Food Dehydrator Buying Guide
A food dehydrator can be a very exciting addition to your kitchen. By circulating dry air through the oven at a temperature of around 65º, and keeping the relative humidity to a minimum, the moisture is sucked from the food, leaving it brittle and tasty. It is typically a more nutritious way of preserving foods compared to canned or frozen alternatives...and it's especially great for backpacking or camping , as the food keeps for extended periods of time! Some great uses for your dehydrator include preserving fruits, vegetables, and meats (including beef, pork fish or poultry jerky ), as well as drying flowers, fresh herbs or spices. But don't stop there...use your imagination and dehydrate almost anything.
While browsing for your perfect dehydrator, make sure you consider the following:
- Size- Most dehydrators are small enough for a counter top, but others can require more space. An ill-placed dehydrator tends to go unused.
- Cost- Dehydrators can range from around £70 to well over £200. However, remember that if you see yourself dehydrating for your entire future, a quality dehydrator might be more cost effective in the end.
- Purpose- If you have something specific you'd like to start dehydrating, a simple, compact dehydrator might be for you. If you see yourself dehydrating your life away, a large, fully-functional dehydrator might be the best option.
|The Two Types of Food Dehydrators|
- More cumbersome than its vertical brother. It might require more space than just the kitchen counter.
- Even distribution of heat creates less humidity, makes for more efficient drying
- Vertical Air Flow dehydrators blow hot air from the bottom up, causing the food on the lower racks to dry faster than the ones on the top racks.
- Diligent rack rotation is essential, and thus will usually require more human energy than the horizontal.
- Compact enough to fit easily on kitchen counters.
You will also need to consider your tray options when buying a dehydrator. Here are your three main options.
- Chrome is the cheapest, but does not boast a non-stick quality.
- Non-stick is medium priced, and coated in a non-stick paint (this eventually wears off when drying sticky foods, such as marinated meat).
- Stainless Steel is the most expensive and the highest quality.