The Ultimate Food Dehydrator Buying Guide
Last Updated on March 16, 2022 by Kravelv
Though you can order your foods anywhere at anytime at your favorite restaurant such as Foodora Canada, but nothing beats a home cook meal. That’s why everyone is suddenly interested in a very trendy kitchen gadget – the food dehydrator.
And why not?
Food dehydration comes packed with numerous health, cooking and financial benefits. With the increase in healthy eating and cost-effective cooking trends, these nifty kitchen tools deliver hassle-free, delicious meals over half the cost of a regular meal outside.
From fresh fruit roll-ups to crunchy crispy heart-healthy kale chips, dehydrating your food at home makes eating nutritious food easy and financially savvy.
In this food dehydrator buyers’ guide, we cover all the different aspects of this appliance that you need to know before making a final choice.
Let’s start off this guide with a list of the benefits of buying a food dehydrator.
Great Advantages of Food Dehydration
Health Perks of Dehydrated Food
We all know that preserved food comes packed numerous chemicals, additives and preservatives, that do us more harm than good. Canned goodies and dried fruits are loaded with health-depleting artificial ingredients such as a huge quantity of sodium, which is not ideal for anyone’s health. In fact, if you suffer from hypertension, that extra dosage of salt could be dangerous for you.
Along with that, commonly found chemical preservatives like MSG, or mono sodium glutamate causes digestive issues, headaches and drowsiness. It is found in everything from beef jerky to dried salmon.
Then take the huge amounts of sugar that is added into nearly every packaged sweet and/or savoury treat, and you’re in for store-bought packed food that is high on the bad stuff and very low on nutrition. These preservative-packed food also add to your weight gain process, and over time you add on more pounds as you eat more packed food.
When end you dehydrate your own fruits or meat at home, you control everything – from the amount of heat you use to the extra ingredients, seasoning – every single factor is under YOUR control. This leads to a much healthier food making process.
Plus, home food dehydration also conserves 90% of the nutrition! That’s a huge benefit for eating dehydrated or dried up foods.
Economical Perks & Easy Cost Savings
Food dehydrators save you money – a lot of it – if you calculate yearly savings by utilising a dehydrator daily in your kitchen. You save calories by consuming healthier, homemade chips, rather than from a vending machine. Then you save money by reducing your food wastage to a large extent. For instance, one visit to a farmer’s market results in you coming home with dozens of fresh strawberries, blueberries and avocadoes. They were fresh. Or they were on sale.
What at do you do with the extra food and not let it go to waste?
Simple – you dehydrate it and use it in increasing the flavour of your morning cereal, for fruity pancakes, and scrumptious desserts like puddings and cakes, and so much more!
Plus, dried fruits make for perfect weight watching snack.
For home-grown veggies and herbs, you can dehydrate them all and keep using them at your own pace and convenience.
Cooking Made Easy
Food dehydrating gadgets allow you to create amazing tasting, super healthy foods which are otherwise usually tough to cook at home.
From sprouted flour and fresh yogurt, to Japanese natto, yummy Native American pemmican, spicy paprika, fruit leather, crunchy granola etc. are several examples of delicious foods which can be easily made in your kitchen with an efficient food dehydrator.
All these dehydrated foods can be appreciated for their loads of health benefits, yet they’re quite costly when you buy them from a store, and not even half as healthy.
Types of Food Dehydrators in the Market
There are basically two types of dehydrators – one with stackable food trays, and the other made up of a sturdy, rigid box that comes with removable shelves. Also the dehydrating techniques also vary from one type to another. Some models use convection drying mode to dry food by gradually, while others use a fan situated at the bottom or back to swirl hot air around the device.
Size should also be a criteria while choosing different models. Free-standing models require a lot more space than countertop ones.
Lets find out more about these:
Stackable Dehydrator Units
Food dehydrators with plastic stackable trays – whether round or rectangular, and fans mounted at the base are usually designed for less bulky harvests – such as herbs or flowers, and are expandable up to 30 trays.
These also have a smaller carbon footprint and are more environment-friendly than most gadgets. Plus, they tend to be cheaper too.
Though there is one drawback – unevenly distributed heat means trays closest to the fan getting dried up first.
You can work your way around it by rotating the trays periodically.
Fruits, vegetables, herbs, jerky, fruit leathers – all can be made easily in these dehydrating appliances.
Box-and-Shelf Dehydrator Units
You can even warm food or dry it, instead of completely dehydrating it in box and shelf type gadgets. With the heating element positioned at the back of the food shelves, instead if at the base, hot air is blown across all shelves uniformly and rotation is not required at all. Some models are big enough for bulky loads and for cooking processes like leavening bread, or culturing yogurt.
Convection mode dehydrators of this type have an extra health benefit – the food avoids the risk of getting contaminated by dirt, like in the fan based ones, which pulls in air from outside. But if your fan based dehydrator is in a clean space, you need not worry about dirt and germs getting in your food.
Convection tools also save you money on your energy bill readings. These use much less electricity, but do take nearly twice the time required in fan based ones, when dehydrating moisture-rich foods like juicy tomatoes or fresh peaches.