A Consumer’s Guide to Buying Dehydrated Candy

So, you’ve decided to serve apple cinnamon and other fancy flavored ice cream at your picnic. You’ve also resolved to set aside your candy guilt and serve dehydrated candy as a treat topping. 

However, the problem is that there are so many different types of dehydrated marshmallows on the market. Which one should you choose?

This guide is here to help you decide what type of dehydrated marshmallows you can serve as toppings for your treats at your next picnic or party!

What Is Dehydrated Candy?

Dehydrated candy refers to a number of candy products in which all water is removed from the product. This process strips away any moisture from the food and leaves behind a crispy, light textured product with an intense flavor.

This process ensures that your favorite candies don’t melt or become soft when exposed to warm temperatures. They can also be stored for long periods without spoiling. Candy companies have been doing this for years with chocolate bars, gumballs, and other candies.

Dehydrated marshmallows have become increasingly popular candy options and are a popular choice as treats and toppings. We've put together our top five picks for the best dehydrated marshmallows!

Our Top Picks for Best Dehydrated Marshmallows

Our best rated dehydrated marshmallows are as follows.

1. Sarah's Candy Factory Assorted Dehydrated Marshmallow Bits

2. By The Cup Assorted Dehydrated Cereal Marshmallow Bits

3. Hoosier Hill Farm Mini Dehydrated Marshmallows

4. Medley Hills Farm Assorted Dehydrated Marshmallow

5. Cool Mom Sprinkles Mini Marshmallows

Reviews of the Best Dehydrated Marshmallows

Sarah's Candy Factory Assorted Dehydrated Marshmallow Bits

Do you love marshmallows that come in different flavors? If so, then this is the product for you! These aren’t just ordinary marshmallows. These have been dehydrated to perfection and come in fun colors!

If you love chewy desserts, these marshmallows will make the perfect treats! These can also be melted to be used as icing on cakes, brownies, pies, or potato casseroles for a delicious variety.

Pros
  • Comes in a big, reusable jar
  • No preservatives or additives
  • Vibrant colors
  • Compact size
Cons 
  • Jar isn’t very airtight
  • Might form clumps at times
  • Unclear whether the product is gluten-free
  • More expensive compared to other options

These dehydrated marshmallows are another great option for your cereal and are an excellent option on the market today! This product comes in vanilla flavor and contains a variety of colors that make it more eye-pleasing.

Pros
  • Pleasing and attractive colors
  • Contains allergen warnings against wheat, tree nuts, peanuts, dairy, and soy
  • Comes in an airtight plastic bag
  • Budget-friendly
Cons 
  • Packaging makes the marshmallows prone to crumbling during transportation

The small size of these marshmallows make them great for toppings! They come in vanilla flavor, guaranteed fresh, and made in the USA. If you're looking for dehydrated candy that's rich in taste but light on calories, these marshmallow bits will be perfect!

Pros
  • Fat-free
  • Company is known for its high-quality products and services
Cons 
  • A little pricey
  • Only available in one flavor
  • List Element

Medley Hills Farm is a brand that you can trust for high-quality products. That means that these marshmallows have no preservatives to ensure freshness.

If you’re looking for a variety of flavors, then this is the product for you!

Pros
  • Made of high-quality ingredients
  • Very versatile
Cons 
  • Variety of flavors might not appeal to everyone
  • List Might get stale shortly after opening the bagElement

These aren't your ordinary marshmallows. They've been dehydrated to perfection and come in bright hues and different sizes. The colors for these marshmallows are directly inspired by St. Patrick's Day celebrations!

Pros
  • Made of high-quality ingredients
  • Different colors make it attractive to consumers
  • Fosters the spirit of St. Patrick's Day
Cons 
  • Not many marshmallows in the bag
  • Prone to getting stale shortly after opening the bag

Buyer's Guide to Buying Dehydrated Candy

In the quest for the perfect dehydrated marshmallow, there are many factors to consider.

Packaging

You should consider whether the container of the marshmallow you want to buy can be sealed or not after opening. Some dehydrated marshmallow packages come in resealable bags, while others do not.

Those that don’t come with resealable bags will be prone to exposure to moisture, oxygen, and light if they aren’t consumed on time. Exposure to all these elements can lead to deterioration and discoloration.

Candies which come in air-tight containers are best suited for long-term use, in so far as you can be sure that you keep excessive air and moisture from entering it when in storage.

Size of the Package

Another factor to consider is how many servings are contained in each package.

Some people only need a small individual portion per serving. As such they may be reluctant to purchase an entire pound bag because that would be wasteful and expensive for them if they can't finish all of their candy before its expiration date!

Sugar Content, Ingredients, and Possible Allergens

You need to read the label carefully. Is this product sugar-free? Does it contain high fructose corn syrup? What are the ingredients?

If you or someone in your family has celiac disease, food allergies, and/or other dietary restrictions then you'll want to pick up on this factor.

If there's anything with gluten listed, which may be disguised by names like maltodextrin, those who are gluten-free could become very sick.

You also need to check whether the product contains any allergens. Some examples of common allergens found in commercially produced foods include peanuts and dairy products.

Price

Another factor which cannot be overlooked is the price of the candy product. Some people prefer not to pay a lot for a pound of candies because they don't think that it’s worth it.

Others won’t mind paying much if the quality, taste, and size of the package was superior enough in comparison with similar products available on shelves where they would like to buy their dehydrated candies.

Decide what your priorities are before you start shopping for candies! The last thing you want is buyer's remorse.

Flavor

The variety in flavors of dehydrated candy is typically limited, but the best brands often have a good assortment. Consumers should look for products that offer interesting flavors instead of just the typical chocolate or vanilla options.

FAQs for Dehydrated Candies

Does Dehydrated Candy Have Any Benefits?

In short, yes it does. Dehydrated candies have lower risk of spoilage, help in waste reduction, have a lower risk of contamination, among other benefits.

How Long Does Freeze Dried Candy Last?

When stored correctly, freeze dried candy can preserve your favorite candies for up to 25 years. It's a good idea to include an oxygen absorber into your frozen freeze dried candy package in order to preserve all of the texture and taste that is present within them.

Does Freeze Drying Retain Your Candy's Nutritional Value?

The dehydrating process retains your candy's original nutritional value. However, dried candy loses its water content, so it’s usually smaller in size and has more calories by weight.

How Do You Freeze-Dry Candy?

First, you should get a reliable food freeze-dryer. Next, ensure that the candies are in small chunks if they are not small already. Then place the candies on the freeze-drying tray and spread them out evenly. Now, slide the tray into the machine and switch it on!

How Do I Rehydrate Dehydrated Marshmallows?

Rehydrating dehydrated marshmallows is easy. Simply place them in a bowl and pour hot water over them. Let the mixture sit for about five minutes and drain away any excess water before serving. That’s all there is to it!

How Should I Store Dehydrated Marshmallows?

You should store dehydrated marshmallows at a constant room temperature in a dark place. If your area generally has high humidity, make sure to store them in an airtight container in order to prevent moisture from entering.

In order for a dehydrated marshmallow to maintain its shape and flavor, it should always be stored at an ambient temperature and at an adjustable temperature setting.

Can You Dehydrate Store-Bought Marshmallows?

Yes, you can dehydrate store-bought marshmallows. You'll want to cut them up into small pieces before layering them on wax paper in your dehydrator. Make sure they have plenty of space between them!

Vacuum drying is a popular form of drying method. Another option for dehydration is leaving the candy in direct sun.

What Is the Best Method for Drying?

The best method for drying is the freeze-drying process. This process removes any amount of water present in the candy by reducing the temperature to a very low level.

Drying time may vary from 24 - 48 hours depending on the type and amount of moisture present in the candy!

Can Dehydrated Marshmallows Be Rehydrated?

Yes, they can! If you're wondering what's the best way to go about this and how many gallons of water would even be needed, we recommend microwaving or soaking in clean warm water for about 8 - 18 hours.

However, you need to make sure to control water activity by inspecting your candy from time to time.

Why Are My Marshmallows Sticky?

When humidity is present in the container, your hard candy will absorb any moisture. In this situation, vacuum-drying can be used to absorb moisture and prevent the candy from sticking to its packaging or wrapping material.

Is There a Way to Unstick Marshmallows?

Both dehydrated and freeze dried treats have the potential to be sticky on flat surfaces.

You may want to use a spatula or similar kitchen tools to cut away marshmallows if they become stuck on dehydrator trays. To make this easier, spray your work surface with cooking oil before cutting out the shapes. Next, wait an hour or two to let the spray evaporate before proceeding further.

If you intend to dehydrate your marshmallows, you can use parchment paper in order to prevent any sticking to the dehydrator.

Do Dehydrated Marshmallows Shrink?

Yes, they do. Dehydrated marshmallows will shrink in size, but will maintain their original shape. 

This shrinking is due to the removal of moisture content during the dehydrating process. When heated back up to their original serving size, they'll puff back up like new!

Where Should I Store Marshmallows?

Dehydrated candy can be stored in the same place as other foods. Dehydrated marshmallows, like other dehydrated foodstuffs, should be kept in a sealed container, away from heat and moisture. 

This will lengthen the shelf life of all dehydrated foods. If you're storing these types of food items in jars, try to use glass or stainless steel containers that don't allow light into them. Airtight snap-on lids are recommended for this type of storage in order to keep any unnecessary air out.

How Can I Prevent Marshmallows From Melting?

