Do you hate it when your beautiful garden fruits and veggies go to waste at their peak because you fail to use and preserve them all?
With a high-quality dehydrator like the Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster, you can easily preserve all kinds of foods and make healthy snacks and treats for your family and pets. You can also preserve the taste and nutrient qualities of the foods by using one of the oldest preservation methods known to mankind – drying.
We have reviewed numerous dehydrators and have come up with a list of the top 10 dehydrators for 2022.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about these convenient kitchen appliances.
NESCO FD-1018A, Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator
The overall best dehydrator money can buy in 2022 is the powerful and reasonably priced NESCO FD-1018A Gardenmaster.
It is sold with eight trays, so you can arrange and dehydrate large quantities of different fruits, herbs, jerky, and other food products at the same time. This gives you a massive 8 square feet of drying area to line up all of those products on.
It allows for spreading and drying about 5 lbs. of sliced beef strips and up to 6 lbs. of sliced apples at the same time.
You can further expand this excellent dehydrator to an impressive 30 trays if you have a lot of products you need to dry and store. All you need to do is buy the extra Nesco American Harvest dehydrator trays you need, and you will have a food dehydrating device which has the perfect capacity for your needs.
Thanks to the added eight fine mesh inserts in the dehydrator, you don’t have to worry about parts of food falling down through the cracks of the unit.
It also comes with plastic fruit-rolling sheets for each tray and eight clean-up screens.
The motor is 2,400 rpm and has a 4 ½ inch fan on the bottom to ensure that the upward airflow throughout the unit is evenly spread.
The temperature can be adjusted easily from 95 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and the appliance is one of the fastest workings on the market.
You can easily adjust the temperature to one of the seven available temperature settings: 95, 105, 115, 125, 135, 145, and 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Plus, you don’t have to rotate trays throughout the dehydrating process, which will save you a lot of effort and hassle. The design allows for working with various foodstuffs on each tray without any flavor or odor mixing during the heating and drying process.
The racks fit perfectly to one another to create a closed chamber and to minimize the loss of hot air during the drying process.
Thanks to its vertical design, and its special Converga-Flow technology, the hot air passes evenly through each and every tray, so you can expect consistent results for the foodstuffs placed on the different trays and levels.
Also, each of the racks is sloped upwards from the end to the center so that the food on the edges does not block the airflow to the middle. Each tray has notches on its rims, allowing for an even flow of hot air and consistent evaporation.
An added extra feature makes this dehydrator even more efficient – it recycles some hot air via the special central cone in the base of the unit.
The exterior is opaque, which blocks any light from outside in order to preserve as many of the vitamins and nutrients in the food inside as possible.
The trays and the cover of the NESCO FD-1018A are all dishwasher safe, so you won’t need to deal with hand washing all those trays when you are done.
The appliance is sold with a useful recipe book which will guide you through the dehydrating process for every food and ingredient you want to process.
The size of this excellent countertop dehydrator is 17 x 15.5 x 14 inches, and it weighs 17 lbs.
The dehydrator is sold with a 1-year warranty, it is easy to use, and is expandable to meet the needs of all households.
Related content – Food Dehydrator Reviews 2022
Samson Silent Dehydrator 6-Tray
The name of the runner-up in our list says it all. The Samson Silent Dehydrator operates very quietly, so you can run it at any time without the noise associated with most other dehydrators on the market.
It has six racks and trays and requires minimal reshuffling during the drying process.
This modern kitchen appliance has an easy-to-read and set digital control panel on top and has some nifty features, such as a timer and an auto shut-off function, so you can let it work unattended safely.
You can set the temperature of the device to one of the eight available settings: 95, 104, 113, 122, 131, 140, 149, and 158 degrees Fahrenheit.
Thanks to the fact that it has a sliding tray design, means that you can remove one or more trays, if you require more space for certain food products you are going to dehydrate, such as fermenting yogurt and drying flowers.
The unit is 400 watts, which means it will take about 25% more time to dry the foodstuffs than the top-rated product on the list.
But then again, it will dry all the foods and products evenly, with a minimal rotation of the trays, as the heat is produced from the back of the appliance. It has a powerful and large-sized, super-quiet 7-inch fan to help circulate the hot air evenly.
It comes with fine mesh inserts for each of the six trays to prevent food from falling.
