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Choosing a Home Food Dehydrator

By Jennifer MacKenzie, Jay Nutt, Don Mercer

Choosing a Home Food Dehydrator

Drying can be accomplished in a variety of ways, using different forms of equipment. Some people might like to build their own food dryer, but the easiest and safest approach is to purchase one of the many models of home dehydrators that are now commercially available. An Internet search will turn up a wide variety of dehydrators, one of which may appeal to you.

When you’re choosing a dehydrator, there are a few considerations that must be taken into account. First and foremost among these is whether the dehydrator has a fan to circulate heated air throughout thedryer and across all food surfaces. Units without a fan will take longer to dry the food to its final desired moisture content than a similarly sized unit equipped with a fan. There may also be an unevenness in the drying. In this book, times given for drying are based on tests conducted using food dehydrators with circulating fans. Some dehydrators have the fan mounted on the top of the machine, some at the back and some at the bottom. Each performs slightly differently, making the drying pattern different between the machines, but the final results are very similar.

Another factor in selecting a home food dehydrator is its heating capacity. A dehydrator with a 500-watt heater may be satisfactory for those who intend to dry only small amounts of product. Those who are drying larger volumes of product, or who might want to in the future, should consider a more powerful heater (e.g., 1 kilowatt).

Other considerations include the size of the machine (and how it will fit into the space you have available) and how easy it is to clean. Some people may want to look for features such as a digital temperature display and a timer that will automatically shut off the dryer after a desired time period.

Whatever your needs or desires, there is probably a dryer available to meet them. If you’re new to drying, you may be tempted to buy a small machine, but once you embrace the idea of having your pantry stocked with home-dried foods, you’ll likely want a dehydrator with a larger capacity. Many models come with the option to expand the capacity with additional trays; these are certainly something to consider when making your initial purchase.

After selecting a food dehydrator, you will have to experiment to identify the best conditions for the products you wish to dry. Do not be become discouraged by any failures or setbacks you may encounter; this is all part of the learning process. Once you get over your initial apprehension about doing your own food drying, you will begin to enjoy the opportunities it offers. We have made every effort to provide you with the information you need to successfully prepare each of the dried ingredients for the recipes presented here.


Get more info like this in The Dehydrator Bible

Jennifer MacKenzie, Jay Nutt, Don Mercer


Food Dehydrator recipe for GORP with a Twist