The best way to keep dehydrated marshmallows from melting is by storing them in a place free from heat. This is why you need to store your treats in a cool, dry place.

Conclusion

When deciding what dehydrated candy to serve as treats at your picnic or party, always consider your budget, allergies, and the possibility of resealing the marshmallow's container!

With all these factors in mind, you’re well on your way towards making the best decision as to what delight you should treat yourself to!

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Best Vegetables to Dehydrate in Preparation for Winter

So, you’re in a dilemma. You’ve harvested a whole lot of vegetables from your garden so that they don’t rot during the cold weather. Now you’re left wondering, “Is there a way to prevent them from spoiling? If so, what is the best way?”

Well, we have good news for you. You don’t have to watch your vegetables rot, because you can easily preserve them by dehydration!

What Is Dehydration?

Dehydration is one way to preserve food. It involves using a dehydrator to remove moisture or water content from food in order to make it last longer.

There are many different reasons why people choose to dehydrate foods, but the most popular reason is for personal use.

What Are the Best Vegetables to Dehydrate?

Dehydrating vegetables is a good way to use your products for a longer period of time.

The best vegetables for dehydration are those that possess a large volume of water content. We’ve listed some of them below.

Cabbage

Cabbage isn't well-known as a dehydration treatment due to its dryness, but it's actually very feasible.

After you dehydrate your cabbage, there are many things you can do with it. One head of cabbage can make a lot of food!

You can sauté the cabbage in a pan with olive oil and then add some soy sauce, vinegar, or teriyaki sauce. You can also just rehydrate the cabbage before eating it as an ingredient for something else.

Cabbage is good for your body because it has calcium and potassium. You can use cabbage in salads, soups, and smoothies.

Carrots

Dehydrated carrots are delicious! The process of dehydrating turns them into crispy chips that you’ll love.

If you want a snack, carrots are a good food to keep in your pantry. This is because they have vitamin A and antioxidant properties that will help protect against cancer.

Carrots also have calcium for strong bones and potassium to support heart health!

Cauliflower

Dehydrating cauliflower will take away its strong smell. The dehydrated product isn’t bad, but it's useful for other things like adding to soups or making a tasty side dish.

Canned soup with dehydrated cauliflower tastes great!

You can also use the dried-out florets as a crunchy snack. Cauliflower has vitamin C and is anti-inflammatory!

Onions

Dehydrating onions can be hard to do, but it’s worth the effort to make onion powder.

Make sure your dehydrator doesn't have any moisture left inside before using it in order to make onion powder.

Onions have vitamin C and quercetin, which is an antioxidant. You can use them in many dishes like omelets and sandwiches to add a little extra flavor.

Potatoes

There are so many ways to prepare potatoes, especially sweet potatoes . They can be eaten as they are or made into an entire themselves.

Potatoes can be cooked and served in a variety of ways, such as chips, hash browns, and mixtures with salads and soups.

Spinach

To make smoothies, you can actually add dry spinach.

Spinach is an excellent vegetable because it has lots of good minerals in it, such as magnesium, potassium, folate, and vitamin A. Surprisingly, most of its calories come from protein.

Zucchini

The amazing thing about dehydrating zucchini is that it saves you time in the kitchen! You can stuff, bake, or even create bread from your dried zucchini.

Zucchini is a great way to get your daily dose of vitamin A, C, E, and K. Zucchini also has numerous amounts of calcium, iron, and zinc!

Corn

Corn is a good vegetable to make for dehydration. It can be eaten in many ways, such as in soups, stews, fritters, and more. Not to mention, it’s cheap!

This vegetable is high in vitamins A, C, and E. It also contains minerals including calcium and iron.

Tomatoes

Yes, we’re well aware that there have always been arguments about whether tomatoes are fruit or vegetables.

But, we thought to include them in the list for folks who think of it as a vegetable!

Tomatoes are good for dehydration and they can be used in many dishes. With dehydration, you get something that is similar to sun dried tomatoes.

This spice is a good addition to a lot of food. Tomato powder has many vitamins in it, including vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, choline, and niacin.

Are Dehydrated Vegetables Healthy?

It’s important to know that dehydrating vegetables doesn’t take away any of its nutritional value. When the water in the vegetables evaporates, their nutritional value remains intact and their freshness is retained.

Top Reasons to Dehydrate Vegetables

Aside from the hundreds of recipes that dried vegetables allow you to make, dehydration has other advantages. We’ve listed some advantages for you below.

  • More nutritious method of preserving vegetablesKeeps your products fresh for longer
  • Keeps your products fresh for longer
  • Simple to store
  • Makes food preparation quicker
  • Requires little to no materials
  • More cost-effective

How to Dry Vegetables in a Dehydrator

A food dehydrator is one of the most common methods to dry vegetables. Excalibur fruit, vegetables, fruit leather, jerky, fish, and herbs are all excellent candidates for drying on an excalibur food dehydrator.

Don’t worry, this equipment is easy to use because it’s quick and simple!

Consider the circulation of hot air while using a dehydrator when choosing the best model. The hot air might circulate through the trays and dry out your vegetables.

Vegetables that undergo the dehydration process in a machine don’t take up much space, so they can be kept for longer periods of time. You can also use them to make other kinds of dried food.

Steps to Dry Vegetables in a Dehydrator

  • Place your sliced and seasoned vegetables on the dehydrator trays
  • Turn on the dehydrator to begin the drying process
  • Vegetables usually take 8 - 12 hours to dry at 125 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Check the appliance's instructions for proper dehydration of fruits and vegetables
  • When the drying time is almost up, check on the veggies frequently
  • Allow vegetables to cool for approximately 30 - 60 minutes after cooking

How to Use Dehydrated Vegetables

Dehydrated vegetables are a great way to add variety to your diet! Since they’ll stay fresh for a long time, you can prepare almost anything you want whenever you want within a couple of hours.

Below, we’ve listed a handful of things that you can do with dehydrated vegetables!

  • Make soup or stew
  • Blend into a fine powder to use in purees, curries, burgers, and soups
  • Take your bread to the next level with dehydrated onion, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes
  • Put the ingredients in the blender, add water, and make a sauce
  • Make fruit juice or smoothies with your vegetable powder using cold water or cool water

How to Preserve Dehydrated Vegetables

Packing your vegetables in an airtight container by using a vacuum sealer is a good way to keep them nice and fresh.

Make sure to label your containers about the vegetable and the date you dehydrated them. It might also be nice to have your dried veggies measured before dehydration so they're easier to use in the future.

After you’ve finished packing your containers, leave them for 24 hours to allow any moisture to go away. Next, store them in a cool and dry place with no sun.

How Long Do Dehydrated Vegetables Last?

It should come as a relief to know that dehydrated vegetables that are prepared and stored correctly can last up to five years!

Some dried veggies have a shelf life of more than ten years.

Considerations and Tips for Dehydrating Vegetables

When dehydrating vegetables, you should consider applying the following measures from time to time.

  • Cut the vegetables into thin pieces
  • When dehydrating bigger vegetables, turn or stir them every 3 - 4 hours
  • Remove the trays before switching off the electric dehydrator
  • Don’t cook or steam vegetables before drying them if you plan to eat them raw or boiled
  • If the vegetables are going to be cooked again, you should steam them for 8 minutes before drying them
  • To prepare corn for dehydration, simmer it before drying
  • If you want to cook dried beans, don't mix them with other veggies

Bottom Line

Now that you know what some of the best vegetables to dehydrate are, you need to remember that dehydrated vegetables are a great way of adding variety to your diet. You can prepare almost anything you want whenever you want within a couple of hours!

Consider adding dehydrated vegetables to your soups, stews, on top of salads, or used as flour when baking bread and pastries.

Dehydrating vegetables is an easy process that will help you to preserve your veggies and ensure that you have enough food stored for when winter finally comes!

The Top 5 Best Food Dehydrators of 2021

Dehydration is one of the oldest and most reliable ways to preserve food. Originally, this was accomplished through sun-drying, but ideally, you want to be able to dry your fruits and vegetables without the stress or inconvenience that comes with relying on the weather.

For those interested in more automated methods of dehydration, we’ve outlined the top five best food dehydrators of 2021 for you.

Overall Top Choice

1. Excalibur 9-Tray Electric Food Temperature Dehydrator

Many things set the Excalibur Electric Food Temperature Dehydrator apart from its competition. It comes with a guide for dehydrating food. Add that to its ease of use, and you’re practically guaranteed no trouble getting started. This dehydrator has 15 square feet of space, which is more than enough for a single serving of food.

We also love the temperature and time features of this product. It has a 26-hour configurable timer that shuts off automatically. It also has an adjustable thermostat that ranges from 105 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This range provides temperatures cool enough for vegetables and hot enough for meats.

There are many dehydrators on the market - trust us, we checked - but few have the parallax horizontal airflow that the Excalibur 9-Tray Dehydrator has. The patented design is incredibly effective at preserving nutrients and enzymes in the food.

If you’re like us, you love it when a product has additional perks. And the Excalibur comes with a flexible poly screen tray insert that keeps your food from sticking to the dehydrator tray. 

Pros
  • 15 square feet of space
  • Wide temperature range with active control
  • Comes with a user’s guide and flexible poly-screen tray
  • Preserves the nutrients and enzymes in your food.
Cons 
  • The product is not returnable
  • It’s more expensive than other products in its category

We fell in love with this dehydrator immediately after unboxing. It has a solid plastic body with 10 stainless trays and an array of convenient features. 