The unit is also available in a larger 9-tray version for those of you who have more products to dry.
The Samson Silent 6-tray dehydrator has a countertop or table footprint of 17 ¾ x 13 ½ inches and provides a total of 6 ½ square feet of drying space.
The height of the dehydrator is 12.51 inches, and it weighs 12.05 lbs.
This excellent quality dehydrator is sold with a 5-year warranty for peace of mind.
The best budget-friendly option
Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator
If you are shopping for a good quality dehydrator but do not want to spend too much money on such an appliance, then we strongly recommend the inexpensive Presto 06300 Dehydro Food Dehydrator.
It has four stackable trays and a see-through top cover so you can keep an eye on the food getting dried on top.
The 600-watt heating element and fan are on the bottom of the unit for a better and more even airflow upwards through all four trays.
All of the trays and the cover can be immersed in water, and are dishwasher safe for easy washing and rinsing. They are BPA-free and safe.
When it is not in use, this appliance can be stored easily, thanks to the design allowing for the unit to nest all of the trays inside. The cord can be neatly stored in the base of the unit as well.
The affordable dehydrator can be expanded to up to eight trays if you decide to buy one or more of its inexpensive extra trays offered on the market. You can also buy the special non-stick mesh screens, as well as the special jerky spice and jerky gun kits.
The size of this low-priced appliance is 14.5 x 15 x 6.25 inches, and it weighs 7.5 lbs.
For this price, the Presto 06300 is great for fruit, veggies, jerky, rolls, sun-dried tomato pesto, herbs, and spices you can buy on the market in 2022.
You will save tons of money from buying commercially available dehydrated jerky, fruits, and other products, and will be able to make them yourself with no harmful additives, and by preserving all healthy nutrients and tastes.
You can even make healthy snacks and treats for your dog with this and the other dehydrators we have added to this list, which will further lower your monthly bills for dog food.
The rest of the best
Magic Mill MFD-6100 Magic Mill Professional Dehydrator Machine
Do you want to save money by making your own healthy and delicious dehydrated treats in the comfort of your home? With the Magic Mill MFD-6100, you can do that easily, quickly, and at an excellent price. Plus, it comes with a wide variety of racks and trays which you do not have to purchase separately.
- All racks and part which are in contact with the food are safe and BPA-free
- A rear-mounted heater and fan which spreads the hot air evenly without leaving any raw parts and without overheating certain foods
- It has an adjustable thermostat for optimal drying and delicious taste and crispiness
- The auto shut off function will allow you to let the machine do its thing while you spend your precious time doing something else
- Its six 13 x 12-inch stainless steel mesh racks, 2 plastic fine mesh trays, and 2 nonstick trays for drying all kinds of foods and products
- Also included are oven mitts for safe handling and rotating of the racks and trays
- You can remove a few racks to make more space for larger products you want to dry
- The drip pan is also very easy to clean
- It has a digital thermostat
- An easy to set timer can be set to up to 19.5 hours of drying
- The temperature can be adjusted from 95 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit
- It operates quietly, so you can set it up to work overnight and wake up to a vitamin-rich and delicious breakfast
- The dimensions of the unit are 15 x 13.5 x 19 inches, and it weighs 15.45 lbs.
- A stylish black design that will look great on your kitchen countertop
Food Dehydrator Machine, Digital Timer, and Temperature Control
With the Homdox Food Dehydrator, you will have an excellent and easy-to-use appliance for preserving all kinds of vegetables, fruits, and other food products. You can also make delicious and healthy treats for yourself, your family, and even for your pets in it.
- A 400-watt motor powers the heating element, and a fan on the bottom of the unit
- It comes with 8 BPA-free stackable trays
- The trays and tray liners are dishwasher safe
- It has a timer that can be set to up to 72 hours
- The temperature can be set from 95 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit
- The digital control display will show the exact temperature at all times
- Thanks to the see-through design of the unit, you can keep an eye on each of the trays without the need of opening the unit or removing any of the trays
- No rotation of the drying trays is necessary, as the hot air will spread evenly throughout the appliance thanks to the 360-degree hot air circulation system
- You can choose from two tray settings – you can rotate them at 180 degrees or set them at different distances from one another depending on the size of the foods you are drying
- The dimensions of the appliance are 14 x 12 x 10 inches and it weighs 4.2 lbs.
