Is Food Dehydrator Worth It – Pros and Cons Graded


One of the biggest goals of every homeowner proper food storage. You just want to be prepared in case something happens, but you don’t want a cluster of food to look gross and go spoil as they last longer.

They must taste good and last for a while. And this is where the food dehydrator comes into play. Not only they will make some amazingly delicious foods but they can make them last for a long time.

Food dehydrators worth investing in for people who prefer healthy snacks made from fruits and veggies. Also, people who like beef jerky themselves or as a treat for their pets will find the process of making it in the food dehydrator easier than alternative methods.

So if you are torn about whether you should invest in a food dehydrator or not, here are some reasons why you should buy a food dehydrator.

10 Reasons To Buy A Food Dehydrator

Food Dehydrator Reinforces Healthy Food Choices

You’re not going to dehydrate a cheeseburger, right?

When you purchase a food dehydrator, you are going to make commitments to healthy foods only.

You will be going to dry things like cherries, apples, peaches, bananas, pineapples, mangoes, and many more fruits. Even veggies like tomatoes, peppers, and kale are possible.

These are the foods that most people don’t get to eat every day. Thus, a food dehydrator can put quality and healthy foods at the center of your diet.

Not only that but a food dehydrator can help to extend the quality of food you have today for many more weeks and even months.

It is because it allows you to preserve good food now for later consumption.

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It Gives You New Raw Food Options

image of food dehydrator

If you are on a raw food diet or just starting to eat more raw foods, a dehydrator will give you a new way to prepare food.

A good dehydrator comes with an adjustable thermostat that can maintain an even temperature under 155F.

Most dehydrator recipes come with an instruction that will call for drying fruits and veggies around the 130 to 140F range but reducing the temperature works fine if you extend the drying time.

A food dehydrator can be used to warm up sauces and soups at low temperatures and make raw crackers, eggs, cookies, and granolas.

It Allows You To Make Lightweight Camping Food

If you are into camping or backpacking where lightweight stuff is important, dehydrated foods are your go-to.

When foods are dehydrated, most of the water is removed, which can also remove most of the weight. Even bulky and heavy like watermelon can be dried into chips, which can be tossed into a sandwich bag.

The best thing about them is they can make more complicated foods like spaghetti. You can make excellent spaghetti sauces or stew, which will taste as good on the trail at home.

If you have lots of experience in cooking, you can even make a great pizza using dehydrated tomato sauce and dried vegetables.

Makes Easier To Preserve Plants From Your Garden

If you love to garden but have trouble managing all the food that your garden produces, then a dehydrator will give a solution to your problem.

It is because this appliance allows you to preserve foods for later use.

With a dehydrator, you can preserve carrots, corn, parsley, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and peas.

You may rehydrate them before using them in stews, soups, or just cook directly. You can also make vegetable flakes and powders to use in salads, seasonings, and sauces.

Dehydrating Food is a Fun Project for Kids

Preparing food for drying is a great activity for kids.

Typically, the food you are drying needs to be washed, cut into slices, and then arranged nicely on trays.

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Well, kids love washing and arranging activities where there is a reward at the end. Most dried fruits taste like taffy, a great replacement for junk food or candy.

Almost all fruit leather is popular with your kids, but you can also try it with bananas, kiwis, mangoes, pineapples, and watermelon. When your kids ask for dried fruit, you will know what to get.

Saves on Expensive Snacks with Dried Foods

Using a dehydrator gives you a great way to replace many snacks with healthier food that you can make yourself.

A large number of available fruits can be made into a great on-the-go snack for work, sport, and play. Try dehydrating bananas, blueberries, kiwi, peaches, apricots, pears, and plums.

You can also make healthy snacks by combining fruit leathers with other ingredients instead of buying chocolate on sale for $20.

You can make your fruit leather by sprinkling and rolling it with some nuts, seeds, and granola.

You can Dry Your Herbs

Using a dehydrator allows you to achieve the most efficient and flavor-preserving way to dry herbs, which look and taste great after.

