There’s this new food appliance that has been making rounds in interviews with famous chefs, blogs, and DIY home cooking tips: the food dehydrator.
This countertop machine draws out moisture that inhibits the growth of bacteria.
Foods like fruits and vegetables can make lang longer if dried properly, making it one of the reasons why dehydrated food makes a great on-the-go snack.
Dehydration is useful for preserving bulk items, such as herbs from our tiny garden or the mangoes you stocked up when they went on sale.
Since dehydrating food intensifies the flavor of food, dried herbs will give a stronger aroma, and dried fruits are sweeter.
While most foods are dehydrated in an old-fashioned manner (hanging out under the sun or placing them in a cool, dry area).
Dehydrators work quickly and offer a more controlled environment than the traditional way of drying foods.
With food dehydrators, you can easily make snacks, such as fruit leather, beef jerky, dry herbs (rosemary and thyme), and oil-less potato chips than buying them in jars.
Besides, they are very simple to operate and gives value to your money. What a great way to preserve bulk purchases!
- Things to Look For When Picking Food Dehydrator
- Top 10 Dehydrators For Fruits And Vegetables
- National Presto Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator
- NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
- Excalibur 3900 Electric Food Adjustable Thermostat
- VIVOHOME Electric 400 W 8 Trays Food Dehydrator
- Costzon Food Dehydrator Adjustable Temperature
- Cuisinart DHR-20 Food Dehydrator
- Hamilton Beach 32100A Digital Food Dehydrator
- Chefman Food Dehydrator Machine
- COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine
- BioChef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator
- What Foods Can You Put In A Dehydrator?
Things to Look For When Picking Food Dehydrator
There is one common goal among food dehydrators, and that is to remove the water from your food in an efficient way without removing the nutritional content of the food.
To make this possible, the dehydrator must distribute an even airflow and maintain a constant temperature across all the trays.
Well, these devices are equipped to dry out food while retaining the nutritional content and the alkalinity of fresh food items, while inhibiting the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms.
There are many things to look for when buying a food dehydrator, as well as the health benefits you might not have known. Here is the list of some things you should look for when picking a food dehydrator:
Nutritional Content Is Retainer
Since food dehydrators ultimately dry out any food items that are placed inside the tray, they are also responsible for retaining all of the minerals and vitamins on the food.
For example, dried sprouts and vegetables are high in fiber and are naturally low in high-cholesterol fats. That is why dehydrating them is suitable to retain their nutritional contents.
During dehydration, plant foods hardly retain Vitamin C, but all the beta carotene and Vitamin A are retained in plant foods.
Other minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and selenium are also preserved due to the rich concentration of enzymes and nutrition.
That’s why many diet plans include naturally dried fruits and vegetables on their diet.
Longer Fruit And Vegetables Preservation
Many fruits and vegetables do not have a long shelf-life. In most cases, by the time a person is ready to eat the fruit, it has already turned brown, molded, or bruised, with reduced nutritional content.
Well, this drying machine removes around ¾ of the moisture content from the food that can significantly prolong its shelf life.
The only threat of the produce that it will go bad is the remaining ¼ moisture content. That’s why it is recommended to over-dry the product rather than under-dry it so that you can preserve it better.
Once the moisture has been removed from the product, it should be packed inside the moisture-proof bag, jar, or container.
After it is sealed, it should be kept in a dark, cool place, such as in the pantry or cupboard.
Well, this process can result in a prolonged shelf-life of roughly one year. It also goes with milk substitutes, powdered milk, as well as wheat grains, rice, and corn.
Convenience And Cost-Effectiveness
As you would have noticed that dried fruits and vegetables are costly at the store.
Well, one of the best benefits of having a food dehydrator is the convenience and cost-effectiveness because you can preserve fresh food at the convenience of your home.
Since its shelf-life can make it up to 12 months, you can save the fruits and vegetables by storing them properly in the pantry for later use. It can dramatically save you on food items in the grocery store. Some of the edible products you can create include:
- Fruit rolls
- Banana chips
- Assorted dried fruits/healthy trail mix
- Beef or poultry jerky
An Evenly Distributed Airflow System
The best food dehydrators often contain heating elements, even airflow across the trays, and a fan.
Depending on the model, the power of the heating and fan elements will vary greatly.
Generally, these devices use around 300 to 1000 watts of power, and the fans measure 4 to 7 inches in diameter. Some models have dual fans.
Keep in mind that these appliances can be rather loud, which are comparable to a stove’s exhaust fans.