Gourmia GFD1680 Premium Countertop Food Dehydrator
With a good quality dehydrator like the Gourmia GFD1680 Premium, you can purchase seasonal fruits and veggies, and dehydrate them so you can enjoy those delicious tastes and vitamins later on through the year. Plus, you do not have to add any preservatives or additives to store these tasty chips and snacks for months.
- A six tray vertical design
- Each tray is 13 x 12 inches in size
- It is sold with an extra fruit leather sheet and an easy to clean drip tray
- A large window on the front door, so you can monitor the process at all times without opening it
- The door is magnetic and will keep the hot air in for added energy efficiency and for faster dehydrating
- The 360-degree hot air circulation in the appliance will allow for even drying without any raw or overheated food pieces
- No rotation of the trays is required during the dehydrating process
- The trays and unit are BPA-free and safety certified
- The control panel and display are easy to see and set
- The timer can be adjusted in 30-minute increments
- You can choose between 8 different temperature settings from 95 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit
- The dimensions of the countertop dehydrator are 13.5 x 17.75 x 12.75 (W, D, H), and it weighs 17.75 lbs.
- Made of sturdy ABS plastic
- Sold with a useful user manual which includes instructions for drying various types of foods
COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine (50 Free Recipes)
If you are new to dehydrating your own snacks, herb, and preserving fruits and veggies, then the Cosori Premium Food Dehydrator could be the perfect option for you. It is easy to use and comes with a detailed recipe booklet with 50 free recipes for preparing treats for you, your family, and for your pets, and for preserving foods of all kinds.
- A contemporary stainless steel countertop design
- A 600-watt motor
- It has 6 stainless steel mesh trays which measure 12 x 13 inches each
- The overall drying space is about 6.5 square feet
- Also, with the dehydrator, you get a mesh screen and a fruit roll sheet
- Easy to use digital control
- The timer can be set to up to 48 hours in 30-minute increments
- A glass front door for monitoring the food as it dries without opening the appliance
- The temperature can be set precisely from 95 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit
- There is a detailed user manual and a useful recipe book with 50 recipes
- It makes a noise of up to 48 dB only, so you can let it work during the night while you and your family sleep
- It has an auto shut-off function for when the set time is over
- All tray liners are BPA-free
- The 6 trays can safely be washed in a dishwasher (top rack)
- The size of the unit is 13.4 x 17.8 x 12.4 inches, and it weighs 23.6 lbs.
- Sold with a 2-year warranty and a 90-day money-back guarantee, as well as lifetime support by the manufacturer
- It is ETL listed and safe
Samson “Silent” 10 Tray ALL Stainless Steel Dehydrator
If you want a sturdy and top-quality dehydrator which you can use on a daily basis for years to come, you can’t go wrong with the Samson Silent 10 Tray dehydrator.
- A solid, stainless steel durable appliance
- The powerful motor is 1000 watts, and the fan is 7 inches in diameter
- Include 10 stainless steel trays for drying large amounts of food simultaneously
- The size of each tray is 15 x 15 inches
- The distance between the racks is 1 ¼ inch
- It also comes with 10 mesh liners and a drip tray – all of them BPA-free
- The appliance provides a huge 15.6 square foot drying space
- A window on the front door allows for monitoring the process without opening the door and losing heat
- Very quiet operation
- Easy to use push button digital controls
- You can choose from 8 temperature settings from 95 to 167 degrees Fahrenheit
- The timer can be set from 30 minutes up to 19.5 hours in 30-minute increments.
- There are increase and decrease buttons, which you can use to adjust the timer and the temperature during the drying process.
- Each of the trays can be moved or removed so you can fit food products of all sizes and shapes.
- The size of the appliance is 17 (L) x 21 (W) x 16.5 (H) inches
- It weighs 40.8 lbs.
- It is sold with a 5-year warranty on the motor, heater, fan, and control panel.
STX International STX-DEH-600W-SST-CB Stainless Steel Dehydra
Along with this excellent dehydrator, you will receive an e-recipe book with more than 270 recipes, so you can get new ideas for treats, snacks, and food preservation each and every day with the STX International STX-DEH-600W-SST-CB.
