Dehydrating is one of the ways in which you can preserve food. The process of dehydrating has been practiced from ancient times. Back in the days food items were dried in the sun till all the moisture content was eliminated. The moisture content gets reduced to somewhere between 5 and 20%. And in this range bacteria cannot survive and the food stays preserved for a long time.
But the sun-drying process takes a lot of time and energy. But technology has grown by leaps and bounds so we don’t have to depend on the sun for drying our food. Today we have something called electric dehydrators.
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How do Electric Dehydrators work?
Electric dehydrators make use of a built-in fan and heat to create a light flow of hot air inside the appliance to dry the food items placed in the trays. The best electric food dehydrators feature a temperature control dial and a timer. The temperature gauge increase or decrease the drying time depending on the food item that you are drying. Meats take a longer time than fruits and veggies.
Does an electric dehydrator destroy the nutrients in the food?
Foods when properly dehydrated will retain most of it nutritional content. When food is cooked it loses its overall nutritional value. This is the reason why most health enthusiasts prefer a raw diet. Compared to cooking, dehydrated foods preserve most of their nutrients.
Ever wondered why doctors recommend dried fruits as a remedy for constipation? Because dried fruits contain more fibre in proportion to it original weight. Store-bought dried snacks often contain preservatives and added sugars. But when you use an electric dehydrator to dry your food you have control over what goes into it.
The best way to preserve maximum nutrients in home dehydrated food is to dry them at the right temperature. This is one of the key advantages of using an electric dehydrator instead of using an oven or a solar dehydrator. .
You can use the temperature control settings to dry the food at low temperatures so that the dried food preserves more nutrients. Also blanching the vegetables before drying them also helps to preserve more vitamins and minerals.
What are the food items that you can dehydrate in an electric dehydrator?
Almost everything. But some of them dry better than others. Here are some of the most common food items that are dehydrated –
- Vegetables – Tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, beans, carrots, peas. All of which can be used to make soups and stews and served as picnic or backpacking meals
- Fruits – cherries, berries, apples, bananas, peaches, pears, apricots and many more. You can use them as snacks for your little ones or add them to cereal mixes or granola mixes to enjoy healthier diets.
- Fish and Meat – Chicken, beef, turkey, fresh fish and so on. Who doesn’t love them? Can be used for soups and stews. You can also take them on holidays and trips and make instant meals out of them.
- Nuts and seeds – Almonds, Cashews, pecans, macadamia, walnuts, etc. you can dry them after soaking and sprouting. This makes them more digestible.
- Grains – All kinds of grains such as rice, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, etc can be preserved and stored for making flours or granolas.
- Herbs – Basil, parsley, fennel, mint, dil, oregano and other herbs can be dried and stored for later use in cooking and for making tea.
COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine
- The dehydrator is energy efficient. It shuts down automatically once the drying process comes to an end.
- It is spacey. It has 6 strays and lots of drying area to dry different kinds of food items at one time.
- The appliance is easy to operate
- It has a compact design. Thus takes up less space in your kitchen
- The trays for drying food are BPA-free. These are also dishwasher friendly
- This versatile dehydrator allows you to work with a variety of food items
- Since it is lightweight you can move it around with ease
- You cannot add number of trays it is not expandable
- The power cord is short and might not be convenient to use
- It has been noticed that the food placed on the upper trays don’t dry well. There seems to be an issue of uneven drying.
- The body is not transparent. Therefore monitoring the drying process is not an option
It is affordable, reliable and contemporary. That’s what customers who bought this dehydrator had to say. The machine is easy to operate and includes a whole bunch of features suitable for seasoned as well as young cooks. It has a 9 square feet drying space which means it can cater to small and big families. The wide range of temperature settings allows you to dehydrate everything from delicate herbs and dry fruits to thick slices of meat.