The Greater Capacity Of Stacking Trays
There are two common types of dehydrators.
The first one is the stacking one that contains trays that are stackable on top of each other. It also includes a fan that is either mounted in the power unit or the base.
There is this core channel in between the trays for the air to filter through, allowing for the heated air to flow through the outside walls and across the tray so that it can exit the machine through the channel.
Due to this process, you no longer need to rotate the trays. With its ability to stack and remove trays, it can accommodate large or small batches of food items ready for drying.
Number Of Shelves
The second type of food dehydrator is the shelf type. Rather than just trays, it comes with a shelf-type tray that can be easily slid in and out.
In this way, it will create a different system of airflow since the fan is mounted at the back of the unit, blowing the air from the back towards the front in a horizontal direction.
This process will create a more even dry so that the trays will not be rotated. It is also ideal when you need to slide out the trays to check the doneness of the food item.
However, the major drawback is that the shelves limit the capacity of the model. Instead of having the ability to stack more or less of the trays on, you can only have a certain amount of trays on the shelves.
On the other side, since it lacks a channel in the middle of the tray, you can make use of the space without having to worry about stacking the items around the hole in the middle.
Adjustable thermostats are one of the most important features to look for when buying a food dehydrator.
This adjustable thermostat is used to maintain, set, and change the temperature that can range from 95 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since the required temperature for every food item varies, it is essential to have an adjustable thermostat that can accommodate these temperature settings and can be adjusted based on the requirement.
Because meat is prone to spoiling that vegetables and fruits, not all food dehydrators are capable of drying the meat safely.
If jerky-making is one of your high list priorities, it is better to make sure that the machine you buy can do this kind of task.
And here are the best dehydrators for fruits and vegetables:
Top 10 Dehydrators For Fruits And Vegetables
National Presto Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator
Estimated Price: Under $80
Dimensions: 13.5 x 14.25 x 8.5 inches
If you are looking for the best food dehydrator for backpacking, then this food dehydrator from Presto is your best option.
This dehydrator comes with six transparent drying trays with two fruit roll sheets and two nonstick mesh screens.
It 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.
For added drying capacity, this food dehydrator is expandable up to 12 trays.
It is ideal for dehydrating fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, and even meat. As you can notice, the body, trays, and cover of this device are clear and see-through, making the drying process easy to monitor.
The dehydration process maintains the natural nutritional content of the food items, such as the vitamins and minerals for healthy, nutritious snacks with no additives and preservatives.
The flexible, nonstick mesh screens can preserve the food items close to their original size, without turning it smaller when dried.
The bottom-mounted fan and heating element offer consistent airflow for optimum drying with no tray rotation needed, preventing mixing of flavors.
Thankfully, drying trays are fully immersible in water and are dishwasher safe. Cords are stored in the base so that it won’t get wet when you are cleaning the food.
- Clear and see-through tray and cover for easy monitoring
- Adjustable temperature setting
- Can stack up to 12 trays
- Overall food dehydrator
- Accessories are sold separately
- It has a loud fan
NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
Estimated Price: $80
Dimensions: 13.75 x 22.13 x 13.87 inches
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. It 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.
This dehydrator features an Opaque Vita-Save exterior that helps block harmful light that can destroy the nutritional content of food that is being dehydrated.
It also comes with two solid liner sheets for making fruit roll-ups, drying sauces, and other liquid substances. The exterior design of the dehydrator is speckled grey.
This product is proudly made in the USA, but some parts like the powerhead are imported from China.
The major downside of this food dehydrator is it lacks a timer, so you have to be nearby to turn it off manually when the food is ready.
- It can be stored easily in the kitchen cabinet
- It features a Patented Coverga-Flow drying system
- It comes with many accessories
- It needs to be manually turned off
Excalibur 3900 Electric Food Adjustable Thermostat
Estimated Price: $150 – $250
Dimensions: 19 x 17 x 12.5 inches
Fifteen square feet of dehydrating space makes this model the best large food dehydrator. This unit is equipped with an adjustable thermostat featuring accurate temperature control with a built-in on and off switch.
It features a Hyperwave technology and horizontal parallax drying system that removes water from the food using a continuous circulation of thermostatically-controlled warm air.
This dehydrator comes with poly-screen trays that do not need to be moved or rotated during the operation, thus preventing food from sticking.
In addition, it is also capable of dehydrating almost all kinds of food like vegetables, meat for jerky, fruits, nuts, and other produce.
It dehydrates food slowly and evenly at a temperature no higher than 118 degrees Fahrenheit that helps in preserving nutrients and enzymes.