- 600-watt motor powers the horizontal airflow system
- The heating element and the fan are on the back of the unit for even heating and air circulation
- A solid stainless steel body – outside and inside, which makes it durable, easy to clean, and safe
- The hinge-less front door is heat retentive and transparent so you can view the food inside without the need to open it
- It is sold with 10 stainless steel fine mesh trays (¼ x ¼ inch openings)
- You can remove some of the trays to make more space for larger items
- A total drying area of 1055 cubic inches
- The trays are dishwasher safe
- Easy to set digital temperature controls for temperatures from 85 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit
- A timer which can be set to up to 40 hours
- The added cookbook “Dehydrating made easy” includes over 270 brilliant recipes and ideas.
- The size of the appliance is 19 x 12.5 x 13.75 inches, and it weighs 22.5 lbs.
- Sold with a 3-year full guarantee
Who needs a food dehydrator?
Although a dehydrator is a quite useful appliance, it is definitely not a universal kitchen tool that everyone needs.
The results of using the dehydrator can be very rewarding, though, especially if you fall into one of the following categories:
An advanced gardener or farmer
If you tend to end up with more excellent products than you can actually use and then you need, you can use a good quality dehydrator to preserve your riches, instead of looking at ways to give them away to family and friends.
You can dry all kinds of veggies, fruits, herbs, and spices, which you can store for months and even years and use as snacks, or for cooking various meals during the winter and throughout the year.
Dehydrated fruits and veggies take up much less space than canned or frozen ones, and they also maintain their nutritious value and their taste when dried properly.
An avid hunter or fisherman
If you have come home with a treasured catch from fishing or hunting, you know just how much space in your freezer your venison or fish takes up. By using the dehydrator, you can turn part of the meat into jerky, which can safely be stored outside of the fridge, and which not only saves space but is a very tasty snack.
The same goes for drying salmon, trout, and tuna.
An enthusiastic DIYer
If you love spending time making your own healthy, tasty and inexpensive snacks at home, then the dehydrator is an excellent investment for you. You can make so many different types of snacks with one of these nifty appliances.
You can make your own fruit leather, jerky, and even make treats for your dogs or for your baby.
This is an excellent option if you want to save money, and also if you want to make sure you know exactly what is in these snacks, unlike the ones which are commercially available. This is great if you have food allergies or sensitivities or if you are on a special diet with limited ingredients.
If you want to support your local farmers and producers
If you have pledged to support your local food producers as much as possible, you can easily buy seasonal products dry them, and preserve them, so you can use them during the rest of the year.
Imagine having free access to fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs in the middle of the cold winter? With a dehydrator, this can be achieved very easily.
A hiker or camper
If you love spending your free time on camping or hiking trips, then dehydrating your own meals will not only help you save loads of money but will also allow you to prepare your packable and lightweight snacks and meals exactly in the way you prefer them.
If you are health conscious and want healthy treats and foods for your family and pets
Dehydrated snacks are much healthier than sugary and other commercial snacks, which are full of preservatives and fillers.
With a dehydrator, you can make delicious and healthy treats for yourself, your children, and even your dogs.
Not only will this save you tons of money for commercial treats and snacks, but you will know exactly what your treats contain every time.
Types of dehydrators
Home food dehydrators come in two main types:
Horizontal flow dehydrators
These are the dehydrators which look more like small ovens and have racks that can be pulled out or taken out altogether to make space for bulky items.
The horizontal flow dehydrators are usually larger than the vertical flow ones, and they will take up more countertop space. They are generally more expensive too.
Their heating element and fan are usually on the back of the unit, and the hot air is blown forward towards the trays.
They also usually have glass doors allowing for monitoring all trays without opening the appliance and losing that precious heat.
Vertical flow dehydrators
These are the dehydrators comprised of trays stacked one on top of the other. Together, these stacked trays help create a closed chamber, which keeps the hot air inside, as it circulates through the different foods on the different trays.
Vertical flow stacked tray dehydrators usually take up lesser space and are cheaper than the horizontal flow types.
Most vertical flow dehydrators can be expanded, by simply adding more trays to the stack. This means you can adjust the size and capacity of your dehydrator in accordance with your needs.
One of the cons of this type of dehydrator is that the trays are stacked together, and thus you cannot expand the space between them to process larger-sized products.
