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Food Dehydrators

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, here are 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 job.
  • 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 aromas.
  • 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.

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