- Food and Cooking
Food Dehydrators That Can Save You Money
Summertime is almost here and the vegetable garden is starting to look real good. We live in a small house and have no room for an additional freezer to be able to put food up when it comes in. Most of the times all my tomatoes or figs will come in all at once and I wind up giving most of them away or worst they sit around unused until they have to be thrown out. A year ago I purchased a food dehydrator to be able to help with putting up some food items instead of wasting them.
Stack-able Food Dehydrators
Food dehydrators for home use are basically built in two different designs. One is a stack-able type with round trays, a heating unit and a fan built into the lower base of the unit. The trays are lined with the food items that are to be dried and the trays are stacked on top of one another. The heat blows up from the bottom with the help of the fan. These dehydrators are good for the hobbyist as they take up very little counter space and they can be had starting at around 50 dollars. The only downside of this design is you have to rotate the trays at regular intervals or the bottom trays will process quicker than the top. Nesco is the preferred manufacturer of these types of units and they now have newer designs with the heat and fan in the lid of the unit instead of the base to solve the rotation issue.
Box Type Food Dehydrators
The second design is box units that have the fan and heat in the rear of the box which blows the hot air evenly across the trays with the food items on them. No need to rotate the trays as the design provides a consistent drying atmosphere throughout the unit. The box units are larger than the stack units but they dry more products as well as perform other functions such as proofing dough or making yogurt. You can make jerky or fruit leather with any of the units. Excaliber food dehydrator is the line I like best and is, in fact, the one that I wound up buying. I spent a little extra on an adjustable thermostat feature that I believe is essential for drying a wider range of product.
If you have a garden you will definitely want to get a food dehydrator. It is an indispensable tool for putting up certain produce and making other food items or even drying flowers and herbs. Mine pays for itself when the figs come in. There's a two week period where I have to pick figs everyday or they will ripen, fall off and the dogs eat their fill. Well you can imagine what that leads to. My dehydrator allows me to get them off the tree before the dogs get sick and I have figs for the rest of the year. That's just one of the useful kitchen and garden items we use our food dehydrator with.