If you are planning on accommodate bulky food products and items like yogurt jars, then you may want to look for a vertical flow dehydrator that has an option of adding special trays but at an added cost.
The features to look for when buying a dehydrator
Although home dehydrators look like pretty simple and straightforward electrical appliances which have a heating element, a fan, and some racks or trays, the truth is there are some features which make some models much better than others.
Here are the features to look for when choosing a dehydrator:
Even drying with minimal or no rotation
The best home dehydrator should be able to dry all of the pieces and slices of food on each of the trays or racks with no need of or with minimal need of rotating them.
The even drying ensures that all pieces of food have the same crispy and rich taste and that there are no raw parts or overheated parts.
The even drying depends on the technology of the dehydrator allowing for proper air circulation.
With vertical flow dehydrators, which have their heating elements and fans in the base, the circulation of the hot air throughout the chamber is excellent. This is because hot air naturally rises above cold one.
The dehydrators which have heating elements and fans on top require more rotation from your side.
The horizontal flow dehydrators we have picked for you also provide excellent air circulation and even drying with minimal need of rotating the food or racks in order to avoid any dead spots with cool or hot air.
When making fruit leather, for example, you need to have consistent air flow in order to dry the whole sheet of puree evenly before you can peel it off of the plastic.
Size and capacity
Because prepping the food for drying does take a lot of time and quite a bit of effort, and also because the resulting dried products shrink quite a lot, investing in a larger capacity and bigger dehydrator makes sense.
Look at the total drying area of each of the dehydrators offered and choose the one which will suit your specific needs for drying food.
Some dehydrators, including those included in our list, come with added extras, such as fruit-roll trays, fine-mesh mats to keep herbs and smaller pieces from falling. Some come with oven mitts, as well as with other accessories, which you would otherwise have to pay for if you want to have them and use them with your dehydrator.
Ease of cleaning
Of course, cleaning will be part of the process of dehydration because you will want to keep your appliance clean and sanitary, right?
Look for appliances that have dishwasher-safe trays or racks, and also fully immersible parts so you can give them a nice soak and wash them properly.
Also, if you prefer a horizontal flow dehydrator, choose one with a removable and easy to clean the drip tray, to make your life easier.
The units we have picked for you are made of high-quality materials, so you shouldn’t worry about any odors from foods like onions sticking and staying on them.
Stainless steel is obviously more durable and easier to clean than most types of plastic.
Timer and automatic shutoff
Since dehydrating different types of foods takes different amounts of time, and in most cases, the drying process can last for many hours, it is very useful to get a dehydrator that has a timer for longer hours, as well as with a shutoff function. This will allow you to turn it on and go out, or go to bed without worrying about burning the food or your house down.
Then again, in some cases, stopping the drying earlier can cause spoilage or mold growth, so you will need to control the timing closely.
Over drying the food too is not recommended as some foods will not be as delicious if they are too dry, including jerky or fruit leather.
Accurate temperature setting
As mentioned earlier, the different foods require different drying times, but also they dehydrate well at different temperatures too.
Most dehydrators have 7 or more adjustable temperature settings from just under 90 and a little over 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range is sufficient for properly dehydrating most common foods.
In our experience, being able to set the exact precise temperature for dehydrating is rarely necessary, but it is helpful to be able to lower the temperature to 90-100 degrees for more delicate products like herbs and flowers, and below 140 degrees when drying veggies and fruits. On the other hand, meat and fish need temperatures which are around 160 degrees to dry properly and safely.
Because dehydrators have fans, they will make some noise. If you are sensitive to sound, then you may want to pick one of the models which are advertised as quieter. You can also use the dehydrator in a laundry room, garage, or another place where you can close the door, and enjoy a quieter environment at home.
If you want to turn the dehydrator on overnight, then you should definitely choose one of the quieter models from our list.
Tips for successful home food dehydrating
Dehydrating food is a food preservation method used since 12,000 BC., but even today, newbies must know that this process does require some practice and experimenting.
This is definitely not a quick process with quick results, so you will need to be patient before you get the results you expect.
Start with easier types of food that require less time for drying, and after you get used to the process move on to others that require more drying time, like grapes, which can take over 36 hours to dry properly.
Use top quality products at the height of the season
Always use fresh fruits, veggies, herbs, and spices which are at the peak of their season. Avoid dehydrating something that is still ripe, or overripe let alone rotting.
