What Can A Food Dehydrator Do – All You Need to Know About How It Works
A food dehydrator is an efficient kitchen addition for most people. It’s a modern tool that helps you dehydrate foods like fruits, vegetables, and other food items. A food dehydrator is electric so it comes equipped what fast and powerful fans and heating elements.
These features allow you to dehydrate food faster than air drying or sun drying. The benefits of using a food dehydrator are plenty. So if you’re looking to buy the best commercial food dehydrator for yourself. Then you should know what they do and how to use them efficiently.
How Does A Food Dehydrator Work?
The inner mechanism of a food dehydrator is that it circulates air at low temperatures inside the container. It comes with multiple layers that you can slide in and out of the dehydrator like trays. Each tray will contain the food you want to dehydrate.
Making sure that the foods are arranged properly and that they do not stick to each other. This ensures that the food dries fast and perfectly without any residue moisture or stickiness.
Here’s where an electric and digital food dehydrator comes in handy.
You can adjust the temperature based on the type of food you add to the dehydrator. Either you can manually adjust the temperature of the food dehydrator yourself. Or the machine comes with a few built-in temperature settings for you to pick.
This is how the temperature differs from food to food. Based on the amount of water content in each food item.
There are four types of distinctions made based on the food’s water content…
These types of foods require a high (air-circulating) temperature to get rid of the water content. In a food dehydrator, such foods quickly dry out without burning. A few examples would be cucumber, tomatoes, oranges, apples, and watermelon.
The ideal temperature for high water-dense foods is 135-degrees Fahrenheit.
Then you have vegetables that have less water content. So they require a warmer, not hotter, temperature to dry out quickly. The accurate temperature for vegetables for dehydration is 125-degrees Fahrenheit.
Herbs are extremely delicate foods. You can easily over-dry them or burn them if the temperature of the food dehydrator is too high. It’s best to stick to a lower temperature like 90 to 96 degrees Fahrenheit for herbs and more delicate food items.
You cannot dehydrate meat without cooking it first. That is a rule of thumb, as recommended by the USDA. The cooking temperature of meat should be at least 165-degrees Fahrenheit. Followed by dehydrating the meat at a temperature of about 130 to 140-degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s important to cook the meat because it kills bacteria. And makes sure that when you dehydrate the meat, it doesn’t spoil or emit a foul odor. Also, cooking the meat accelerates the dehydration process.
What’s the Best Type of Food Dehydrator for You?
You have two types of best commercial food dehydrators. Based on the space you have in your kitchen. And the amount of food you’ll want to dehydrate at once. These are the criterion you have to choose for the best type of food dehydrator…
● Stacked Shelves
A food dehydrator with stacked shelves is more affordable and space-saving. It has a circulating fan under the stacked shelves and above it. You can also buy a food dehydrator with a circular shape or a rectangular shape.
Both of which improve the surface area of the food dehydrator. This means you can add more food to the dehydrator. And it dries up faster and more effectively.
A round surface area also welcomes different shapes and sizes of food. So you do not feel limited and can add anything you wish to dehydrate.
● Pull-Out Shelves
These are larger and more expensive than stacked shelves. Having said that, for better and quicker results, you should go for this type of food dehydrator. They offer more energy-efficiency and consistency in their performance.
Pull-out shelves are easier to clean because they are not made of plastic but metal. Plastic shelves retain stains and odor for longer. While metal ones do not stain or smell. And they help regulate a better temperature for quick and consistent dehydrating results.
Can Ovens Dehydrate Food Like Food Dehydrators?
You cannot use an oven as a food dehydrator. Even though ovens have more or less the same cooking mechanism as food dehydrators. Food dehydrators do not use heat to cook the food but to dehydrate them.
That is why food dehydrators draw out water content from all foods. Functioning at a lower temperature, food dehydrators have a special heating/drying feature. They are equipped with fans that dry out foods. This drying feature uses low temperature to circulate air inside the appliance.
Ovens, on the other hand, are equipped with coils that increase the temperature of foods to cook them.
To make dehydrators more effective, make sure you cut foods into small pieces before dehydrating. This quickens the dehydrating process. And the thinner the food pieces, the faster they will dry.
If you want to dehydrate fruits like pineapple or mango, I’m sure you are looking for that chewy, candy-like texture of the fruit. So it’s best to dehydrate the fruits for a short time at mid-temperature.
After dehydrating, make sure you keep them in a sealed plastic bag. If you want to avoid getting the fruit damp or sticky again, it’s best to eat it once it’s fully dehydrated.
Is buying a food dehydrator worth your time and money? With a food dehydrator, you can make healthy snacks at home. And so they are effective in the long-run. Because you won’t find any other kitchen appliance that does what a food dehydrator does.
You can also make pickles, salads, and other interesting dishes at home using a food dehydrator. It’s low-cost and offers you a natural, healthy way of making snacks at home. Without additives, sugar, and other preservatives that you will usually find in store-bought dried foods.
The upside of using electric food dehydrators is that they do not take a long time to dehydrate foods. When you compare using a food dehydrator to air/sun drying, it’s a faster technique. And it yields more consistent results which you can rely on every time!