The rear mount fan works with the heating element to ensure that everything in the dehydrator experiences even heat distribution. This way, all your food dries at the same time, and you don’t have to rotate your shelves every few hours. 

The Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine also has a digital thermostat and timer that work together to dehydrate food while not burning it. The adjustable temperature control triggers the automatic shutoff when your timer is done, and the settings are entirely configurable.

Remember the 10 stainless trays we mentioned? Well, there are actually mesh trays and regular trays. The regular trays will hold your jerky and other large foods, while the extra trays are for nuts and herbs.

One thing we found interesting was how easy this appliance was to clean. Normally, you’d expect a long process due to the complicated design, but all you need to do is pull out the trays and load them into a dishwasher because they’re all dishwasher safe!

Pros
  • The temperature range can go as high as 165 degrees Fahrenheit
  • You can dehydrate up to 11 pounds of food in one go
  • Rear mount fan that distributes the heat evenly
  • All the trays are dishwasher safe
Cons 
  • It doesn’t come with a user guide
  • The plastic body may warp slightly with prolonged use

The Magic Mill Food Dehydrator isn’t magic, but it's pretty close. It has a lot of functionality that makes it a convenient choice if you’re looking for a dehydrator that delivers. Even though it’s not the cheapest product on this list, it’s packed with features that justify its price point.

Easiest to Use

3. COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine

What we love most about this product is the control it allows. You can set the timer for up to 48 hours, which is great for making beef jerky, and you can also increase the time in 30-minute increments. Additionally, it comes with 6 stainless steel trays that include a mesh screen, a fruit roll mesh sheet, and a recipe book.

You’ll notice a trend with the products on this list. Many of them are made of high-grade durable plastic. But not this dehydrator; the manufacturers went all out with a food-grade stainless steel exterior that adds style and luxury to your kitchen.

Another great feature of the COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine is its silent operation. The noise is less than 48dB, which is essentially as quiet as a library. Add that to the timer function, and it easily becomes one of the most user-friendly products on this list.

All 6 trays are dishwasher safe, and you can easily wipe down the interior of the dehydrator for cleaning. Its rear-mounted fan also consistently distributes heat evenly. 

Pros
  • Food-grade stainless steel body
  • Comes with 6 different trays including a fruit roll sheet
  • LED display that makes programming a breeze
  • Rear mount fan for even heat distribution
Cons 
  • Can’t hold more than 5 pounds of jerky
  • The owner’s manual doesn’t help with troubleshooting

If you’re looking for a convenient way to dehydrate your food without having to turn the pieces every hour, this is the product for you. The timer, temperature setting, and stainless steel construction all allow you to set it, forget it, and come back for your dehydrated foods later. While not the cheapest, this dehydrator is also reasonably priced.

Best in a Pinch

4. Elechomes 6-Tray Dryer Food Dehydrator

The Elechomes 6-Tray dryer has a very simple design that involves a see-through tray section and a control screen below. But while simple, this appliance still gets the job done. It has 6 stackable trays that can accommodate a variety of foods, from beef jerky and fruits to vegetables and herbs.

The trays are BPA-FREE and each layer has two adjustable heights. This ensures that you can dry different kinds of food at once by varying their distance from the heat source. The transparent trays also allow you to see exactly what’s happening to your food.

As expected, the Elechomes 6-Tray Dryer has an adjustable thermostat and a digital timer. The control panel lets you set the temperature from anything between 95 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit, and the timer goes from 30 minutes to 3 days.

One of the most important features of a product is peace of mind, and the Elechomes Dryer offers it without fail. The product comes with an 18 month-warranty and access to customer service. You also get a user manual to navigate the product's settings or troubleshoot if necessary.

Pros
  • The electric food dehydrator can dry pet treats
  • Stackable trays that are also BPA-Free 
  • Maximum time of 3 days
  • 18-month warranty
Cons 
  • Won’t dry your food without the proper preset temperature
  • The body could have a higher quality

The Elechomes Dehydrator’s affordable price, durable build, warranty and simplicity make it great for people who are looking to fill a quick need in their kitchen. 

Most Budget Friendly

5. Elite Gourmet EFD319 Food Dehydrator

The Elite Gourmet Food Dehydrator is the most affordable product on this list, while still being able to give more expensive alternatives a run for their money. Its design is very similar to the Elechomes 6-tray dryer, with a see-through lid and adjustable temperature.

This electric food dehydrator sports a knob control that lets you take the heat from 95 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit. It can dry everything from snacks and fruits to herbs. 

This dehydrator is especially great for hobbyists who are looking to dry flowers, craft dough, or pet treats. The product is easy to clean too. You simply load the trays in the dishwasher and clean the clear lid. 

Now, you may be wondering if this budget dehydrator has a heat distribution system. It does, and the fan is mounted on the base, distributing air to the 5 horizontal plastic trays. The product is also safety tested and comes with a power rating of 350W. 

Pros
  • The temperature goes between 95 and 158 degrees
  • Transparent lid and trays let you see your food as it dehydrates
  • It weighs only 6 pounds
  • The dehydrator is easy to clean
Cons 
  • It may give off a strange odor on first use if you don’t wash it properly
  • It takes a while to get the job done

The Elite Gourmet EFD319 Food Dehydrator is 4X cheaper than our top pick and is perfect if you’re looking for a dryer that works. It doesn't have a fancy LED display or a week-long timer setting but it still gets the job done quickly and efficiently. 

Things to Know Before You Buy

You may have noticed that we focused on a couple of features in all the dehydrators we mentioned. That’s because these are critical for getting the most out of your purchase. We’ve also outlined them here.

Capacity

How large is the dehydrator and how much food can it hold during each use? These appliances come in multiple sizes, and the larger the capacity, the more expensive the dehydrator will be. 

It helps to have an idea of what quantity you expect to dry during each use. For example, our top pick has a capacity of 15 square inches. Some other products have slightly smaller capacities.

Drying Consistency

One of the perks of using a dehydrator is the associated ease; you don't have to turn your food as you do with sun drying. Unfortunately, some dehydrators are more reliable than others when it comes to drying consistency. 

We’ve found that those with a mounted fan tend to dry more evenly because the hot air circulates. It also helps to have lots of counter space in the dryer so you can space out your food.

Drying Power

If you want to dry a kind of jerky specifically, be careful because not all products can handle the variety of food you may be looking to dry. Meat is more prone to spoiling than vegetables, and your dehydrator needs to be hot and quick enough to handle it. It also needs a circulation method to keep the air flowing around the meat.

FAQs

Are food dehydrators the best option for drying food?

All methods of drying food have their pros and cons. For example, solar drying is relatively free but requires more attention and effort. A food dehydrator may be easier to use, but you have to know the correct settings to calibrate your machine correctly.

How much power will an electric food dehydrator consume?

Interestingly, many dehydrators consume less power than a microwave oven. Depending on the manufacturer, your dryer can consume between 300 W and 600 W. Considering that a regular-sized microwave can use up to 1800 Watts, dehydrators shouldn’t be much of a concern. 

Conclusion

There are many dehydrators to choose from. If you’re looking for the best of the best, we highly recommend the Excalibur 9-Tray Dehydrator. It has all the bells and whistles, a large interior capacity, and a highly efficient airflow. The dryer also comes with a 26-hour timer and a high maximum temperature for drying everything from fruits to jerky.

If you're looking for something on a budget, try the Elite Gourmet EFD319 Food Dehydrator. It has a simple design that makes it easy to move and focuses primarily on drying food with few extra conveniences. 

The Best Ways to Sun-Dry Food: Ultimate Guide

Sun-drying is the oldest known method for dehydrating food. This historical seal of approval means there’s an array of nutritional and culinary benefits.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to properly sun-dry everything from fruits to vegetables to meats. We’ll also discuss some other methods of dehydration that may be useful.

What is Sun-drying?

Sun drying, also known as solar drying, is the process of using the sun’s heat energy and surrounding air movement to extract moisture from your food. And while that may sound complex, it’s actually quite simple. 

Before we get into the specifics of sun drying, it’s a great idea to first talk about why sun drying is a good idea. As you know, there are various dehydration techniques, yet sun-drying continues to remain a first choice for many. 

Benefits of Sun-drying Food

1. Sun-dried foods retain large amounts of nutrients

Minerals, vitamins, and fiber: they’re all there. Because the process is slow and free of any unnecessary radiation, only the moisture makes its way out of your food, keeping your food as healthy and pure as possible.

2. Sun-drying is economical

Food dehydrators can cost upwards of 300 dollars, not to mention electricity costs and maintenance costs. And while these expenditures seem relatively harmless, they quickly add up to more than sun drying ever would cost.

3. Your food retains most of its original flavor

If you’re looking for authentic and original flavors, sun drying is your best bet. The process is slow, steady, and gentle, gradually drawing moisture from your food. As a result, you can expect most of the origins and unique flavors in the food to remain intact.

Cons of Sun-drying your Food

Sun-drying isn’t exactly a perfect approach. There are drawbacks as well, and these are crucial to understanding if sun drying is right for you.

1. It’s not always available

This is where using a dehydrator trumps sun drying. It’s easy to hook up the appliance and stick food in there any time of the day.

Sun drying, on the other hand, is completely weather-dependent. You can’t sun-dry in rainy or cold weather, and you only have a few hours of sunlight in the day. Plus, if the sun doesn't hit the minimum temperature required, nothing gets done.