- Features adjustable temperature dial
- Comes with nine top-rack dishwasher-safe trays
- Includes seven fans for excellent air circulation
- Perfect for large servings
- Expensive than other dehydrators
- It does not include additional accessories
VIVOHOME Electric 400 W 8 Trays Food Dehydrator
Estimated Price: $80 – $90
Dimensions: 14 x 12.5 x 12 inches
This food dehydrator from VIVOHOME comes with eight large capacity drying racks that are suitable to hold almost all kinds of food items, creating a uniform drying.
It is suitable for drying vegetables, fruits, meat, herbs, mushroom, fish jerky, and other homemade food.
Besides, it can also be used to make chews and treats for your furry friends, making it the best food dehydrator for dog treats.
Featuring an adjustable timer and temperature functions, this dehydrator can be set from 95 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit, while the time can be set from 0 to 24 hours.
You may set the optimal time and temperature depending on the ingredients. A warm air fan will be automatically switched on and off to balance the temperature.
It is made from premium-quality materials such as stainless steel for the base and high-grade plastics for the trays.
- Comes with eight large capacity drying racks
- The dehydrator is detachable for easy storage
- Features adjustable timer and temperature functions
- Features digital LED display screen
- Not durable (it can last up to 6 months)
Costzon Food Dehydrator Adjustable Temperature
Estimated Price: Under $50
Dimensions: 12.6 x 9.8 x 9.4 inches
If you are looking for the best food dehydrator for the money, then this food dehydrator from Costzon is your best option.
It comes with five stackable and removable trays having a large capacity to cater to many food items in one shot. The good thing about this tray is they are removable, wherein you can take them out to clean them conveniently.
It is equipped with a digital temperature thermostat, ranging from 104 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit.
The high-quality air circulation makes the food uniformly dried and preserved while keeping the nutritional content.
Having 245 watts of heating power, this dehydrator ensures that no water is left on the food. Hence, this process prolongs the shelf-life of food while preserving the full nutrients.
What’s so good about this product is that you can complain to their customer service if you have any problem with the unit.
- See-through cover, tray, and body for easy monitoring
- Equipped with adjustable, digital temperature thermostat
- Comes with five removable trays for easy cleaning
- No detailed instruction on how to use
- No timer
Cuisinart DHR-20 Food Dehydrator
Estimated Price: Under $70
Dimensions: 13.38 x 15.63 x 12 inches
The Cuisinart Food Dehydrator is ideal for dehydrating almost all kinds of food items like meat jerky, veggies, fruits, and other food products, creating natural, nutritious snacks.
It preserves food items naturally without using any additives or preservatives. This unit is compact, making it the best small food dehydrator.
It works with a powerful 620-watt motorized fan with a top for a faster, more consistent, and even drying of food items.
It comes with an adjustable thermostat, allowing different temperatures that are needed depending on the type of food that’s being dried.
With ample space to cater to large quantities of food, it has five interlocking trays that can be stacked up on top of one another for easy placement, and you can add even up to nine trays in one placement.
The company offers a 3-year warranty.
- Clear plastic trays and cover for easy monitoring
- Comes with adjustable temperature control
- Comes with five stackable, interlocking racks (can stack up to 9 at one time)
- Does not have a timer
- You need to turn off the dehydrator once done manually
Hamilton Beach 32100A Digital Food Dehydrator
Estimated Price: $55
Dimensions: 10.5 x 13 x 11 inches
If you are a fitness enthusiast who loves to eat fruit as snacks, this food dehydrator from Hamilton is the best food dehydrator for fruits.
It is ideal for dehydrating small food like fruits, herbs, nuts, mushrooms, and other food items for making fruit rolls.
With five stackable drying trays and 500 watts of power, it can easily dry food items right away. The adjustable digital thermostat lets you adjust the drying temperature depending on the required temperature of the food item.
It provides continuous airflow for even drying.
It may seem small, as you can see, but it is well-equipped with useful functions, such as the 48-hour timer with auto-shutoff and designed with a clear lid so that you can easily check on the food.
To prevent smaller particles from falling on the tray, especially with herbs, this unit is equipped with a special mesh screen for optimum results.
- Equipped with 48-hour timer with an auto-shutoff function
- Comes with a clear-lid design for easy monitoring
- Comes with an adjustable, digital thermostat
- Not suitable for bigger food items
Chefman Food Dehydrator Machine
Estimated Price: $120
Dimensions: 13.58 x 17.52 x 12.4 inches
If you are looking for the best food dehydrator for beef jerky, this dehydrator machine from Chefman is a great option.
