A food dehydrator is one of the most useful tools your kitchen can have. You can create snacks for a road trip, make your own beef jerky, or create great tasting fruit chips that everyone will love as a healthier mid-meal alternative. You’re only limited by your own imagination! How could the best food dehydrator help to meet your cooking needs today?
The Best Chart To Compare Food Dehydrators
With this chart, you can quickly eliminate the appliances that won’t work for your needs. This allows you to quickly choose the reviews you’ll want to read so that you make the right purchase the first time around.
|Nesco Snackmaster Pro||5 Trays||$$||4.5|
|Presto 06300 Dehydro||4 Trays||$||4.4|
|Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator||9 Trays||$$$$$||4.7|
|Nesco Gardenmaster||4 Trays||$$$||4.7|
|STX International Dehydra||10 Trays||$$$$$||4.2|
|Nesco Snackmaster Express||4 Trays||$$||4.6|
|Nesco American Harvest Snackmaster Express||5 Trays||$$||4.7|
|Waring Pro DHR30 Professional Dehydrator||5 Trays||$$||3.9|
|Nesco American Harvest Food Dehydrator||4 Trays||$||4.2|
|L'Equip 6-Tray Food Dehydrator||6 Trays||$$$||4.5|
What Is a Food Dehydrator?
A food dehydrator is a pretty basic kitchen appliance. It takes the water out of the foods that you place within them, preserving them naturally and enhancing their flavors. They’re often used to create snacks like apple or banana chips, but you can also use them to dry herbs to create your own spices. Dehydrating mushrooms before adding them to dishes can create added depths of flavor. If you have this kitchen appliance, you can create affordable, healthier snacks that everyone will love!
What Are the Advantages of a Good Food Dehydrator?
The first advantage that you’ll receive with the purchase of a good food dehydrator is that you’ll be able to save a lot of money on your snacking needs. With the prices of pre-packaged snacks increasing, you’ll be able to start making your own fruit or veggie chips, beef jerky, or your preferred snacks that you eat every day from fresh ingredients. Although the initial cost seems a little higher for the fresh groceries, you’ll actually be eating less because you’re eating healthier foods.
That’s the second advantage that you’ll receive: better health. When you’re regularly using a food dehydrator for snacks or cooking, then you’ve got a helpful tool that will help you and your family develop healthy eating habits. It all boils down to caloric content. Sugary foods with preservatives have a lot of calories and won’t fill you up. A food dehydrator will help you eat better, lower calorie foods that have good nutrition content.
The final advantage is food preservation. The water in food helps it to spoil over time, sometimes very quickly. It also encourages the development of mold and rot. When this water is extracted by a food dehydrator, you’re starting a natural preservation process that enhances flavors as a side effect. For many, that’s the best advantage of all!
How To Find the Best Food Dehydrator?
Owning a food dehydrator is really a future investment in the health of you and your family. The best appliances have a number of features that you’ll want to consider having included with your preferred dehydrator so that you can always have your needs met.
- Ease of use. The best appliances let you place prepared items in the device quickly and will have you extracting moisture in just minutes. Some food dehydrators can take a long time to set up because they have a number of different locking mechanisms and trays that must be juggled to make them work.
- Different foods. Some food dehydrators only allow you to extract water from one type of food at a time. The best appliances will allow you to dehydrate multiple foods at once without causing their flavors to combine during the drying process.
- Power consumption. To dehydrate food, many of these appliances need to be run for several hours at a time. You’ll want to look for devices that are energy saving or Energy Star appliances so that it won’t cost a lot to receive all of the benefits of a food dehydrator.
- Size. How big of an appliance do you need? Larger families typically need larger food dehydrators to meet their needs. Think about how many dehydrated foods you’ll eat throughout the week and then select the appliance that can meet those needs quickly and effectively.
What Are the Product Specifics of a Food Dehydrator?
One of the first questions that many have about a food processor is how to properly use it. Although every appliance has some specific guidelines and instructions, the basics all have some common ground. You’ll often need to slice your foods that you intend to dehydrate before you can use this appliance or create food strips that can fit within the trays of the unit.
Many of these appliances have multiple trays that can be utilized so you can dehydrate foods in bulk. This is where you’ll want to take a look at our product reviews to determine if a specific appliance can meet your needs. That’s because some food dehydrators can be loaded with different types of foods to have water extracted from them while others require that you use the same foods or the same type of food, such as loading the appliance with all fruit or all vegetables in a cycle.
So why should you consider dehydrating food? For many households, it is all about convenience. This appliance can create natural snacks that don’t require refrigeration in order to maintain their quality. Once you’ve completed a full water extraction cycle, you simply need to store the food in your preferred container and you’re ready to go. That means you can throw some jerky in with lunch, fruit chips in for an after-school snack, or just have something on hand for a grab-and-go bite to eat.