With an even and controlled temperature of 90 to 105 F, you can dry herbs for around 1 to 3 hours. You can start drying your mustard, basil, mint, ginger, thyme, and rosemary.

You Can Make Your Beef Jerky

A lot of people say that jerky is the main reason why they own a dehydrator. Jerky is a lean and delicious source of protein.

It is a great base for a light lunch, where you can take it when hiking, working, or even studying at the library. Store-bought jerky is expensive and does not taste as good as the jerky you just made at home.

A dehydrator will allow you to make excellent beef, fish, and even turkey careful. There are many large numbers of pre-mixed jerky spices available and you can make your own to taste.

Provides Long Term Food Preservation Option

dehydrated food

The even heat of the food dehydrator creates food that is nutritionally superior to canned food.

When stored properly, the dried foods remain healthy and nutritious for weeks and months at room temperature and generally over a year in the refrigerator. No need for chemicals and preservatives.

Makes It Easier To Know When Food Has Gone Bad

Dehydration is an excellent food preservation method since it makes the identification of rotten food becomes easier.

Unlike canned foods, which can harbor microbes without you knowing, it is easy to spot mold on dehydrated food. Therefore, you can assure that you are eating fresh food when you don’t see signs of mold.

Food Dehydrator is Cost-Effective In Long Run

A dehydrator is not that expensive. It can also save you some bucks of purchasing processed dried foods.

Besides, most dehydrators on the market are expandable. You can dry more fruit and vegetables by investing in more trays for the dehydrator.

It Gives Versatile Results

Another reason why investing in a dehydrator is worth it because it gives versatile results.

This appliance allows you to dehydrate fruits, vegetables, herbs, and more. It also allows you to rehydrate them if you prefer them that way.

Limitations Of Food Dehydrators

After reading all these benefits, you are probably sold on the idea that food dehydrators are worth it. However, before you purchase this equipment there are things you should keep in mind.

They Don’t Contain Odors

Unfortunately, when you are using a dehydrator, you don’t have the choice but to smell everything that comes out of the machine.

It is because dehydrators do not contain the food smell.

Hence, it is best to place the machine somewhere far from your living space like the garage. Make sure that the area is well-ventilated to ensure that the smell does not stay in the room.

They Do Not Work With High-Fat Foods

Dehydrators work by removing moisture from the food to prolong their shelf-lives.

However, this does not work and gets the same result with high-fat foods like avocado. While they can improve taste and texture, dehydrators will not make high-fat food last longer.

The same applies to beef jerky. If you want to dry your jerky in the dehydrator, extract the fat first and then dehydrate it.

Furthermore, if you are not going to eat the jerky within the week, you must refrigerate it to prevent spoilage.

They Will Not Make Garlic Or Onion Powder

Dehydrators are not suitable for drying onions and garlic to create powders. They are only good at dehydrating and dehydrating purposes when it comes to onion and garlic.

How Do Food Dehydrators Work?

Dehydrators are small-sized appliances that are perfect for drying fruits, seeds, vegetables, fish, meats, and herbs.

If you grow your garden of fruits and vegetables, you will appreciate being able to put some without using freezer space or go through a more labor-intensive process of canning, which in the case of fruit needs to add more sugar in the end product.

For those who do not have the time and space of maintaining a garden, you can take advantage of seasonal offerings by shopping on the market and benefit from reduced prices.

The use of dehydrator is simple and come in many sizes with a varying number of shelves and trays for drying.

dehydrated berries

You place the food on the tray and the appliance by slowly distributing the heated air throughout the mesh-covered trays. The machine will generate gentle heat that can dry food at a slow and even rate, preserving the so-called case hardening on the outside.

The case hardening occurs when the fruits, vegetables, and meats are heated quickly, forming a seal on the outside and trap the moisture inside. It is essential to remove water as possible during the drying process.

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Each dehydrator will work a bit differently and the rate at which food can be dried will also vary accordingly.

