Food dehydrators are a practical addition to any kitchen. They are typically used to dehydrate food for storage purposes as they enable foods to be kept fresh and edible for (hugely) extended periods of time. After dehydration food is also smaller and will take up less storage space.
At different times of the year we can find ourselves having large quantities of particular foods – quantities too large for us to be able to use before it spoils. Large gardens can reap bountiful crops all at once and when produce is in season it can often be purchased cheaply in bulk. This is where the food dehydrator really adds value.
Food dehydrators can also be used in certain food preparation processes such as making vegetable chips or beef jerky. They can also be an excellent tool for making healthy treats for pets.
Dehydration can increase both the nutritional density of foods and increase a food’s flavour. Great for making snacks to take on camping trips and hikes or adding to recipes for that extra flavour hit. Dehydrating food doesn’t cook the food so it is very beneficial for those who follow a ‘raw food’ diet.
Food dehydrators are typically easy to use so if you’ve not used one before you’ll quickly learn how to get the most out of it and achieve the desired results.
Things You Should Know Before Purchasing Your Food Dehydrator
Not every dehydrator is made from long lasting quality of materials. Hence, before buying this product made by any company, make sure you research about the strength of its materials.
* Research about the brand:
If the brand of the dehydrator is a well renowned one, it has to have a website. Visit their site and find out what their USP is.
Also, there are several sites online that compare the quality of products manufactured by different companies. Use the search engines to find out about the details.
* Customer reviews:
There are many online shopping websites that have consumer ratings as well as reviews with real comments. Such websites will help you know both, the positive as well as negative, points of the product’s quality.
Out of all the people you know, at least two or three of them are bound to own a dehydrator. Talk to them about their experiences and find out what they have to say about the product.
Although all the dehydrators come with common accessories like 3 or 4 trays, an instruction manual and other such stuff; there are certain websites that give extra accessories like more than 5 trays, a book of recipes, etc. Hence, before buying this product, you must find about the extra accessories that you are getting along with the actual product.
*Are the accessories easy to find or purchase? Fruit leather sheets, additional trays, non-stick drying sheets – there are a number of accessories to think about. Think about purchasing the ones that you’ll need when you buy the dehydrator.
3) Thermostat and other features:
Almost all the dehydrators come with an adjustable thermostat that controls the temperature as per the requirement. However, there are certain brands that make this product without a built in thermostat. Be sure not to buy such a dehydrator or else you or someone in your family may face severe accidents because of no control over the heat in the product.
* Other features:
Certain dehydrators are made with added functions like a timer, an LCD screen to display the temperature inside, a fan to keep the heater cool, etc. Hence, find out the advantage of each function before deciding the purchase.
4) Worth the money:
Even if your budget to buy a dehydrator is more than average, make sure that whatever you buy is worth what you are willing to pay. There are many companies who sell products on the basis of their brand name and image and not because of an excellent quality or service. Hence, make sure that you are buying a right product, not the brand. Many people believe that whatever is expensive is good but in real, whatever is expensive is branded. There are many local companies as well who make fabulously strong and long lasting products.
If you are someone who believes in keeping the kitchen well maintained then you must find a dehydrator, which does not disturb the vision of your binging kitchen. Also, the size of the dehydrator should be sufficient enough for the size of your family. If you belong to a small family, a small sized dehydrator would be comfortable to keep your eatables naturally preserved and fresh. However, if you live in a big family, you must own a medium or large sized dehydrator.
Out of all the tips mentioned above, many tips can be considered before buying any product and not just a dehydrator. However, while selecting a dehydrator, you must make sure that it has excellent features and worth what you are willing to pay.
*Can the number of trays be expanded? You may find that you want to dry larger quantities than you initially intended.
*Are the trays stack able? This will allow you to vary the size of the dehydrator to accommodate the quantity you are preparing – you do not want to be heating empty trays.
*Do you have to rotate the trays? Some machines require you to rotate the trays to get an even result.
*Are the trays easy to clean? Are they dishwasher safe? If you plan to use your dehydrator often this could add up to a lot of tray cleaning!