2. It can be stressful

Sun drying is a labor-intensive technique that involves spreading the food out in a way that maximizes solar exposure. You also have to pay close attention because some foods dry out easier, and flavor will be lost. Plus, if the weather shifts suddenly, you have to quickly move your food indoors.

3. It can take a while

Depending on the humidity and the kind of food you’re drying you may have to wait up to 4 days to get the best results. Sun heat - even in warmer climates - is slow and won’t evaporate the moisture as quickly as a machine could. Food may even get moldy before it dries.

What Kinds of Foods Can You Sun-Dry?

You can dehydrate almost any kind of fresh food. Some will fare better than others, but if it has moisture, you can sun-dry it. Here’s a list of some of the best foods to sun-dry:

  • Fruits and vegetables: These are some of the most commonly dried foods. They include apples, bananas, apricots, carrots, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Dried fruits and vegetables can be used as purees for fruit leather or added to soups and made as a part of backpacking meals.
  • Meat and fish: Besides freezing, drying is a fantastic way to preserve meat and fish. The food can last a long time then be added to stews and soups with no problem. You can dry everything from ground beef or meat jerkies to chicken or fresh fish.
  • Nuts and seeds: Drying nuts and seeds makes them more digestible. Popular nuts to dry include walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, and macadamia nuts.
  • Sprouted grains: Sun-drying sprouted grains can preserve the nutrients while you store them. Great grains to dry include rice, barley, quinoa, and amaranth.
  • Herbs: Fresh Herbs are an important part of your kitchen, and drying can make them last much longer. Commonly dried herbs include oregano, basil, parsley, mint, and lemon.

How to Prepare your Food for Sun-drying

The most important thing to remember when sun drying food is the thickness. You need to maintain an even thickness, so everything dries at the same rate. Remember that solar heat is only available during certain hours of the day. If some pieces are thicker than others, it can cause rot during storage.

It’s also important to sun-dry only the best fruits. If you dry a subpar fruit or seed, you're going to end up with subpar products. Pick out the freshest foods you can find, and make sure to dry them before they spoil.

How to Sun-Dry Food

Step 1: Preparation

Make sure that the fruits are clean and fresh. Wash them to remove any dirt or pesticides. Next, cut the fruit in half and remove any seeds or core areas. Cut into slices of even thickness, as discussed earlier. This ensures that they are sun-dried evenly.

For fruits like apples, you can use a slicing device. These have been around for a long time, and are great for slicing and peeling simultaneously.

Step 2: Blanch

Blanching refers to the process of preheating your fruits before dehydrating them in order to neutralize the enzymes in them. Blanching can also be used for vegetables. Avoiding this step may make the final product have a poor flavor and color.

To blanch, you’ll need to place the fruits or vegetables in a steamer and heat the water beneath to boiling. Exposure between 2 and 5 minutes is optimal. You can also blanch by dipping the fruits in hot water. Although one problem with this approach is that you may lose some coloring and nutrients to the water.

Step 3: Pretreat

Pretreating isn’t a necessary step, but it can keep light-colored fruits from darkening during the drying and storage phase. It also speeds up the drying process for fruits that have tough skins.

To prepare the pretreatment solution, you’ll need ½ teaspoon of ascorbic acid per one quart of cold water. Dip the fruit slices in the ascorbic acid solution for a full minute, then drain them.

Step 4: Sun-Dry

As you know, drying time varies between foods. For example, tomatoes will dry much faster than nuts. Be sure to turn your food about once a day to ensure even drying. You’ll know your fruits are dehydrated when they are wrinkled, dry, and have a kind of leathery or pliable texture. 

How Do You Store Sun-dried Foods?

If you don’t already know, sun-dried foods don’t need refrigeration. The lack of moisture increases their shelf life by a significant margin. Here are simple but effective techniques you can use to store your sun-dried fruits and vegetables.

Keep away from air and moisture

The best way to do this is by using an air-tight container. You want to pack the food into clean, dry containers that are insect-proof. Keep the packing tight without crushing the dried foods. If you have the right equipment, you can also use vacuum packaging. 

Pack recipe-sized portions together

Every time you open a package to retrieve some food, you expose the rest to air and moisture. This can lower the quality of your dried foods, especially if done frequently. To avoid this, only pack roughly enough food for one recipe in each package.

Use within 4 months to 1 year

According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, dried foods should be consumed within a year of storage. Some may last longer than others, depending on a variety of factors, but keeping it under a year is always the safest option. 

It’s also best to keep the storage temperature cool because higher temperatures can shorten the storage time and cause food spoilage.

What other food-drying techniques are there?

As you know, sun drying is an ancient technique used to dehydrate and preserve foods. Even though it’s quite effective, there are other ways to dehydrate food as well. Here are two popular ones

Oven-drying

As the name suggests, you’ll be using your oven for this technique. The oven needs to stay on for a long time, so you have to pay extra attention to avoid accidents. With oven drying, you’ll be following many of the steps associated with sun drying.

The difference begins at step 4 where you’ll need to lay the food in the oven. Ensure that the pieces are completely separated before turning on the oven. It also helps to lay out the slices on wire racks that have been placed on a cookie sheet. Next, set the oven temperature and get to drying.

Pros of oven-drying

  • No extra investment needed: The chances are that you have an oven at home, so you won’t need to go out and buy anything. The only work involved is preparing the fruits and paying attention.
  • You probably already know how to do it: Because you likely own an oven, you’re also likely familiar with how it works, including temperature settings, the timer, and other specifics. With a food dehydrator, you’d have to learn about it from scratch.

Cons of oven-drying

  • It’s harder to control: This method of food dehydration can quickly get out of hand, which is why we recommend paying attention to the process. It also consumes a lot more energy than a dehydrator.

Using a Food Dehydrator

An electric dehydrator is specifically designed to dry fruits and vegetables, and they are a favorite for many pros. Beginners, on the other hand, may have some initial trouble with them.

Dehydrators often come with dehydrator trays where you can lay out your evenly-cut pieces of food. Each manufacturer tends to design their products fairly differently, so be sure to read the owner’s manual for instructions.

Pros of using an electric dehydrator

  • It makes fruits taste sweeter: A dehydrator will intensify the sugar content of fruits as the water content is extracted. Thus, the dehydrated food will taste much sweeter than its fresh counterparts. However, note that no extra sugar is added; it only feels that way because the fruit is smaller. 
  • You can save a ton of money: If you own a dehydrator, you can pretty much dry anything you want. You can now take advantage of sales in your supermarket by stocking up on certain fruits and vegetables with no worries about expiration dates.

Cons of using a dehydrator

  • You may lose some Vitamins A and C: According to WebMD, dehydration may reduce the number of vitamins in your fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, this can’t be avoided - as it happens while the food is resting on the dehydrator trays.

Conclusion

Sun-drying is an excellent way to dehydrate your food. It preserves the original nutrients and taste of the food while also saving a considerable amount of money. 

The process of sun-drying isn’t complicated either. Anyone can learn how to do it, and hopefully, this article is the only resource one interested in dehydration may need.

10 Things To Look For In A Food Dehydrator

Whether you want to make your own beef jerky, healthy fruit leather snacks for your children or increase the variety of food options in your kitchen you’ll need a dehydrator. Food dehydrator use has become extremely common in recent years.

With the increase in its popularity especially among fitness and health enthusiasts the industry has grown a lot. You can find various brands and models with different features and price ranges. The results vary and depend on not just your drying process, but also the machine itself. If you’re new to the world of food dehydrators, picking one can seem like a difficult task. 

So, before you can pick a brand or choose a model you need to know what to look for. This will help you pick a dehydrator which can offer the results you’re looking for. The only way to avoid making a bad purchase or buyer’s regret is to do research beforehand. 

Figuring out your drying needs is a good place to start. So, a few questions to ask yourself may include:

  • Do you have a specific budget?
  • What kind of foods do you want to dehydrate? 
  • Are you plant-based or looking to make your own jerky? 
  • Is your goal drying hom-grown or store bought produce? 
  • What quantities do you need to dry at one time? 
  • Do you use a dishwasher to clean your trays? 
  • If you have recipes in mind what temperature ranges do they require? 

Once you figure out what your needs are you can start looking for a dehydrator that caters to those requirements. Whether you’re purchasing your first food dehydrator or swapping yours out for a newer model here are 10 things you need to consider. 

Ample Space

As a baseline you need to know what your space requirements are so you can get a suitable dehydrator. Not just in how much food you’ll need to dry at a single time, but also in terms of storage space in your kitchen. Understandable, bigger models are more expensive so you’ll need to work within your budget.

If you feel like you’ll need to dehydrate large quantities or that your batch size may increase over time you should get a model with expandable trays. This is particularly helpful for people who host lunches or parties. Food dehydrator use is extremely diverse so you can even make multiple batches of fruit leathers for children’s parties or bake sales. That gives you a fun yet healthy option that children will enjoy because they taste similar to taffy.

With designs that have expandable trays you can get a smaller model that fits your day to day needs and add more trays when you’re catering to larger groups. You can even purchase more trays later. When there are a fixed amount of trays you’re setting a cap on the batch size you can get. 

It’s important for buyers to know that this is an option. Otherwise, they may end up spending extra on a model that’s too big just because they have to cater a few events a year. Or alternatively, miss out on an expandable model that would better cater to their needs.

Shelving Strategy

As a thumb rule you never want to show up at an outlet with no idea what the product options are. That gives the sales person a bad impression and also generally sets you back because if you don’t know what you want chances are you won’t like whatever you do end up getting.