For instance, denser foods will take longer to dry compared to soft fruits since they break down more easily.

As you begin to work with your dehydrator, you will learn the different sizes to cut fruits, meats, and vegetables and obtain the most efficient drying process.

How Much Does A Dehydrator Cost?

The price range for a food dehydrator can range from around $30 to $400.

Hence, it is up to you to take the decision on what price range you will need to buy a dehydrator. The price for this appliance gets higher depending on the features available in it.

The cheaper models might have fewer features but they might be durable while expensive models will comprise all the innovative features, which can benefit you in the end.

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Here are the features that can affect the price of the dehydrator:

Size

One of the major factors that can affect the dehydrator is the size and space. The stackable food dehydrators can easily get in the small kitchens that have limited space, and usually, they are less costly.

On the other hand, shelf-food dehydrators are big as compared to stackable ones. These are often more expensive. The size of the appliance can help in deciding and fixing the price of the food dehydrator.

Expandability

There are two types of food dehydrators: expandable and non-expandable.

The difference between the two goes like this: expandable dehydrators are those where you can add more trays when you want to dry out more food items.

These are more expensive than the non-expandable ones.

On the other hand, non-expandable dehydrators have a fixed number of trays and are usually cheaper.

If an appliance has expandability features, then it will surely add up to the cost.

Quality of the material

Generally, a food dehydrator is made from either plastic or metal material. Now, you must be wondering how materials can affect the price of the appliance.

A food dehydrator that is made from plastic does have a durability issue since they are less capable of withstanding high temperature.

On the other hand, this does not happen with metal appliances as they can bear high temperatures by offering longer durability.

Therefore, plastic will be less costly than a metal-made dehydrator.

Thermostat

Though most people believed that all types of dehydrators come with thermostats by default, however, this is not true.

In reality, the cheaper ones lack this very significant feature.

With the help of a thermostat, you can control the temperature depending on the kind of food that you have placed on the appliance.

So, a thermostat can essentially benefit the dehydrating procedure.

Just a few bucks will be added to the total price of the food dehydrator if it will have this advantageous feature.

Timer

For people with a hectic schedule, a built-in timer in the appliance is an advantage of course. However, those appliances will be more expensive than normal ones.

Warranty

The warranty period is offered along the dehydrator can also affect the price. The longer the warranty period, the more expensive the dehydrator will be.

So any manufacturer of the food dehydrator that offers a longer time of warranty period will make the product available at a higher price.

Airflow system

One of the main features that you can find in a food dehydrator is the airflow system. There are two types of airflow systems, the vertical airflow system, and the vertical airflow system.

In the vertical airflow system, the air moves vertically over the trays but with the horizontal flow, the air moves in the horizontal direction without mixing different flavors of the food.

Best Food Dehydrator Brands

NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator

The NESCO FD-75 A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator is the best dehydrator for home use we reviewed. It is the ideal model for average-sized batches of dried foods.

This dehydrator comes with five trays, measuring around 13.5 inches in diameter but can be expandable up to 12 trays if you want to work in larger batches.

The thermostat of this dehydrator is adjustable, allowing you to dry different food items at proper temperatures, ranging from 95 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

It also has a powerful top-mounted fan that is designed to send the air downward, and then horizontally across the food trays for a more even drying and consistent flow of heat.


National Presto Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator

If you are looking for the best food dehydrator for backpacking, then this food dehydrator from Presto is your best option.

It comes with six transparent drying trays with two fruit roll sheets and two nonstick mesh screens.

This dehydrator is also equipped with a digital thermostat where you can select the drying temperature settings, ranging from 90 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

The digital timer sets drying times up to 48 hours and then shuts off automatically.


In Conclusion

So the question is a dehydrator worth it?

If the benefits of the appliance outweigh the cons, then it is worth investing in this appliance. Not to mention investing in a dehydrator can save both money and space. Just make sure to explore available options and compare the features before purchasing.

Photo credit: ©canva.com

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