Food dehydrators are often overlooked as a potential household appliance. However, they are useful things to have in the house. A food dehydrator can produce a lot more than dried jerky or fruit, although those are tasty snacks.
A consumer can make dried spices, croutons, pasta and more. They can also dry flowers and dough creations for craft projects. The ability to preserve foods for use during off seasons helps keep the family food budget down. It also makes items available throughout the year rather than just when they are fresh and in season. Their flexibility makes them a desirable appliance, to have in any home. There are numerous features to consider when deciding on which food dehydrator will best meet the needs of each consumer.
Vertical Versus Horizontal
Food dehydrators come in two basic configurations, vertical or horizontal. Horizontal models have the heating element and fan located on the side of the unit. The heated air flows gently across the trays producing even uniform heat application. Uniform heat assures that items thoroughly dry out. Having moist spots can cause food to taste sour or grow harmful bacteria. The disadvantage is that the flavors drip down onto the trays below mixing flavors and making clean up more intense.
Vertical machines have the heating element and fan located on the inside of the machines. The heat flows up from the bottom of the machine through the trays. This flow prevents juices from dripping down onto the tray below them and mixing flavors together. This feature makes it easier to dry multiple foods at the same time. It also makes clean up a little easier and is less likely to cause things to stick to the trays.
Expandability and Size
Being able to add trays is a powerful feature of a food dehydrator. When drying large or thick items the user will remove trays to provide the appropriate room in the dehydrator.
This is helpful when drying things such as flowers, dough projects, and meats. When drying fruit slices it is helpful to add more trays to maximize the amount of food that can be dried at once. The more expandable the food dehydrator is the more useful it is to the owner.
The size of the food dehydrator will determine the degree of expandability too. The more space there is, the more trays and flexible the drying space. Being able to add and move trays makes the machine adaptable to a larger variety of items. A larger machine also allows the products to be spaced apart from each other so that all surfaces dry evenly. All these features have to be weighed against the space the consumer has to store the food dehydrator. Each consumer has to decide how often they will be using the food dehydrator and how much counter space can be dedicated to the machine.
Food Dehydrator Brands
There are many different brands of food dehydrators, but three manufacturers rise to the top. The Excalibur, Lequip, and Nesco have been around long enough to establish themselves as leaders in the industry. They have a variety of machines to meet the different needs of their consumers. These companies have been around long enough to understand the nuances of creating an adaptable and desirable machine. Amazon is an exceptional place to find consumer reviews and get information on the various models and brands. It is also the perfect place to purchase a food dehydrator. The company offers variety, convenience, and competitive pricing. They are leaders in the online retail world.
There are so many uses other than drying fruit. Those consumers who take the time to explore the different uses of the machine get the most from it. A food dehydrator is an excellent place to dry homemade pasta. It dries evenly and quickly without pre-cooking.
The machine can also proof breads, decreasing the time it takes to make fresh break. Dehydrators can be used to take fresh bread and make homemade bread crumbs and croutons using the consumers own spice blend for a special taste. Save money by re-crisping chips, cookies and other similar food items. Another unusual use is for composting food waste over the winter months. Turn those old coffee grounds and food leftovers into nutrient rich compost for house plants. The machines can also be used to dry and make craft type projects. Flowers can be dehydrated, or dough projects dried out. Using the food dehydrator allows the user to accomplish the drying faster and without damage to the items.
There are also many groups that share ideas on using food dehydrators. They share dehydrator recipes and ideas. In addition, they share information about individual dehydrator models. Which ones have the best amenities such as easy clean up and stick free trays. When investing in an appliance, it is worth the consumer’s time to learn how to get the most use from it.
Food Dehydrator Pricing Options
The price of the units varies considerably and is dependent on size and features. The leading companies offer warranties against manufacturer defects. A standard machine can start as low as fifty dollars and goes up from there. Each consumer has to decide what features they think are worth paying for based on the way they will use the food dehydrator. The best food dehydrator is the one that meets the needs of the consumer.
Food dehydrators have come a long way since their inception. They do more in less space than ever before. There are so many uses for a food dehydrator that they often become a permanent part of the family’s counter top appliance collection.