If you are interested in buying food in bulk
or want to store the products of your garden
but donít want to can or freeze, consider
drying the food. Drying removes moisture
so bacteria, yeast, and/or mold canít grow
and spoil the food.
When selecting a food dehydrator,
some helpful hints:
- Most people today prefer using an electric
food dehydrator with a fan for blowing air
around the food for a quicker and more convenient
- Purchase a food dehydrator that will meet
your present and future needs. Although it
might be tempting to go with a smaller unit,
larger units allow you to dry more at one
time and save you time in processing. Units
that expand (allow you to add/remove trays)
can solve the problem of how small/big a
unit to get since you can adjust the number
of trays used when drying. If you know you
will be doing a lot of drying, consider getting
a small commercial dehydrator instead of
a home dehydrator.
- Dehydrators with horizontal airflow make
it easier to dry several similar kinds of
food at one time without mixing flavors or
- Trays made with plastic are easier to clean.
Be careful of metal trays unless they are
safe to drying food since some metals can
react with food. Mesh trays should have a
fine enough grid or special mesh inserts
so small food such as corn kernels doesnít
fall through. When making fruit leathers
and jerky, you will need a solid tray.
- Different foods need different temperatures
for optimal taste and texture; a temperature
dial lets you select the temperature. Some
models have a color-coded dial and color-coded
food-drying chart that is convenient to use
when selecting the right temperature.
- An automatic shut off is especially important
so that when the food is done, the unit shuts
itself off to prevent over drying the food.
This gives you more flexibility in drying
without the worry of getting up in the middle
of the night or rushing home from work to
turn the unit off.
Once the food is dried, it needs to be stored
in an airtight, completely dry storage container
for long shelf life. Many people prefer to
use a vacuum food sealer for storage, especially if the food is going
to be used in camping and/or hiking trips.