The result of the drying process depends on the quality of the product you put in the dehydrator, so make sure you use high-quality foods, remove any bad parts or bruised spots from the pieces.
Dehydrating sweet and succulent fruits make their sweetness even more concentrated.
When processing meat or fish – always make sure that it is firm and fresh before drying them.
You’ll want to harvest fruit and vegetables when they’re at their peak.
Cut the pieces uniformly
Use a mandolin or a rotary tool to ensure that you get even and consistent slices and cuts of foods. This is essential not only for aesthetics but also because the foods of the same size and thickness require the same time and temperature for drying.
If you are making jerky, a jerky gun may be a good idea to use, as it will help you make uniform sticks of ground meat jerky.
Remember that juicy fruits and veggies need to be cut as soon as possible after harvesting them or buying them before you place them on the drying sheets.
No matter whether you decide to use a specialized tool or a kitchen knife for cutting your produce, just use the same technique for the entire batch. Consistency is key for good results when drying food.
Although you can dry different types of foods on the different racks or trays of your dehydrator, you should place only one type of food on each of the trays or racks.
When drying kale, wash it, de-stem it, and tear it into large pieces about the size of your palm. They will shrink significantly during the drying, so one head of kale will turn into a small bag of kale chips like the ones sold in stores.
If you want to dry green beans, then you just need to trim their ends and then lay them on the drying sheets.
The good news is that if you are consistent and patient enough, you will gradually find the best prepping and drying process which suits your needs, and the entire dehydrating process will run faster and more smoothly.
Enhancing the colors and flavor of the foods
If you have the patience and time to work on preserving not only the taste but the color of your dehydrated foods, then you can prep them before placing them in the dehydrator.
Fruits and veggies like potatoes, pears, or apples will turn brownish after drying. To preserve the natural color, you can soak the slices in lemon juice or in a solution of water with crushed vitamin C tablets. Just dip them and remove them. This will help keep their color without affecting their taste.
You can also use a spray bottle to mist the slices with the acidic solution.
If you would like to experiment with the taste of your dried foods, here are some great ideas for dehydrating and seasoning different fruits and vegetables:
Apples can be marinated in a mixture of coconut oil with cinnamon.
Green beans become even tastier when spiced up with some cayenne and paprika.
Sliced beets can be seasoned with a touch of olive oil and some Himalayan salt.
Sweet potatoes can be sliced like fries and placed in a marinade of soy sauce overnight.
You can continue experimenting with combining the foods and tastes that you love – the combinations are virtually endless.
Dry the food completely
It is essential for safety and for reasons of preserving the foods that you dry them completely. The drying time varies on the type of food you are processing. It can also be affected by the climate you live in. Obviously, if you live in a dryer climate, the dehydration will be faster.
Also, keep in mind when you will be consuming your dried food. If you are going to store it for longer, it will need some extra drying time.
It is crucial for your safety to familiarize yourself with the food safety best practices, especially when drying meat and fish. Use the National Center for Home Food Preservation website as a reference, in order to prevent dangerous foodborne illnesses.
Store the dried food properly
The drying process is just the first part of food preservation with a dehydrator. After that, you will need to store it properly in order to prevent it from spoiling over time.
Once you are done with the drying, let the food cool down completely. This means leaving it out for 30 minutes or more before placing it in bags, jars or containers.
The dehydrated food will stay fresh for longer if you place it in airtight containers. You can use mason jars with tight-fitting lids, zip lock bags with the air removed, or dry storage containers. You can also vacuum seal the dehydrated food, which is especially useful if you have limited space at home, or if you are going to be taking the food camping or hiking with you.
If you notice condensation in the jar or bag, you can put the food back into the dehydrator, but if it has been a while then, unfortunately, you should throw it away.
Keep the jars or bags in a dark and cool environment.
If you are planning on using the dehydrated food for a couple of years, then you should place them in freezer bags, remove the air and freeze them.
Dry the food, do not cook it!
Drying the food is not the same as cooking it. Although the two require heat, one of the key differences is the temperature used. Dehydrators preserve the enzymes in the food and also the nutrients.
Always keep the temperature at the lowest level that will do the job. You can speed up the process by turning on the dehydrator to a higher temperature for the first 30 minutes, and then turn it down to the lowest recommended temperature for the rest of the drying process.
