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If you’re considering purchasing a food dehydrator you may be wondering if it’s really worth it. After all, this isn’t a regular appliance like a food processor or blender. Dehydrators are not a staple in every household. And they can cost a decent amount of money, with a starting price of $50 going all the way up to $500 for more advanced machinery.
So, why are so many people investing in dehydrators? What are the benefits and is there merit behind this trend? Can owning a food dehydrator actually improve your health and wellbeing?
Pushes you to eat healthy
Yes, food dehydrators are a significant expense. And while this can put a lot of potential buyers off you also have to look at the flip side. When you’re investing in a product like a food dehydrator you are committing to a healthier lifestyle. After all, you’re not going to buy it just to place it on a shelf.
Because of how our lives are structured and how busy most people are, fitness can often take a backseat. When you’re spending money on a new product you are essentially incentivizing yourself to do better, whether that’s a fit-bit, a new elliptical machine or a food dehydrator.
Some of the common fruits and vegetables people dry include peaches, strawberries, cherries, apples, tomatoes, and kale. These are all incredibly powerful ingredients that are chock full of essential vitamins and minerals. Pineapples and mangoes are also popular choices.
Dehydrating these items lets you add a lot of diversity and flavour to your diet. It also makes nutrition fun. Every day becomes a new adventure as you decide what new and exciting meal to plan. It recenters the conversation around healthy food. At the end of the day, any item that pushes you to make positive lifestyle changes is not a wasted expense.
Gives you options
Part of the excitement of getting a food dehydrator is all the variety it adds to your kitchen. Dried fruits and vegetables lets you experiment with your meals. Whether you’re making smoothie bowls or trying out new salad options you get to try something new everyday.
Not because you’re buying extravagant ingredients like oysters or lobsters but simply because of the range of textures and flavours you now have access to. With a food dehydrator you can recalibrate raw food items in a variety of ways. Generally, a dehydrator comes with an adjustable thermostat and multiple temperature settings. Also, remember that you don’t have to stick to the recipe instructions by the letter.
For example, if you’re trying a new recipe and it tells you to set the temperature at around 140 F but your machine only goes up to 115 F that’s perfectly fine. You can increase the drying time to get the same result. A food dehydrator also isn’t just for storing ingredients. You can use it to heat up your soups and sauces, make bread or bake cookies.
Often casual users make the mistake of overlooking all the facilities a dehydrator offers in terms of cooking technique. The breadth and range of its use depends entirely on your cooking needs and other appliances. In short, you can use it for whatever you want.
Lets you save money
The number one reason most people don’t eat healthy is because nutritious food options cost more. If you want to buy quality fruits and vegetables year-round you’ll have to spend a lot of money. With a food dehydrator you can cut down on a significant portion of that expense.
As a general rule, all fruits and vegetables have a short window where they are at their cheapest, otherwise known as prime season. Since production in these weeks is so high quality items will flood the market at low rates. Wait a few months and the same items will cost twice or thrice as much. This is the off-season.
Purchasing larger quantities of fruits and vegetables when they are on sale and drying them lets you eat healthy year-round without stretching your budget. Whole-sales retailers often put fruits like mangoes, strawberries, peaches and bananas on sale when they are ripe. That’s because they’re trying to sell their stock before it goes bad.
Go to the right farmers market and you can even negotiate rates depending on how much you’re buying. Then you can add nutritious dried fruits to your cereals, smoothie bowls, salads, and lunch dishes for months after and load up on essential vitamins and minerals. Shopping for nutritious meals on a budget is a skill and a food dehydrator is a necessary tool in your arsenal.
If you’re someone who is fitness oriented chances are that this consciousness translates to all aspects of your life. Whether you’re a camper, hiker or backpacker dehydrated ingredients make for tasty snacks that take up very little space. On one hand removing water from fruits and vegetables reduces their weight.
So, you may not be able to carry a heavy watermelon on your trip but you can take dried chips with you. These also won’t go bad over a few days which is an added plus. Additionally, you can convert complex foods such as spaghetti into a dried form fit for transport. That way, you just need to add sauce on the road and you’ll have hot and delicious spaghetti. With a stove you can even use dehydrated tomato sauce to add texture and flavour.
Overall, a food dehydrator is a necessity for travelers and hikers who want interesting food choices for their trips.
Healthy snacks for children
Anyone who has tried to shift their children to a healthier plant-focused diet knows that the process is more important than the end result. Kids like cutting, slicing, drying and arranging their snacks. So the dehydrating process is immensely appealing for them. When it comes to taste, dried fruits often have the same texture as taffy which is a definite plus.