When it comes to food dehydrators you get two main types with the variation being in the shelving strategy. 

Type 1 – Stacking

The idea is in the name. With stacking you get one tray on top of another tray with the fan generally in the bottom of the dehydrator. But it can also be placed in the power unit. So, the air circulates through the passage between trays. This automatic filtration process means you don’t have to put in the extra effort to rotate trays. 

You can add or remove trays and increase or decrease the batch size depending on your needs. With stacking you get greater capacity which is what makes it so popular among buyers. On the negative side, it’s harder to check on the food in each tray while it’s drying. If you’re new to food dehydrator use then this may present a problem. With this type of dehydrator you also have to make sure you’re stacking around the hole in the center and avoiding the channel

Type 2 – Shelving

The second option is for dehydrators that have built in shelves. These shelves slide in and out which some users find easier. The fan is in the back as opposed to the bottom so it’s blowing air horizontally. That gives you a more even and consistent drying effect. Similar to the previous type there is no need to rotate trays.

Dehydrator sheets with apple slices and cinnamon

The advantage of the shelves system is that it’s easy to check whether your items are done because you can simply pull the trays out. You also don’t have to worry about where you’re placing trays. Since there is no channel you can utilize all the available space to set your trays. 

However, now you have the opposite problem. Because the shelves are built in the space is restricted and you can’t increase the shelving capacity. Since you’re not stacking you can only fit as many trays as each shelf will hold. 

Overall, both types offer different pros and have different cons. It all depends on your preferences and needs. 

Temperature Controls

Different recipes require different temperature settings. This is important to note, especially if you’re completely new to food dehydrator use because many models come with a fixed temperature setting. The number one factor you need to look for when you’re buying a dehydrator is an adjustable thermostat.  

Having one setting is extremely limiting and will ruin your drying experience. You want to be able to try a variety of fun recipes and change the settings accordingly. When it comes to adjustable thermostats the general range is from 95 F to 155 F. The specifics may vary from one model to another, but if the values are near this range you’re good to go. 

Don’t be concerned if a recipe asks for a higher temperature than this. You don’t need to go looking for a 200 F thermostat for one product. Increasing the drying time will give you the same result.

Fan Position

The position of the fan matters because they control the quality of airflow and circulation. You’ll find three common fan positions. So, they’ll be placed on the bottom of the dehydrator, the top or at the back. If the fan is on the top or bottom you’re getting vertical airflow and if it’s in the back you’ll get a horizontal airflow. 

A horizontal circulation pattern gives you a more even and consistent drying effect. You also won’t need to rotate trays. If the dehydrator has a vertical circulation pattern the trays on the top and bottom will receive different amounts of heat exposure so you won’t get the same effect. This is a less efficient distribution system and is harder to clean.

The fans themselves will range from four to seven inches in diameter and consume between 300 to 1000 W of power. Specific details vary depending on the brand and the price. On occasion you may find a dual fan option. This is not necessarily an upgrade because it makes the system noisy. However, if you’re willing to overlook that for better airflow it is an option.

Accessories

Often the differences between models come down to the accessories they have. For example, a clear door is a plus because it lets you check on the food without opening the door. With a dark or opaque door you have to open it to keep an eye on the progress and you lose heat each time. 

When you’re dehydrating food you want to maintain a consistent temperature over a given time so a clear door is definitely a point to put on your checklist. Another accessory that can help is a timer. While you can obviously clock the time with your phone or a separate device, having a timer on the machine is an added convenience. 

Some models come with an added feature where the dehydrator turns off as soon as the timer rings. If this is a specification available to you, consider the value it may add to your purchase. 

BPA Free Products

BPA or bisphenol A is a chemical used in polycarbonate plastics which are materials used to make food containers. Other forms of plastic that are not BPA free have harmful chemicals and should not be used for cooking or storing food. They can cause health concerns like heart problems or asthma. 

So making sure your dehydrator is safe for use and made using a BPA free material especially because they use heat to cook. You don’t want your machine releasing toxins at a high temperature. Generally, brands will list this on their site clearly so it’s easy to tell if a food dehydrator is BPA free.

Dishwasher suited

With dehydrators like with all cooking devices cleanliness and hygiene is key. If you’re drying meats they’re going to give off juices. If you’re dehydrating fruits and vegetables they will also leave sticky residue behind. Washing your trays after each use is essential and not a step you can even skip. 

That’s why you should find out whether your chosen mode comes with dishwasher safe trays. Remember this is not a factor you should take for granted. In fact, many dehydrator trays are too big for machine handling and require hand washing. Getting a tray you can wash with the rest of your load will make your life a lot easier.

Price

With dehydrators like with all products there is a huge price range. You can find a quality product for $100 or $500. However, your goal should always be to find the features you need in a food dehydrator that fits within your budget. There are a lot of overly priced models so if you don’t find a suitable one on your first try don’t overspend, just keep looking.

Warranty

Cooking devices are complex machines that get a lot of use. You want a product that comes with a considerable warranty so you can get it repaired if it breaks down. Find out if the company offers replacement parts and whether the service charges are covered. Certain brands even offer up to 10 year warranties.

Storage needs

Getting a dehydrator isn’t just about how much use you can get out of it. A bigger model may have more tray space but it also needs more storage. When you’re surveying the market and looking at kitchen appliances it’s easy to get distracted by all the options and features. However, if there’s one thing you need to remind yourself over and over again it’s this, “how much space does your kitchen have?”

Make sure you’ve allocated shelf space before you start looking at your option. Also, consider that a square design is easy to place next to a wall, but that fancy ground model you like will cause problems in your kitchen. If you have ample space and have already allocated an area then by all means get the round model, just as long as you’re considering all the long-term needs.

Conclusion

Overall, food dehydrator use depends on a few key factors. The basic idea is to remove water from the raw ingredients without reducing their nutritional value. Dehydrators are designed to maintain the alkalinity of your produce and preserve the food without using preservatives. As such you want a machine that controls and manages both temperature and airflow efficiently.

When it comes to specific models you should consider questions like:

  • How much shelf space do you need?
  • Will an expandable tray option add value for you?
  • Do you want the stacking option that lets you add more trays or the shelving model which lets you check on the progress of your food?
  • Does the model cover essential factors like an adjustable thermostat, clear door, BPA free material and warranty?
  • Will the size and shape of the device make it easy to store in your home?

If a food dehydrator fulfills your needs and fits your budget do not hesitate to purchase it right away because this product will change your life. 

10 Reasons To Buy A Food Dehydrator

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.

Camping snacks

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.

Preserve food

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.           

Conclusion

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!

Food Dehydrators To Make Your Own Healthy And Tasty Food

Do you have a large quantity of home-grown vegetables or fruits? Are you keen to make some homemade fruit roll-ups or other homemade healthy snacks? Are you looking for fresh treats for your dog? 

If your answer is yes, then food dehydrating is your answer to having all these and more healthy options instead of store-based snacks. Additionally, you can come up with creative uses for your food hydrator, such as preserving your leftover fresh herbs instead of letting them wilt. 

Simple and economical to use, food dehydrators offer healthy food options to replace store-based food items.

What do food dehydrators do?

Food preservation by dehydrating has been practiced for a very long time. This is because of the simplicity of this technique and the minimal requirements for the process. All that was needed was a safe place for the food to be stored as the moisture dried out. When foods are dehydrated, they are left with concentrated flavors, making the herbs more flavorful and the fruits sweeter.  

The drying process can become nearly perfect with an electric food dehydrator because of the precise air circulation and temperature controls. Dehydrators often have trays that can be easily stacked for maximising the drying area. You can choose between small and large ones based on the quantity of food you want to dehydrate at one time. 

Several factors affect the drying time your food dehydrator requires despite providing a controlled environment, such as differences in the vegetable or fruit sizes, uneven slicing, or differences in the moisture amounts. For best results, always take time in preparing the foods to maintain similarity in thickness and size. 

Read on to find out more about some of the best food dehydrators that will enable you to make delightful dry snacks in your own kitchen:

NESCO FD-1040 Gardenmaster Digital Pro Dehydrator Review

The dehydrator has four trays only; however, you can purchase and use up to 20 additional trays. This provides you with a large amount of space to dry your food. When you add more trays, the drying pressure automatically adjusts according to the number of trays so that the drying process takes place evenly irrespective of the quantity of food you place in them. The digital temperature control can be adjusted from 90 degrees Fahrenheit to 160 degrees.  

The top-mounted fan in this unit comes with a timer that you can set in hours, from one hour to 48 hours depending on your required drying time. The 1000 watts in this model usually needs 10 hours for jerky and 6-10 hours to dry fruit.  

The exterior of this food dehydrator is white and comes with a fruit roll sheet and a screen. If you are looking for more drying space, you can choose the version of this model that comes with six trays, three screens, three roll sheets, a jerky gun, and six packs of jerky spice. 

According to our market research, the digital time settings and temperature of the NESCO Gardenmaster set it apart from competing dehydrators available currently. 

COSORI Premium Stainless Steel Food Dehydrator CP267-FD

This is one of the best-looking dehydrators available in the market. The sleek design is available in black and stainless steel and has a glass door so that you can observe the drying process as it happens. You will find the digital control panel very intuitive and simple to use. The temperature can be set between 95 and 165 Fahrenheit, whereas the timer operates up to 48 hours. With this dehydrator, you are set to make loads of jerky, fruit leather and dried herbs.

