Homemakers do an extensive product search and analyze 100’s of them before getting the best food dehydrator to dry fruits and vegetables. Moreover food dehydrators can be a cool addition to your kitchen as you can have a wide variety of uses for them.
I usually dehydrate a lot of fruits with my dehydrator before Christmas.
Below is a selected list of the top rated dehydrators for an average American Home.
5 Best Food Dehydrators of 2016 With Reviews
|Nesco Snackmaster Pro |
Food Dehydrator FD-75A
|Presto 06300 Dehydro||4.7||Read Reviews|
|Nesco American Harvest |
|Nesco FD-60 Snackmaster Express|
4-Tray Food Dehydrator
|Waring Pro DHR30||4.5||Read Reviews|
Some of the factors you have to consider when buying a dehydrator include the following:
- Construction material. Most food dehydrators contain plastic parts, and despite FDA approval for these, some types of plastic maybe safer than others. Some stainless steel models are completely plastic-free, and while they may be safer and they certainly look great, they can be more expensive as well. Just make sure you avoid those made from galvanized steel, as that material isn’t safe for food.
- Fans and thermostats. Most dehydrators have these parts. The thermostat controls the temperature while the fans spread the warm air around evenly. It’s not worth it to buy a dehydrator without a fan, because usually it will take too long and the heat distribution may be uneven.
An adjustable thermostat is also crucial, because different foods dry at different temperatures. You’ll need to dry meat in 145 to 155-degree F temperature to be safe. Fruits need 135 degrees, veggies need 125 degrees, and herbs can dry at just 95 degrees.
You may also want to get a dehydrator equipped with an automatic shut-off. This enables you to do other stuff while you dry your food. Another convenient feature is a clear door, which lets you check on your food without taking out the food from the heat.
- Shelf vs. Stackable – Shelf tray dehydrators have shelves which can be pulled from the side like the trays in your oven. This makes the food inside more accessible. In addition, design of the dehydrator has the heating element and the fan at the back, so the heat is distributed evenly. The square trays of this type of dehydrator also offer a lot more space for your food.
Stackable tray dehydrators are much more affordable. But they have trays stacked on top of one another, and that can cause accessibility problems. To check on a tray at the bottom, you need to first remove all the trays on top, which increases the likelihood of an accident.
The more trays you have, the more problematic it is. But that’s also the main benefit of stackable tray dehydrators. You can add more trays if you need to. You can’t add more shelves to a shelf tray dehydrator.
Most stacked dehydrators have the heating element at the bottom, so the food on the bottom trays may be over-dried while the food at the top trays may remain under-dried.
You may need to change the orders of the tray every now and then to even out the heat distribution. However, some of the more expensive stacked models now offer more even heat distribution.
It’s not always a good idea to buy a cheap food dehydrator, especially when you have safety concerns. And when it comes to your food, safety comes first.
Preparing beef jerky that tastes yummy is so easy when you have a dehydrator and your family is going to love them.
What Can I Make in My Food Dehydrator?
Almost everyone I know uses dried food and spices in one way or another. Just think about it; who doesn’t have oregano, garlic powder or parsley in their kitchen? What about pasta or rice?
What’s more, with statistics revealing that American households waste up to $30 billion worth of food, there has never been a better time to consider drying various fruits and vegetables as an alternative to the more orthodox approaches of freezing and canning; besides, dehydrated foods are ideal for hiking, backpacking, and camping because they weigh much less and do not require refrigeration.
To top it all off, a study carried out by the American College of Nutrition in 2005 reveals that the antioxidants in dried fruits like grapes, cranberries and plums are twice as potent as those in fresh fruits, a rather clear indication that there is much to be gained in dehydrating food.
Still, many of you will agree that using a food dehydrator is one of those part cooking, part science projects. However, once you get the hang of it, it becomes simpler.
So what can you make with your food dehydrator?
Make Your Own Yummy and Healthy Snacks
Sweet Potato Chips
Season with salt and other dried spices like rosemary or garlic. Proceed to lay the slices on your dehydrator trays. Ensure that the slices do not overlap. Dehydrate for 6-10 hours or until the slices become crispy. Cool the ships off before storing in an airtight container.
Bet you can’t eat only one of these light and tasty sweet potato chips.
Fruits like lemons, oranges and limes can easily be washed, sliced and put into the dehydrator directly whereas fruits like apples, bananas and strawberries will require generous spraying of lime juice to prevent the fruits from darkening.
It is important to note that fruits are best dehydrated at temperatures of 125-135 degrees F; any hotter than that and certain fruit skins may get hard and crusty preventing the fruit from drying within completely.
You’ll know the fruits are ready when they don’t stick together, however, fruits like prunes and dates will remain sticky. So what are you waiting for? Make a quick trip to your local grocery and buy your apples in bushels!
Herbs and Spices
You’ll never buy dried herbs and spices from the stores again after you try drying your own herbs and spices. Not only is it straightforward and to the point but fresh herbs and spices are known to have a stronger flavor and aroma compared to commercial dried herbs and spices.
Wash leaves and stems lightly under cold running water before placing them into the food dehydrator.
Use temperatures between 95-100 degrees F and set the timer for 4-6 hours. You’ll know the herbs are ready when they crumble and snap easily. Store the dried herbs and spices in a dark colored jar with an airtight lid to preserve flavor.
Although food dehydrators are not a mainstream kitchen appliance, the benefits of food dehydration cannot be ignored.
Enjoy the simple yet delicious ideas provided in this read while you explore the limitless world of dehydrator recipes.