Just like with any other food dehydrators reviewed, it comes with digital temperature settings ranging from 95 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, this unit offers a more upgraded function since it comes with a soft touch feature and is integrated with a countdown timer up to 20 hours, providing a more accurate drying time and temperature.
The adjustable trays that come in six pieces are made from BPA, high-grade plastic materials.
The Chefman Food Dehydrator machine has a built-in innovative design that maximizes airflow, resulting in an even drying without overheating to ensure that the food items are perfectly dried.
You can even make use of this dehydrator when making your pasta or to freshen up stale cookies and crackers.
- Features digital temperature preset setting
- Designed with a clear door for easy monitoring
- cETL approved with advanced safety technology to assure durability
- Poor instructional manual
COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine
Estimated Price: $160
Dimensions: 13.4 x 17.8 x 12.4 inches
If you are looking for the best food dehydrator for chicken jerky, the COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine is the top-recommended product of all.
This unit is made from food-grade stainless steel and glass front doors for easy monitoring. It is perfect for dehydrating meat products and then turning them into meat jerky.
This unit uses a digital control panel, wherein it sets at least 30-minute increments for up to 48 hours.
The dehydrator comes with six stainless steel trays, mesh screen, fruit roll sheet, recipe, manual, and other accessories, giving you the best offer it can give.
The tray liners are 100% BPA-FREE, which are proven safe to use. It also features auto-shutoff when the timer ends. No worries about overheating since it is equipped with overheating protection, wherein it activates once overheating occurs.
- It is quiet to use (noise level is equal to the noise level recorded in a library)
- Trays are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
- Designed with a glass front door for easy monitoring
- Temperature setting issues
BioChef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator
Estimated Price: $130
Dimensions: 17.72 x 13.58 x 12.4 inches
You can now make healthy, raw, and preservative-free snacks made from meat jerky and much more using the BioChef Arizona Sol Food dehydrator.
This unit is the best dehydrator for meat we reviewed so far. It is quick and very simple to use, making perfect results regardless if you are a newbie in the world of dehydrator machines.
Aside from the meat, it can also be used as a vegetable dryer, fruit dryer, and other food products that can be dried.
It is equipped with an advanced digital display and adjustable thermostat temperature, ranging from 95 to 158 degrees.
It has superior horizontal airflow, wherein the air is circulated in the same way as a fan-forced oven, ensuring an evenly dried produce. No need for tray rotation or turning since the food will dry inside and out.
- The trays are removable for easy cleaning
- It comes with a digital timer
- It is equipped with an adjustable thermostat
- Designed with transparent glass doors for easy monitoring
- Gives off an unpleasant sound
What Foods Can You Put In A Dehydrator?
Dehydrated foods are simple and easy to make. Aside from getting your food tasty, it is a great way to make your food last longer.
Whether you have a dehydrator or you are using an oven, these food items are an easy way to cut down on your food waste.
Check out this list of food items that you can dehydrate in your kitchen.
Meat can be turned into jerky. It’s as simple as boiling the beef and then mixing the sauce of your choice (red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder), and then coating the meat.
After that, you need to bake it at a low temperature of about 80 degrees Celsius for four hours, and there you have it! You have your homemade tasty meat jerky!
Keep the summer with you after it ended by dehydrating fruits like melons and mangoes. The step is simple on how to dehydrate these foods: you need to slice, season, and then dehydrate at a low temperature.
Dehydrated fruits can last for months, depending on the type of fruit, especially when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Seasonal dried fruits are perfect for snacks, especially for those who are diet-conscious.
Add a healthy twist to your daily snack by using leftover vegetables. Everyone loves crispy foods, but these are crisps with a healthy cause.
Not only does it stop you from throwing your leftover veggies in the bin, but they are also low in fat because they are dehydrated and not fried (does not use oil).
Just cut them into uniform slices, season, and then dehydrate them by placing them in the machine for around 4 to 5 hours. You can use any vegetables such as potatoes, mushrooms, nuts, kale, tomatoes, and turnips.
Food dehydrators are simple to use, and they make food, even more, tastier, more preserved, and healthier. Just remember the things to look for when buying a food dehydrator so that it will meet your needs.
Make sure that the dehydrator has consistent drying so that it can dry all the food items evenly. Well, to ensure this consistency, you may look for a unit with more trays so that you can space out as much food as possible.
Also, look for a model with a clear cover for easy monitoring of the dried food.