The accessories include six stainless steel trays, a mesh screen to dehydrate smaller fruits, and a fruit roll sheet. The dishwasher safe food trays make cleanup easy. One of the best qualities of this model is its quietness. Because dehydrators often run for several hours, you will surely be happier with a silent dehydrator and not one that sounds like a noisy fan as you wait for your food to dry. 

Tribest Sedona Express SDE-S6780-B Digital Food Dehydrator 

You need this machine if you have a lot of produce from your garden or if you want to do your food dehydration on a professional level. The temperature can be adjusted from 77-167 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range means that your jerky can be cooked completely with this dehydrator without having to pre-cook at all. Additionally, you can also switch it automatically from a high temperature initially to a lower one later if you want to quick-dry your food without overcooking. 

With this model, you get 11 stainless steel trays. The LED interior light and glass door will make it convenient to check your foods as they dry. You can also choose between the several cooking modes such as raw, fast, continuous and combination. The timer offers the option to set it for up to 120 hours in all or 99 hours for one mode, which is more than you will probably need. The black exterior is sleek. The fan is placed at the rear of the unit along with the filter that keeps the dust out. This unit cannot be expanded.  

This dehydrator is top-of-the-line and can do everything, which shows in its price tag. To save some of the expense, you can replace the stainless steel trays with plastic ones, though the stainless steel trays will last for a longer time. To recover the cost, you may have to dry large amounts of kale chips, however, with its 10-year warranty, you are likely to get a lot of benefit out of it.

Excalibur 3926TW Excalibur 3926TW 9 

https://www.amazon.com/Excalibur-3926TW-Dehydrator-Temperature-Dehydration/dp/B008OJZRIE

This dehydrator model provides a large drying area with a total of nine trays that have a total surface area of 15 square feet. This can allow you to make seven pounds of jerky with some spare space. The trays all have a nonstick screen fitted inside that is very suitable for the drying process. You can also choose from other kinds of dehydrator sheets for the trays that are perfect to dry sauces and other thick liquids, or to make fruit leather. 

You can adjust the thermostat to various temperatures ranging from 105-165 degrees Fahrenheit. Using the 26-hour timer, you can place the food to dry while you sleep or work. The fan installed at the rear end of the unit ensures even circulation of air. 

For longer foods, such as celery, some trays can be removed to make sufficient space. Additionally, you can use the dehydrator for proofing dough before baking, or warming bread or rolls before serving. If you remove all the trays, you can use it for cultivating homemade yogurt. 

The model is available in two attractive colors and you can choose between black and white. One drawback of this dehydrator model is its rather large size that needs a large area to store. 

Nesco Professional 600W 5-Tray Food Dehydrator

This is the perfect dehydrator model for preparing dried foods in average-sized batches. It is available in a grey speckled exterior. You will get five trays when you buy it, but it can have up to 12 trays if you plan to work with large-sized batches. The model comes with an adjustable thermostat that allows you to adjust the temperature from 95-160 degrees Fahrenheit. The top-mounted fan is designed to direct the air downwards and horizontally on the food trays so the drying occurs evenly. 

You will get two solid line sheets with the dehydrator that are needed to dry sauces, make fruit rollups. There will also be two mesh sheets to use for other foods. You can use the three packs of jerky spice and make your first batch of jerky.   

Our product tester tried it and both the beef jerky and dried fruit were as flavorful as she wished. She thought that the dried fruit was chewier in comparison to the store-bought one which is exactly as she wanted it to be!

Cosori Original Food Dehydrator CO165-FD

This is a compact and affordable model that will be an excellent choice for you if are starting off with your food dehydration and do not require a large food capacity. The smart design comes in a round model and has a mesh screen, a fruit roll sheet, and five BPA-free trays. 

Once you get your jerky recipe down perfectly and want to increase your drying surface, you can get a pack of two additional racks. With the add-on, this model can hold up to seven trays at a time. The racks are easy to clean and dishwasher safe.

The unit is very simple to use. It also works quietly, which is important because dehydrators often run for several hours or even days. 

You can set the temperature and time using the digital controls. The range for temperature is 95-165 degrees Fahrenheit while the timer works up to 48 hours.This unit comes with a two-year warranty. 

NutriChef Food Dehydrator Machine Review

If you are looking for a food dehydrator to use occasionally instead of as means to feed yourself during the harsh, cold winter, you should probably go with a simple, budget-friendly model, such as the NutriChef. This model does all that you require at a very reasonable price. 

The unit’s working is controlled with one button which starts the process for dehydrating food. You can adjust the temperature up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit which enables you to dry your vegetables, fruits and herbs. The dehydrator comes with five stackable and removable trays which are easily cleanable. 

If you are new to dehydrating, you will surely find the simple style of the machine as it allows you to plug and play. However, the model could have included features such as an automatic turn-off and timer. According to the manufacturer, this unit is suitable for making jerky; however, some food safety sites have warnings regarding the use of simple dehydrators to treat meats. We suggest that you read all relevant information in detail before you use this unit for jerky. 

According to our product tester, the best feature of the NutriChef is its silent working. 

Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator Review

This dehydrator is the ideal starter unit and perfect to make small batches of foods. The unit comes with four trays; however, up to four additional trays can be added for twice the drying space. 

The placement of the fan in this unit is at the bottom, which makes it possible for food juices to fall onto it. However, if you keep this in mind while treating fresh produce, you can avoid it. 

The temperature is fixed consistently at approximately 165 degrees Fahrenheit and cannot be adjusted. This is an advantage for beginners as it makes the dehydrator very easy to use because you simply cannot set the incorrect temperature.

You can store the trays nested together for more compact storage. The cord also stores in the base so it is out of the way. You can purchase mesh sheets and fruit roll sheets to fit this unit. The clear top cover enables you to observe the drying process. The white exterior will blend into your kitchen. However, you will have to turn it off yourself as there is no timer. 

Hamilton Beach 5 Tray Digital Food Dehydrator

If you are looking for a dehydrator that you can place long herb sprigs, a steak, or vegetable strips in, you need a rectangular dehydrator. The Hamilton Beach comes with five trays in a rectangular shape. 

It also has a timer that you can set up to 48 hours. By using the automatic turn-off option, you can simply set the right time and walk away. The temperature control allows you to set it between 100-160 degrees Fahrenheit. The unit has a clear lid so that you can check up on your food as it dehydrates.  

This dehydrator comes with two specialty drying sheets, a solid sheet and a mesh sheet. The mesh sheet is suitable for dry herbs so that they do not fall through, while the solid sheet is appropriate for fruit purees. 

The continuous airflow ensures that the food is heated evenly and each food tray has the same dryness level, with no need for rotating them.  

Our product tester was very pleased with not having to babysit the dehydrator as she did not have to turn it off or rotate the trays. 

Final Verdict

The Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator gets our top spot. It is reliable, has an intuitive temperature-setting dial, and is affordable. Additionally, our tester’s dried fruit and beef jerky turned out beautifully with as rich a flavour as the store-bought counterparts. 

The Tribest Sedona Express Food Dehydrator is the right model for you if you are serious about dehydrating. It is a bit expensive; however, it runs very quietly and offers excellent temperature control (77-167F). 

Everything You Need to Know About Drying Coffee Beans

How do you like your coffee? And no, by that we don't mean with or without milk. Do you buy your coffee in the form of a coffee pod for a Keurig? Or do you get it in the form of a ground powder?

If you did not answer yes to either of those questions, there is a third option that you can choose. It includes getting your own coffee beans, drying them, and grinding them for a brilliant experience at home. 

A lot of the taste and color of coffee is lost when the beans you purchase go through the mass process of drying and powdering it. This means that your coffee seeds might not have the complete taste of natural coffee. 

Coffee Processing

There are multiple ways to process your coffee before it goes into what is in your cup. From when the coffee cherries bloom on the trees, they go through several steps before they end up as part of your morning ritual. The first step is to get the green coffee beans from the cherries. In the sections below, we discuss the most popular ways in which this is done around the world. 

Wet Process

As the name suggests, wet processing your coffee cherries means that the fruit covering the beans is removed before drying it. This kind of coffee is called washed coffee. 

There are multiple steps involved in this process of finally obtaining green coffee beans from their cherries. 

Water immersion: Immersing cherries in water makes the good quality ones sink to the bottom, while the unripe or damaged cherries will float to the top. This makes it easier to separate them to get a quality blend. 

Skin removal: Using water to press the fruit through a screen, the upper layers of the cherry are removed. The outer skin and pulp of the coffee cherries is easily removed in this process, leaving the bean along with some pulp at the end of this process. 

Pulp removal: Pulp can be removed from green coffee beans by several different methods. One option is to use fermentation to break down the cellulose around the beans. These can be later washed with water to easily break off the pulp. 

Another option is to use machine assisted wet processing. This process basically uses a machine to scrub the bean, removing the extra pulp from it. This does not cause any problems like change in coffee flavor, unlike in fermentation, but the mechanical aspect of the wet method means that some beans might get chipped or damaged in the process. 

Silver skin and parchment removal: The bean still has two layers left on it after mechanical scrubbing, namely the silver skin and the parchment layer. This is removed by drying out the bean in the sun or by using a machine dryer for the best results. 

We will learn more about sun drying in the next section. If you're interested, you can learn more about this by checking out this video on Washed Coffee Processing

Dry Process

Drying coffee beans is the oldest method of the first step toward making a good cup of coffee. In this method, coffee cherries are cleaned and dried under the sun to give them their signature taste and color. 

