Firstly before I go into detail about the best food dehydrators out there, I want to let you know why it is necessary to get one and what its uses are.
7 Benefits of purchasing a Dehydrator
1. Dehydrated food tastes great
The machine works by removing the water from the food item (fruit, vegetables, and meats) creating a concentrated condensed version of the original product.
It does this without the need of adding unnecessary sugars and preservatives often found in store-bought dehydrated produce.
1. Reduce food waste and extend shelf life
Whether it be leftover fruit, vegetables or meat. You have bought an item in bulk, the food item can be dehydrated and stored for almost 2 years.
2. Cost saving
Store bought dried food can be expensive, make the most of in-season food or bulk savings by purchasing and dehydrating your own produce. Or make the most out of your leftovers and reduce your overall waste.
3. 100% natural healthy snacks
Only one ingredient is required when dehydrating, therefore making it and beneficial, due to all the minerals and fiber from the whole fruit being readily available and unlike cooking and steaming, you don’t lose any of the nutritional content.
Many store-bought dried fruits contain added sugars, sulfur dioxide, trans fat, and preservatives.
By creating your own you can dictate what goes into the product and avoid the hidden nasties.
4. Efficient storage and easily portable
By removing the water content you are also reducing the overall size and increasing the concentration. Therefore, the overall room taken up is reduced. this makes them easily transportable handy for people on the go.
Dehydrators can perform many tasks such as:
fruit leathers, activate some nuts, veggie chips, dried fruits such as grapes, blueberries, strawberries, mangoes, bananas, jerky, make healthy breads, crackers pizza dough and activated granola
6. Simple to use
Foolproof comes with a few options, requiring on 2 buttons to get up and started.
7. The safe way to preserve
There is a low risk for bacteria and the produce to go bad, due to the removal of water from the food. Making this very useful to campers or people going on long expeditions, lightweight long-lasting nutritious snack.
What to consider when purchasing a Dehydrator
1. Ease of use
If you are going to invest in a dehydrator you want it to be easy to use clean and maintain.
Fortunately, most machines come with only a few buttons and easily removable trays to make getting the food product in and out and cleaning the machine easy and foolproof.
You can spend anywhere from $30 to $60 on a dehydrator, with inclusions such as a larger capacity impressive heat distribution, economy, warranty, thermometers, and timers setting them apart.
So alas the saying you get what you pay for.
In saying that by aiming for a midrange product you get the best of both worlds, reliable, reasonable economy and warranty, functionality and ease of use without it costing the earth. This will reduce the amount of cool features such as thermometers, but in my opinion, you can do without these.
To get a reasonable product you should be looking at spending between $80-$160
3. Maintain temperatures with an adjustable thermostat
This is a critical feature when choosing a dehydrator, they are used to maintain, set and change the temperature. Most thermostats have a range of 95 to 155 degrees F. Everything you dehydrate requires a different temperature, therefore the ability to control is essential.
4. Fan position
In my opinion, a fan placed at the back of the machine is the optimal position and creates an even distribution of airflow to the produce in comparison to fan at the top or bottom of the machine.
The space inside a dehydrator is going to be a priority once you start drying large batches of food. That is where the option of expandable trays is very handy.
Also, note where it can be stored they are a bulky machine and take up a lot of tabletop room, especially comparing the square design which is quite easy to store in comparison to the circular variety which is awkward to put away.
6. BPA free and dishwasher safe
Make sure it’s made of BPA free, using BPA free materials means your food won’t be touched by any harmful chemical materials while drying and it will be safe for consumption. Also, investigate if the trays are dishwasher safe, this will make maintenance a lot easier.
Dehydrators are complicated machines and have to run for long periods of time so having a long warranty is essential and in my opinion worth spending a little extra money on for.
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