Types of Food Dehydrators
There are two main categories of food dehydrators designed for home use. First are those dehydrators that contain stackable trays for placing the food to be dried. Second, are those dehydrators designed as a box containing removable shelves for placing the food to be dried. If you need more information on the two different types go see del.icio.us who have broken it down further.
Additionally, there are three different drying methods common with these home-use dehydrators. First, some dehydrators have base-mounted fans that expel the hot air vertically through the unit. Second, other dehydrators have a rear-mounted fan that will expel the air horizontally out of the unit. Finally, a few models have no fan whatsoever and rely on convection drying to remove the moist air.
How to Select the Perfect Food Dehydrator
Before you select a food dehydrator for your home, you first must consider what your primary use will be for the machine. If you intend to dry specialty items, or use the food dehydrator mostly for one particular use, research which models are most appropriate for your intended use.
For example, some food dehydrators come with jerky kits and are built ideally for creating jerky from meat. Other units come with stick-proof sheets for creating fruit leathers. Size will be a consideration in determining the perfect food dehydrator.
These dehydrators differ dramatically in size, however most current food dehydrators are less than 12 inches in diameter and easily store away unobtrusively on a kitchen countertop. Finally, price is really not much of a concern for food dehydrators, as most commercial models can be purchased for between $30 and $500.
Recommended Drying Temperatures
- Fruits, Fruit Rolls 130º to 140º F
- Vegetables 130º to 140º F
- Meats & Fish 145º to 155º F (Set at Max. Temp.)
- Nuts & Seeds 90º to 100º F
- Herbs & Spices 90º to 100º F
- Dried Flowers/Potpourri 90º to 100º F
Common Uses for a Food Dehydrator
The many uses for a food dehydrator are only limited to your imagination and access to food. The following are just a few of the most popular uses for a home-use food dehydrator, and this certainly is nowhere near an exhaustive list:
- Making beef, deer, turkey jerky
- Homemade air fresheners or potpourri
- Creating fruit leathers (Remember…”fruit roll-ups”)
- Drying herbs to make your own tea
- Soup mixes
- Backpacking meals
- Dried pepper flakes
- Seasoning powders
- Banana chips
- Trail mix
- Making raisins
- Drying nuts