Dry coffee is also known as unwashed or natural coffee. Let's talk about the steps that are taken with the coffee cherries to ensure the best results. 

Harvesting: The first step toward the process is harvesting the cherries from the crops. This process basically involves plucking the cherries from the plants and collecting them for further treatment. 

Sorting and separating: Once you have the green coffee cherries, they are sorted and cleaned according to their quality. This is to ensure that low quality cherries do not find their way into the final product. If the cherries are under ripe or overripe, or damaged in any other way, they are separated in this process. 

Drying: These high quality cherries are then spread out to dry in the sun. Matting or brick patios are used to dry them. They are also turned around or raked to make sure that they dry evenly on all sides. This process usually takes up to four weeks. 

The drying process is one of the most important steps of treating coffee, as it has to have the right amount of dryness to ensure good quality and taste. If the cherries are retaining more water than necessary, they are prone to attack by fungi and other natural causes. 

On the other hand, if the cherries do not have enough water and are overdried, they can break easily, reducing the total output of the harvest. For this reason, proper care has to be taken while drying is done. 

While most coffees in the world are dried in the sun, there are areas with high rainfall or humidity where you need a machine to dry the cherries. This allows the plantations to increase the speed of the process as well as have more control over the moisture of the beans. 

Semi-Dry Process

There is a middle ground between the two options mentioned above when it comes to the processing method for coffee. While the dry method does not employ the use of water at all and the wet method uses lots of it, some countries like Indonesia and Brazil use a hybrid optional process for processing of coffee. 

The semi-dry process is used by small scale farmers in several parts of the world. Let's go over the steps that are taken as a part of this. 

Harvesting: The first step, as always, is getting the coffee fruits and cherries from the plants. 

Pulping: Farmers use puliping machines of their own construction or local sources to remove the outer layer of the ripe cherries manually. This means that the beans have some layers remaining on them, but most of the outer fruit has been discarded. 

Storage: After the outer layers are manually removed, the coffee beans are stored for a maximum of one day. This allows it to slightly dry off, making it easier for the next steps to be carried out. 

Washing: After being stored for a day, these coffee mills then wash off the remaining pulp from the beans. The storing of the beans for a day makes this process easier. 

Drying: Once the outer layers have been washed off, the beans are dried in the sun again in a natural process as mentioned in the previous sections. 

While this means of processing coffee is a good way of ensuring that the beans are not damaged or not too many pollutants are released in the environment, there are certain disadvantages to this method as well. For example, while the beans are stored after pulping, there is the risk of the fermentation process starting because of the sugar and bacteria present around them. 

For the process to work optimally and produce high quality coffee grounds, the drying process has to be carefully undertaken. The beans are kept in a constant state of motion to prevent the buildup of fungi and infections. 

Flavor

Since there are different ways of processing your coffee, it is natural that the taste, body, and flavor of each method will also give birth to different coffee grounds. With the wet method, dry method, and the hybrid method, the coffee retains and loses some of its original flavor and gains other aspects that give it its signature characteristics. 

Wet Process

Because wet processing uses a large amount of water over a large period of time for the cherries, a washed coffee blend will give you a clean taste with high brightness and acidity. 

However, because of the constant presence of water and the act of washing the beans multiple times, brewed washed coffee does end up losing a lot of its body. When we say body, it means a certain strength and heaviness that is present in every cup of coffee. 

Dry Process

As the dry process involves no presence of water and just uses the sun or machine drying to filter out the body of the fruit, it gives you a rich flavor. The body of such a coffee is quite heavy. 

The coffee will also be sweet and complex in nature, and will have a lower acidity and brightness. When we talk about acidity, it does not mean the pH level of the coffee. Rather, coffee acidity stands for a bright, sparkling sensation characterized by high quality blends. 

Semi-Dry Process

As the pulping method in this kind of coffee beans does not allow it to dry completely before the upper layer is removed, coffee beans produced by the hybrid method might have certain characteristics similar to that obtained in the wet process. 

Therefore, the coffee obtained from this method gives you a clean brew which has lost a lot of its body. You will also get a good brightness and acidity with this type of coffee. 

Other Types of Treatment

While these are the main steps taken to produce any kind of coffee, there are some other options that can be undertaken while drying coffee beans. These options are to change the taste or overall nature of coffee to suit personal preferences. 

Decaffeination

Decaf coffee is a popular option and is served almost everywhere in the world. This blend of coffee basically has the caffeine taken out of it, and is a good option for people who want to experience the taste of coffee before bed, or for people who do not want to subject their body to the effects of caffeine. 

Decaffeination is carried out before roasting. This means that the process is carried out directly on green coffee beans. This can be done in many chemical ways, including subjecting the coffee to pressurized carbon dioxide, as well as adding the coffee beans to an ethyl acetate solvent. 

These processes do not remove all of the caffeine present in coffee beans. Usually, even decaffeinated coffee has about 0.1% of the original caffeine content in it. 

Aging

While aging is a process that is normally associated with whiskeys and wines, there are certain use cases in coffee as well. Before the Suez Canal was opened, ships had to make a long journey before they could deliver coffee to Europe. 

This meant that the coffee was subjected to some time and salty air before it could reach its destination. However, because it had been going on for so long, Europeans developed a taste for that kind of coffee. After the Suez Canal was opened, the time taken for the coffee to reach them reduced, and with it, the taste changed. 

But Europeans did not enjoy this new taste of coffee, and this is where aging of coffee samples began. Aging is a coffee processing method where coffee beans are subjected to the same conditions as they did while they were on the ship in an effort to bring a similar kind of taste back. 

While this might seem like a strange request, there are some blends of coffee beans that can actually taste better once aged. Some beans are aged for more than 8 years to give them a signature taste. 

Final Word

Drying coffee beans is not a complicated process, but there are a large number of factors that go into what makes a good cup of coffee. Your personal preferences play a huge part in deciding which coffee is good, and some people might prefer a coffee with high acidity, while others might want something with a full body. 

In this article, we discussed the various ways of drying coffee beans and the various steps that go into each of these processes. We also discussed the different aspects of the finished coffee you get from them. If you're interested in similar topics, please feel free to check out our other articles as well!

Dehydrator Test: What You Need to Look For

Food dehydrators are an excellent way to make your food last indefinitely. When foods go bad, it is mostly because of the water content in them. 

When you take the water away by drying the food, you can have a great snack for yourself that can be consumed wherever you are. To learn more about this subject, you can check out this video on the basics of drying food

In this article, we talk about how food dehydrators work, why they are so popular, what you should look for when you're buying one, and other things you need to keep in mind before buying one. 

What Exactly Is a Food Dehydrator?

If you've heard of and consume dry foods, there is a good chance that it was made in a food dehydrator. The age-old technique of drying something in the sun (tomatoes, for example) is not as efficient as having a proper machine that does the job for you. 

A food dehydrator is a machine that lets you take the water content out of plants, fruits, herbs, vegetables, or meat. It is designed to make your food taste better, last longer, and retain its nutrients. 

How Does a Food Dehydrator Work?

A dehydrator is like an oven, except instead of cooking or baking your food, it just dries it out. Dry air at low temperatures is circulated continuously through the plastic trays in the construction of the machine. 

This makes the food lose the water content present in it, giving it a more concentrated flavor and increasing its shelf life by a large amount. 

What Can You Use a Dehydrator for?

A dehydrator can be used for a large number of food items. Some of its applications are mentioned below. 

Vegetables: Vegetables usually have a very high water content. This means that they can spoil easily. Using a dehydrator, you can turn these vegetables into chips. 

Fruits: Dehydrated fruit chewies are very popular, and can be a nice source of snacks in your kitchen or on a road trip. You can put apple slices in a dehydrator for a relatively shorter time to get chewy apple treats. 

Meat: Slices of beef can be used in a dehydrator to make beef jerky. For this, you will first need to cook the meat, and then use the dehydrator to remove the water. This will also ensure that any resident bacteria on the beef will not show up in your dehydrated beef jerky. 

Nuts and seeds: Dehydrating nuts and seeds will give you crispy end products that will taste great as snacks or accompaniments to your food. 

Flowers: Even flowers can be dehydrated using a dehydrator. While these are not strictly for the purpose of eating, they can be turned into potpourri or used with organic oils for aromatherapy. 

Herbs: Herbs are an excellent way to give your food a new and exciting taste, and dehydrating them can not only help concentrate that taste, it will also make them last for a lot longer in storage. 

Baby food: If you're a single mom or dad or you have an extremely busy schedule, you can make baby food long term with the help of your dehydrator, which will ensure that the baby gets all the nutrients it needs. 

Yogurt: If you love yogurt and you consume it regularly, it can get expensive to keep buying the ready made products you get in the supermarket. You can easily make your own yogurt using a dehydrator. 

Chips: Any edible food item can be made into chips by using a dehydrator. You can experiment with these and come up with tasty options of your own!

Dessert: Believe it or not, dehydrated brownies are a thing! This and other excellent dessert options are available to you with the help of a dehydrator. 

What are the Advantages of Using a Dehydrator?

Using a dehydrator comes with a large number of health and taste benefits when it comes to your food. Depending on the design and performance of your dehydrator and the types of foods you dehydrate in it, you can get quite a lot of benefits from it. 

Taste: When a food product goes through the dehydration process, the water in it is removed, but the flavor is retained. This means that the drying process actually improves the taste of your food and makes it more concentrated. 