Food dehydrators can help you to quickly preserve savory foods that you might use for cooking as well. One of the most commonly dehydrated foods in this category is the mushroom. Many mushrooms are small enough that they don’t have to be sliced in order to fit on the appliance’s tray. This allows for a concentration of flavor that will create tasty dishes once you begin to rehydrate them for cooking. You can eat them when they’re dehydrated too if you wish!
The reality is that you can dehydrate just about anything. It’s a lot of fun to experiment with different foods to see what you like, what you don’t like, and what ends up being too much of a mess to be worthwhile. In general, you’ll want to follow three basic rules when it comes to selecting the foods you’ll want to dehydrate:
- High quality products dehydrate better because they moisture content is often better, so select fresh items that are fairly ripe.
- Because the dehydration process enhances the flavors of the food, avoid items that have blemishes or bruises in them.
- You’ll want to utilize food items that can dry fairly well without much difficulty so that you can enhance the productivity of your machine.
Because almost anything can be feasibly dried, it often comes down to the amount of time that you have for food dehydration. Foods like grapes or cherries can be dried as a whole fruit, but this takes a lot of extra time.
If you’re thinking about dehydrating meat to make your own jerky, the good news is that every type of animal protein can be used to create homemade treats. The first step is to partially freeze the meat because this makes it easier to slice. You’ll want to make sure the meat is lean, without a lot of fat, because the fat won’t dehydrate much and can make the jerky go bad quickly. About.com have plenty of great beef jerky recipes for you to try out.
You’ll also want to follow these hints for jerky success.
- If you’re using pork or wild game proteins, such as elk or venison, then you’ll need to have this meat treated before dehydrating it to prevent disease formation.
- Lean beef stands up to the dehydration process the best.
- Use slices that are ¼ inch or less to experience the best results.
- For different flavors, consider marinating the animal protein before dehydrating it.
- Cut against the grain for tender jerky.
Once you start utilizing a food dehydrator, you’ll find that it can be quite addicting! Whether you want to dehydrate veggies, fruits, or meat, your imagination is the only real limit there is to what this appliance can do for your healthy eating habits! Find the best food dehydrator that will meet your needs so that you can start feeding this addiction today!
How Much Does a Food Dehydrator Cost?
You can often find a quality food dehydrator on a website like Amazon for less than $100. Although there are premium products that are above this price and may have specific features that you could use, most appliances will give you the quality and size that you need without breaking your budget. For many households, this means a food dehydrator will pay for itself within the first 12 months of owning it, assuming that it is used consistently.
What Do Our Food Dehydrator Reviews Have To Say?The STX International Dehydra is a kitchen appliance that will work hard to meet your needs. With up to 10 trays that can be used at once and a 3 drawer blank that can be used for bread and yogurt, you’ll get a lot of added versatility with this food dehydrator too.
The trays themselves are dishwasher safe and in total provides 14 square feet of drying space. This is backed up by a 100% fix it or replace it guarantee that is good for 12 months and includes labor and parts.The one feature that we really loved immediately with the Nesco Gardenmaster is the Converga Air Flow technology that the manufacturer has patented in this device. This forces heated air downward through the chamber and then outward horizontally so that the foods have an even drying time.
With a programmable timer that works up to 48 hours, you can have your foods fully dehydrated in just hours if you want or you can delay the time to meet your specific needs. The trays are also BPA free so that you won’t have to worry about contamination.What is really striking about this particular food dehydrator is that it contains hyperwave fluctuation technology that keeps your foods at a low enough temperature that the enzymes in the foods stay active, but the temperature stays high enough to dry out the food to prevent spoilage.
Instead of hard foods, you end up with a quality food product. It is even powered by a 440 watt motor that facilitates the patented Parallex Horizontal Airflow this manufacturer has developed.Although you’re only getting 4 drying trays with this particular food dehydrator, you’ll be getting plenty of space that can help you create wonderful delicacies. The cover is see-through, allowing you to quickly monitor the progress of your foods and get them out at the appropriate time.
The design of this unit allows you to stack a maximum of 8 trays if you purchase the expansion trays that are sold separately. Many items can be made in just 4 hours or less!Instead of a bottom-mounted fan like many food dehydrators tend to have, the Nesco Snackmaster Pro delivers a top-mounted fan that eliminates the bothersome updrafts that can affect the quality of some foods. You can control the thermostat on this kitchen appliance as well, ranging from 95F to 160F depending on your needs.
You’ll also get 2 solid sheets, 2 mesh sheets, and even three spice packets so you can make your own jerky. Unlike other food dehydrators that tend to leave food stains that you can’t just clean off, this appliance is incredibly easy to clean and won’t cross-contaminate your food.
Food dehydrators can make snacks healthier and life a lot easier for a very affordable price! Which food dehydrator is right for your home? Take a look at our full comprehensive reviews to discover more information about the best makes and models that are on the market today!