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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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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