibilities are numerous. Best of all, you have full control of the ingredients—allowing you the opportunity to make your diet more healthy and wholesome. That’s not all. Dehydrating foodstuffs at home comes with a variety of more benefits. The process helps you save money, not just on your grocery trips, but also by increasing the shelf life of the produce that you do purchase. It aids in reducing food wastage—even if you freeze, ferment, or can food, there’s always more produce that you feel like you don’t know what to do with, especially if you buy groceries in bulk, have your own garden, or have a generous neighbor who drops in with fresh produce ever so often.
The Magic Mill is an industry leader in dehydrating products, and its MFD-500 model doesn’t disappoint. We break down what’s good, what’s not so great, and how to best use this food dehydrator below.
Magic Mill Basics
The dehydrator weights a little over 10 pounds, which makes it portable and easy to store when not in use. Measuring 14.9 x 14.8 x 13.1 inches means the device does not require an excessive amount of counter space. Each of the trays measures 13 inches in diameter and is ½-inch deep. So, you get more than 5 square feet of dehydrating space with this Magic Mill.
There is no need to use the oven any longer. Garden produce need not go to waste when you can dehydrate. The processed foods also do not require storing in the freezer, which saves more space for other foods. The machine body and the 5 dehydrating trays are made using BPA-free materials so you don’t even have to be concerned about foods absorbing harmful chemicals. With five stackable trays, you can process more foods at once while saving time and money. Although the trays are not transparent, the lid is, which enables you to monitor the dehydrating process without opening the door or shutting off the machine.
Along with the 5 dehydrating trays, the unit also comes with a mesh tray, which is designed to keep smaller foods from falling through the grates that the larger trays feature. The mesh tray is great for drying beans, berries, coconut, and even herbs, keeping these small foods in place. You can also use it for high moisture foods including bananas and tomatoes by simply putting the tray inside one of the regular trays. You also get a non-stick sheet, which is perfect for making fruit leather or strips from canned, fresh, or frozen fruits. All of the 7 trays included in this dehydrator are also dishwasher safe for your convenience.
Digital Temperature Control
The temperature and time controls are smartly positioned on the lower front of the dehydrator for easy access. Simply push the (+) and (–) buttons to set the desired temperature and the length of time, which are clearly displayed on the digital readout. The timer increases in increments of 30 minutes and enables you to run the dehydrator for up to 19.5 hours. The temperature setting adjusts from 95°-158° F. The Magic Mill plugs into any standard 120-volt wall outlet and provides 450 watts of power.
The Magic Mill also features an automatic shut off safety mechanism, which prevents the appliance from accidentally becoming overheated. This safety measure can give you a much appreciated stress-relief, especially if you’re someone who would like to go about your day without thinking about what’s happening in the kitchen. Prior to usage, remember to remove the protective cardboard on the top of the fan and heater. Wash the trays in warm, soapy water before the first use. When in operation, the bottom fan provides a continual flow of heat throughout the entire unit. The Magic Mill processes food by convection, which means the unit circulates warm air. Rotating trays is not necessary, as the air travels upwards and circulates through the grates on all levels. The patented process ensures that food dries consistently and thoroughly from top to bottom.
In order to set the desired temperature, press the Time/Temp button and temperature begins flashing in the display window. Use the (+) or (–) minus buttons to set the desired setting. Change the temperature faster by holding down the button. The temperatures increase or decrease in increments of 10 degrees, so that you aren’t standing there, trying to set the temperature for 5 mins.
To set the time, press the Time/Temp button again and the window displays a flashing 10:00. Use the (+) or (–) buttons until the correct time appears. Holding the button enables you to change the time faster. The start/stop button turns the appliance on or off when desired.
Unlike some dehydrator models, the Magic Mill MFD-500 is also whisper quiet, which is convenient when wanting to process foods overnight.
The handy instruction manual offers dehydrator safety tips and gives a detailed description of food drying guidelines along with many different recipes. Magic Mill also offers a 1-year warranty against any defects. The dehydrator comes with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. Simply contact the company if you have any questions or encounter any problems.
The Magic Mill makes a great kitchen addition if you are a novice to food processing. But that doesn’t mean that you should ignore it if you’re a pro. Experienced cooks can benefit from it, especially if space is an issue.
- Performance - 8.3/108.3/10
- Ease of Use - 8/108/10
- Design - 7.9/107.9/10
- Features - 7.4/107.4/10