Brod& Taylor SAHARA Folding Food Dehydrator
- It can fold down to an amazing 1/3rd of its original dimensions for storage purpose
- Includes 700 watt dual heaters for quick and even drying
- Features glass doors so that you can monitor the drying process
- Includes automated temperature and time controls
- It is pricey
- There is no recipe book
The Sahara folding food dehydrator from Brod & Taylor is made from premium-quality material and has an appealing design. The inclusion of a 700 watt dual heaters ensures that the entire food content in all the trays are evenly dried. The machine offers a total drying area of 11 square feet. Storing this machine is also easy since it is compact in size. Other features that make this machine one of a kind are its dual heaters, noise-free fan and its foldable unit.
Ivation Stainless Steel Tray Electric Food Dehydrator Machine
- It complies with the US electrical Safety Regulations
- The controls are digital and easy to use.
- The drying space is generous enough to dehydrate huge quantities of food items.
- It is a great appliance for big families
- The fan is not noisy
- Even while the dehydrator is heating up the food, the exterior manages to stay cool.
- The package does not include an instruction manual
- Since this is a big dehydrator it takes up a lot of counter space and storing might become a problem if you have a small kitchen
- Does not come with a drying time sheet
- Not sure if the trays are BPA-free since the company does not mention it
You can use this affordable dehydrator to make all kinds of dried food items such as dried fruits, herbs and jerky. The most attractive feature of this dehydrator is its affordability. There are no other fancy features which explains the impressive price. All the effort has been focussed on creating a machine that gets the work done, which is – the even and proper drying of the food content.
Magic Mill Commercial Food Dehydrator Machine
- The Magic Mill dehydrator is BPA-free. You can enjoy nutritious food with getting them adulterated with toxins
- The shelves are made out of stainless steel which makes them strong and durable
- Features overheating safety protection which prevents overheating of the food items as well as the appliance
- The control panel is user-friendly. It is located on the front side of the appliance which is easy to reach and operate
- The transparent door allows you to watch over the drying process without having to open the dehydrator
- The appliance works quietly
- It is suitable for small kitchens also
- It produces a strong plastic smell
- Since the dehydration process happens slowly in this machine it takes a long time to get the food items dehydrated
- The six stainless trays cannot be expanded
- The body of the dehydrator is plastic which makes the machine less durable
If you want to buy a dehydrator which is compact and easy to use then the Magic Mill is for you. The machine features 9 shelves along with 9 extra mesh sheets and 5 additional trays. All this to allow you to store lots of food in the appliance. The automated features on the device saves you a lot of time and makes the drying process seem effortless.
Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A
- This compact appliance is efficient and has been shown to dry food evenly. It can work with all kinds of ingredients.
- Features adjustable temperature settings to allow you to dry wide range of different food items
- Sits nicely on the counter due to tis compact design. This feature also makes storing effortless
- It is easy to clean
- It includes a very useful set of accessories which is not offered with most models
- It is expandable. You can add trays to dry more food
- Includes a very comprehensive manual
- It does not have a timer. There is then the risk of the food items getting over-dried. So you will have to keep on checking during regular intervals
- Strangely it does not have an on/off switch. You plug in and plug out which might be inconvenient for some of us.
Amazon rates the Nesco Snackmaster Dehydrator as one of its top seller. The reason being – its ease of use. All you need to do is set the dial to the desired temperature and plug in the cord. Storage is also hassle-free since it is smaller compared to most models. It includes 5 strays and you can expand it to 12. The package also includes two small mesh screens for smaller ingredients such as berries and herbs, two fruit leather sheets and three spice packets for making jerky. Along with all these accessories, you will also get a recipe book that shares tips, recipes and ideas for storing.
Excalibur 2400 Electric Food Dehydrator
- FeaturesParallexx® Horizontal Airflow and Hyperwave™ Fluctuation Technology
- Comes with a guide to dehydration
- Includes a limited 5 year warranty
- Is manufactured in USA
- Food gets dried without destroying the enzymes and other nutrients
- There is no timer. Increases the chances of over-drying
- Takes up a lot of counter space
- Does not have transparent windows to oversee the drying process
Excalibur is one of the leading manufacturers of kitchen appliances. It has been making dehydrators from as early as early 1970s. The 2400 Electric food dehydrator is a budget-friendly model. Compared to other food dehydrators reviewed here this particular model features 4 trays with fewer shelves.
