A food dehydrator is one of the handy devices you should have in your kitchen. It allows you to make healthy snacks from fruits to vegetables. You can also make jerky or powdered milk. Making your snacks using this device is very cost effective. Food dehydrators also make food storage convenient and economical. Better still, the food maintains most of its nutritional value, to the tunes of 90%. There are many considerations one should make when buying one, and we decided to note some of them.
Best food dehydrator
The amount of drying space available matters, depending on how much food you need to dry. If you are looking to dry a lot of foods, you may want to go for a dehydrator that has a large capacity.
One of the things that determine capacity is the type of dehydrator that you go for. Let us focus on two types:
These types have trays that stack on top of each other. They usually have a fan mounted at the base or in the power unit at the top of the stacked trays. The trays have a hole in the center. This hole forms a channel through which air flows. Heated air goes up along the outside walls, across each tray before getting to the center channel where it exits the device.
This type of food dehydrator allows for more capacity as you can add trays, or remove them. The larger models can handle very many trays, to the tunes of 30 plates (a drying area of about 30 square feet). This type needs you to keep stacking and unstacking trays as you check the drying progress.
Instead of trays, this type has shelves that slide in and out of the box. The fan and the heating elements are mounted in the rear part of the unit. They blow air horizontally across the shelves towards the front. The design ensures even drying. You need not rotate the shelf.
After looking at the types of dehydrators, let’s look at the different capacities available. Smaller dehydrators have to 3 to 4 square feet of drying capacity. Medium sized dehydrators have about 5 to 9 square feet of drying area. Large units will have 10 square feet or more.
Large capacity dehydrators come in handy especially during the harvest season, or when a particular type of food is on sale, thus more affordable. A large tray will get filled by less than 1/2 pound of sliced strawberries. How much more space do you need if you have other fruits and vegetables to dehydrate?
Fan and airflow system
Good food dehydrators should have a fan, heating element and a design that ensures even airflow all across the trays or shelves. A good fan size is between 4” to 7” in diameter with vertical airflow.
An adjustable thermostat helps to set and maintain an even temperature. A typical range thermostat is between 95 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit. The adjustable thermostat helps you to cater for the recommended settings for each major food type.