If you find that you have over-dried your food, like apple or pear slices, then you can rehydrate them by spraying or misting them with some water.
Make good use of your dehydrator
Since drying most types of food takes hours, and dehydrators use electricity, it makes sense to ensure that your appliance is filled up every time you use it for maximum efficiency.
The amount of cleanup required after drying one or several batches of food is almost the same, so utilize your dehydrator properly, if you want to save time, energy, money, and make the most of your kitchen appliance.
Don’t be shy of experimenting
As we said earlier, learning how to master the drying process can take quite a lot of experimenting and testing, as well as patience.
You should keep an open mind, and try out different recipes, or different food and spice combinations, in order to find that perfect snack or food for your taste.
Thankfully, many of the dehydrators on our list come with recipe books and guides for drying which you can use. Of course, you can use the multiple online resources for dehydrated food recipes as well.
Use a timer
If your dehydrator doesn’t have a built-in timer, make sure you use another mobile or other kitchen timer to control the drying process.
The units which come with auto shut off after the time is over are extremely useful if you want to leave the dehydrator unattended and go run errands, or go to sleep as the machine is working.
It will shut off automatically, so you don’t have to worry about the safety of your home, or about the results of the drying even if you are out of the house.
Keep your home safe
Dehydrators emit heat and work for long hours, so they will heat up the area they are used in. appliances like this need sufficient room to allow them to “breathe” and prevent overheating.
So, do not place your dehydrator in a tight or enclosed space, and keep it away from under the cabinets if you are using it on a countertop.
You can take it outside on your patio if there is no risk of rain or other water and weather damage. But even if you use it outside, do not store it outside, because it will wear from the sun and the weather faster.
Common fruit and veggie drying times
Here are the basic drying times for the most common fruits and vegetables. The time may need to be adjusted depending on the size of the pieces and its juiciness, but these are some guidelines that will help get you started:
To keep the produce raw, dry it between 105-118 degrees Fahrenheit for:
Apples: 7-15 hours
Apricots: 20-28 hours
Asparagus: 5-6 hours
Beets: 7-12 hours
Carrots: 6-10 hours
Cherries: 13-21 hours
Corn: 6-10 hours
Eggplant: 5-8 hours
Green Beans: 6-12 hours
Leafy Greens: 3-7 hours
Mushrooms: 3-7 hours
Onions: 4-8 hours
Peaches: 8-16 hours
Pears: 8-16 hours
Peas: 4-8 hours
Peppers, Chili Peppers: 4-8 hours
Persimmons: 10-19 hours
Potatoes: 6-14 hours
Pumpkin, Winter Squash: 8-11 hours
Strawberries: 5-15 hours
Summer Squash: 10-14 hours
Tomatoes: 5-9 hours
Yams: 7-11 hours
Zucchini: 6-11 hours
Keep a close record of your drying recipes and experiences
It is useful to keep a journal with your different drying experiments and attempts, including the type of foods, the seasoning used, as well as the drying time, the temperature, and the batch sizes. This will help you prevent future mistakes, and will also help you keep a record of your successful attempts so you can make the same batches again in the future.
Related: Best Rice Storage Container
As you can see, drying your food is an excellent way to retain the taste and nutritional qualities of seasonal produce throughout the year. It will help prevent spoilage and wasting food.
Also, dried food is easier and more compact to store.
It can be used for cooking, as food for camping and hiking trips, as well as for pet food, as healthy snacks for you and your children, and even for making treats for your pets.
With a dehydrator, you can enjoy the nutritional and taste qualities of every type of fruit and vegetable when it is at its peak.
You can also process your precious catch from your hunting and fishing trips.
Overall, this is one of those kitchen appliances which will change the way you perceive food, and hopefully, it will be for the better.
Good luck with your purchase, and enjoy drying your own delicious foods!
- National Center for Home Food Preservation
- The Ultimate Guide to Dehydrating Your Food | Foodal
- Expert-Level Food Dehydrating: Tips and Hacks for Drying
- The Dehydrator Bible: Includes over 400 Recipes
- 10 Top Health Benefits of Using a Food Dehydrator | Vitality 4
- Learn How to Store Home-Dried Foods – The Spruce Eats