Quality: You probably find a lot of dehydrated foods in your supermarket or local grocery store. However, you can never be sure about the kind of quality checks, food safety guidelines, and processing that has gone into these foods. When you dehydrate your foods yourself, you can be assured of the superior quality of each food item.

Shelf life: As mentioned above, food dehydrating machines drastically improve the shelf life of food items. Your dehydrated foods can last for up to 2 years when they are dried. For example, if you have a vegetable or herb garden, food dehydration can help you reduce waste if you have an extra batch of food. 

Natural ingredients: The type of food that goes into a dehydrator does not matter. The only ingredient in it is the food itself, which means that you're assured that no preservatives or chemicals have been added to it. If you make apple chips or fruit leather at home, you can be assured that whatever you choose to dry is the only ingredient present in the snacks. 

Cost: Have you ever thought about how much money you spend on store bought snacks like beef jerky, beef strips, or fruit chewies? Besides this, storing the food in a refrigerator also means ongoing electrical costs that come with cold storage. If you buy a compact model dehydrator among your other kitchen appliances, this one investment can end up saving you a lot of money in the long term. 

Storage: We already spoke about shelf life, but compact storage is another important aspect worth considering that comes with your dehydrator model. Dried foods take up a fraction of the volume of the original food, which means you can use the same container to store about 5 to 6 times worth of food in your designated storage space. 

Transport: Dehydrated foods can be taken anywhere with you without having the need to be cooled or stored with special requirements. This means that you can have homemade versions of healthy snacks like kale chips or apple chewies by just using a simple, airtight container. 

Controlled environment: When you dry out your food, you are doing it with precise temperature controls, where you can choose the exact temperature settings at which you want to dry your food. The biggest difference between an oven and a dehydrator is the ambient temperature at which it functions. The temperature range of an oven is just too high to give you consistent drying. 

Versatility: We already discussed in the previous sections that the use of your dehydrators is only limited by your imagination. Whether it’s apple fruit leather, kale chips, or just fresh herbs, you can use your dehydrator for a limitless number of options. 

Ease of use: How many buttons and settings does your microwave oven have? You do not have to deal with the problems of poor performance or complicated settings when it comes to a dehydrator. You just need your food product and within a few simple clicks, you are good to go!

Safety: With conventional food items that are in storage, there is always a chance that they will get spoiled, and you can never be too careful. You do not have to worry about these issues with a food dehydrator, as there is a very low risk of bacteria buildup with dehydrated food. This is the reason why dehydrated foods is used by campers, soldiers, and even astronauts!

What are the Disadvantages of Using a Dehydrator?

While dehydrated food does come with a lot of perks, there are some things you need to keep in mind while using a dehydrator that might not work in your favor.

Dental health: If you're eating fruit leather or a similar sweet dehydrated food, the sticky nature of it is not the best friend of your teeth. Make sure you brush your teeth before bed if you are a regular consumer of these kinds of products. 

Sugar: Remember how we spoke about dehydration concentrating the taste of your food? This works for sugar as well. You might end up consuming a lot of sugar without realizing it while consuming some food types. 

Salt: Similar to sugar, consuming dehydrated foods means that you are consuming a higher amount of salt that you normally would. A lot of dehydrated foods also contain artificially added salt, which can increase the amount of sodium in your body. Make sure that you consume all kinds of dehydrated chips and other snacks in a health conscious manner. 

Preparation: When it comes to items like meat, you cannot just stick it in the dehydrator and be done with it. There is a long process that includes cooking the meat properly at a particular temperature, cutting it up properly (for example, beef strips), and then dehydrating it properly to give you a healthy snack alternative. 

Besides this, a lot of preparation also has to be put in while making other food items. The slices have to be cut in the right sizes and have to be put on the metal racks or trays to get the right results. 

Texture: You cannot achieve the right texture of food on your first try. There will be a lot of trial and error involved before you can find something that works in your favor and according to your tastes. This will mean filling up additional trays of food and messing around with the settings until you find the right fit. 

Taste: While dehydration does improve the taste of food by concentrating it, it might not be the best fit for everyone. Some people simply prefer the taste of fresh food to dehydrated food. 

Water: When you dehydrate your food, you are taking all the water out of it. This means that you will have to drink that water separately, which otherwise you would have achieved from natural food sources. 

Time: While a microwave oven will heat up your food within a few minutes and even bake your cake for you in less than an hour in some instances, dehydration is a slow and lengthy process that is bound to take some more time. Be prepared to leave your food in your dehydrator for hours before you reach the desired result. 

Dehydrator Test: What Should I Look for?

If you're convinced that buying a dehydrator for your foods will indeed influence your life in a positive way, here are some factors that you need to look for in a good piece of equipment. 

  • Heat distribution and the range of customizable temperature

  • Air flow from all directions for proper drying

  • Price of the equipment and if it's a good investment in the long run

  • Size

  • Total capacity and number of trays included

  • Noise caused by all the fans

  • Optional items like timers, auto shut off options, digital displays, and other indicators. 

Final Word

Dehydrators are an excellent way to ensure that your food tastes great, stays fresh, and can easily be stored for periods of time without much of a hassle. The process is easy and can be carried out in the comfort of your own home, along with unlimited chances of experimentation. 

In this article, we learned about what a food dehydrator is and how it works, what you can use it for, and the advantages and disadvantages of one. We also learned what to look for when you're buying a dehydrator for yourself. If you're interested in similar topics, please feel free to check out our other articles as well!

How A Food Dehydrator Works

To get the best results out of any appliance, it’s highly recommended to understand how it works.

Food dehydrators were invented some time between the 18th and 19th centuries. However, they’re a bit of a newcomer to our kitchens. And unlike most domestic appliances, they need up to 26 hours to finish a dehydration batch.

If you’re wondering how food dehydrator works, then you’ll find the answer in the next sections, so read on.

Understanding How Food Dehydrators Work

The basic principle of drying foods is leaving fruits, vegetables, and herbs out in the sun and fresh air. The humidity gradually leaves the fresh foods, and eventually, they become totally dehydrated. That’s when they’re ready for consumption or long-term storage.

The Principle of Operation

Dehydrators follow pretty much the same principle; they heat up the food and circulate dry air all around it. An added perk with these appliances is the elimination of environmental pollutants. When food is left exposed to the elements, it usually gathers dust, bird droppings, and various other unwanted materials.

The Internal Structure

If you open the hood, you’d find underneath it a heating element, a fan, and several trays arranged in a stack. This is the basic structure, and it’s often augmented by control and monitoring systems.

Control and Monitoring

In addition, there are mechanical modules to adjust the airflow and keep the heat evenly distributed throughout the tray stacks. Otherwise, you’d get overcooked foods in some trays, and undercooked foods in others.

Adjusting the Dehydration Cycle     

This process could be quick or slow depending on the degree of cooking you prefer. The best option is to go with a slow cycle set at minimal heat. This way, you can retain the highest possible content of nutrients. 

Stacking Up the Food Dehydrator

Food dehydrators often come with several trays. This arrangement allows users to process various types of foods simultaneously.

Furthermore, using a large number of trays maximizes the utilization of the dehydration cycle. That’s because the appliance would use the same amount of power for half a tray or for ten trays full of produce.

For best results, we suggest the following tips:

  • Try to use all the trays in the dehydrator to save up on electricity.
  • Dehydrate foods that share similar heating requirements together.
  • Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables in bulk at budget prices, then dehydrate them.
  • If you have an herb garden; you can dry up mint, oregano, thyme, and any other aromatic greens using a long dehydration cycle at low heat.
  • Over-dehydration is much better than under-dehydration. Any remaining humidity could encourage bacterial or fungal growth in the dried foods.   

What Can You Put in a Food Dehydrator?

Pretty much any edible food substance can be dehydrated to extend its shelf life. You can get as inventive and creative as you like. Here are some suggestions for inspiration.

Fresh Fruits, Produce, and Herbs

There are plenty of foods you can dry up in a food dehydrator. Any fruit, vegetable, or herb can be processed and stored in your pantry. Even the ones that look soft and mushy can make flavorful chips, for example, bananas and mangos.

Dehydrate the kinds that your family likes best or the seasonal types that only appear briefly. A good idea is to stock up on food materials that you can use as snacks. Stuff you can include in a salad or a soup is also quite practical.

Thinly Sliced Meats

Moreover, you can slice up meats, poultry, or fish, and select a higher temperature to cook and dehydrate these cuts. You can marinate or spice them before dehydration for an extra bit of taste.

Citrus Peels

Another popular category is lime or orange peels. These citrous parts are amazing additions to various kinds of hot and cold beverages. They can also be added to cookies and cakes, and there are so many recipes for that!  

Flowers for Garnish

A rather sophisticated treat is drying up flowers, then using them as a garnish for fancy desserts. Pansies, lavender, and hibiscus are among the prettiest you can use in foods as well as beverages.

Potpourri

Some people prefer using the flowers in decorative ways, and they can get perfect results by dehydrating their favorite blooms.

A potpourri made from scented roses, jasmines, geraniums, and chamomile would be amazing. The best part is that this bunch would retain most of its color and fragrance after drying in a dehydrator. 

Final Thought

Now that you know how exactly the food dehydrator works, and the best way to use it, one thing remains: go ahead and stock up on your favorite fresh foods.

A pantry rich with dried seasonal fruits, vegetables, and herbs encourages cooking healthful and delicious meals.

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