But you still get a drying space of four square feet. The unit weighs 8 pounds and measures 16.25 x 13 x 6.5 inches. The trays are made out of BPA-free plastic. It includes mesh-screens as well to prevent the food from sticking. The model comes with a four-inch fan which enhances air circulation to get an evenly dried food content. The thermostat temperature ranges between 95F and 165F.
Gourmia GFD1680 Countertop Electric Food Dehydrator
- The 360° air circulation ensures even drying. You don’t have to rotate the trays.
- Is more efficient because it takes less time in drying when compared to the vertical heating dehydrators
- The smooth airflow, quiet operation and adjustable shelves are other notable features.
- The transparent window, a heavy ABS housing and efficient power-usage got the Gourmia GFD1680 to our list.
- The Protective food sheet and the drying trays are not dishwasher friendly. You will need to clean them manually.
- It makes noise
The Gourmia GFD1680 belongs to the high-end category of food dehydrators. The six drying shelves provide a lot of space for dehydrating all kinds of food. The inclusion of pre-set temperature settings and a digital thermostat makes the job easier. Hence this appliance is suitable for novice cooks. You can cook several kinds of dry snacks with this appliance such as dried fruits and jerky without adding any preservatives or too much salt.
Aroma Housewares Professional Food Dehydrator
- It is versatile and efficient. It can dry all kinds of food
- The fan unit works quietly
- The transparent door allows you to monitor the food as it cooks. It saves you time and energy
- It is small, light and compact. Easy to handle
- The trays, mesh sheets and the door are BPA-free
- The Aroma Housewares offers a 5 year warranty on this appliance which is way more than that offered by other brands
- It does not include additional trays
- The six trays are fixed. Cannot adjust a single tray
- The trays are not dishwasher-safe. You will have to manually clean them
- This dehydrator is not suitable for big families because it is small
- It does not have a timer which can be a big turn off if you are a forgetful person
The six large adjustable trays allow you to cook different kinds of food items in a short period of time. The automatic fan featured in this model makes sure that the food gets dried evenly. It also prevents over-heating which might cause the food to lose its nutrients. You will also see an adjustable thermostat which functions to make sure that all the food items are dried at their optimal temperature. You can adjust the temperature between 95 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tribest Sedona Express
- Different dehydrating modes
- Adjustable temperature settings
- Programmable timer
- 11 trays that are dishwasher-safe
The 11 stainless trays that comes with the Tribest Sedona Express holds a lot of space for dehydrating a wide range of food stuff. The trays are made out of stainless steel. The glass door has a lock shut feature. Although users have mentioned an issue of the food getting stuck to the metal, it is seen that the drying is however even. It produces very less noise and includes an easy to operate control panel.
It also has several dehydrating modes. The different dehydrating modes are – fast, raw and a combination of both. You can use the fast mode to dry the food faster. It increases the temperature above the set degree. In the raw mode the temperature does not exceed the set temperature. This prevents over-heating. With the raw mode the heating becomes more precise.
Nesco snackmaster pro
- It comes with simple controls
- It is easy to clean
- The food gets evenly dried without having to rotate the trays
- It is not noisy
- The machine is affordable
- Does not have an on/off switch
The Nesco Snackmaster Pro is a stackable food dehydrator. It too is one of the top-selling models on Amazon. You can easily use it to dry veggies, fruits, berries, nuts and jerky in a few hours’ time. The food gets preserved without destroying the nutrients.
One of the convenient features in this model is that the fan is mounted on the top. So the liquid does not drip into the heating chamber and thus there is no mess. It uses 700 watts of power to provide enough heat for even drying. The Snackmaster is easy, reliable and can be expanded to dry large quantities of food.
Electric dehydrators let you enjoy seasonal fruits and veggies during all seasons. The contemporary models dry the food without killing nutrients. The food dehydrators reviewed 2020 here are the best electric food dehydrators on Amazon. Pick your favorite to cook and enjoy delicious and nutritious dried foods at home.