Fruit leathers are a great way to get a child interested in a healthy diet and fulfil their vitamin and mineral needs. These include bananas, mangoes, watermelon, pineapples, strawberries, or any other fruits they like. A nutritious dried fruit spread lets you cater children’s parties without adding junk food options.
Grow your own food
If you are an individual who wants to shift your household to a healthy, organic product based diet you’ve probably run into your fair share of hurdles. Organic produce isn’t readily available in every neighbourhood and it’s always more expensive than lower quality products. Growing your own food is one way of shifting your whole diet to an organic base without breaking the bank.
The concern then becomes, how do you grow enough food? Unless you have acres of land to farm for yourself there is a distinct limit to the amount of fruits and vegetables that you can both produce and store. While gardening is a therapeutic pastime for many people stocking and managing their produce is a common concern.
If you want to grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in your garden but don’t have a way to store them you should consider investing in a food dehydrator. By drying produce you can save it for later and eat healthy no matter the time of year or the state of your garden. Even if you lose a certain crop because of pests or rain you’ll have dried reserves to fall back on.
Some popular vegetables to dehydrate include tomatoes, pepper, kale,parsley, peas, carrots, radishes and garlic. You can easily rehydrate and add them to soups and stews or use the flakes and powders directly as seasonings in your salads and sauces.
Make your own flavourings
Artificial flavourings are not a healthy food option. With a food dehydrator you can dry herbs to form flakes or powders that you can use with your meals. The idea here is that you don’t need new or unusual ingredients to elevate your meals. Instead you can use everyday items like basil, mint, thyme, rosemary and ginger.
Drying them sharpens the taste and changes the texture. Experimenting with different heating options will allow you to explore the range of results you can get. Generally, heating these herbs at an even temperature of around 100 F for two to three hours is enough to achieve this effect.
Healthy snack options
If you’re always on the go it’s a good idea to have a few snacks in your bag to keep you charged throughout the day. For most people this means tasteless granola bars from the grocery story. But healthy snacks don’t always have to be a chore to eat.
With a food dehydrator you can mix and match different fruit leathers and create your own healthy and taste snacks. Whether you’re in the office, at the gym, or on the go these fun food options add some much needed variety to your travel food.
You can use fruits like apricots, bananas, apples, berries, grapes, pineapples and pears to get a sweet base. Other items like granola, nuts and seeds can add some much needed texture. Dehydrated food snacks give you a lot of variety to work with so you can make snacks based on your personal preferences.
Make your own jerky
One of the most popular reasons why people buy food dehydrators is to make beef jerky. When it comes to popular American snacks jerky is definitely at the top of the list. You can add it to your breakfast or lunch, chew on it while hiking, take it to the library, or nibble on a piece between classes.
Store bought versions are expensive and the quality may vary depending on where you buy it. With a food dehydrator you can dry beef, fish, and turkey to make your own tastier jerky. This also lets you add spices to task although pre-mixed spice sets are readily available.
Finally, food dehydrators let you preserve food. Similar to canned options, dried food items last months in your pantry and up to a year in the fridge. However, nutritionally dehydrated fruits and vegetables are better than canned foods because they don’t use preservatives. The lack of chemicals means that the original health benefits of these items are maintained over time.
So, if you’re looking for a way to preserve and store food then a food dehydrator is a must buy.
Overall, a food dehydrator has a lot to offer in terms of value for money. You get to experiment with dried fruits and vegetables which is an appealing prospect for customers who like to cook. With this equipment you can elevate the same food items you use on a regular basis to create new and creative dishes.
This means you’re more likely to stick to a healthy diet because you have a wider range of nutritious items to choose from. Making plants based diets fun is the only way to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, a food dehydrator lets you preserve key ingredients even after they go out of season.
Having a bowl of dried organic strawberries to add to your summer salads can give your lunch options a much needed kick. All fruits and vegetables have a prime season when they’re at their cheapest and trying to buy the same items at any other time can cost a lot of money. With a food dehydrator you can enjoy your favourite meals year-round.
When it comes to purchasing a quallity dehydrator you have a lot of options to choose from. The prices for these items vary based on the temperature range offered, size of the machine, tray capacity and drying options. You should also look into the specific usage for each dehydrator based on your needs.
For example, if your primary goal is to make beef jerky look for a dehydrator that has been designed with that in mind. At the end of the day, there are endless options to choose from, no matter your budget or requirements. So good luck choosing!