Let's take a look at a couple of food dehydrators and find one that fits our needs best. Being able to dry fruits, vegetables and meat will save you time and lots of money while allowing you to eat natural food without any preservatives.
These modern food drying machines are so much better than the old ones of just a few years ago that it's unreal how consistent your food turns out.
Kids love to help set these up because it's like they are making candy. Making your own dry food instead of buying the expensive store stuff will save you a ton of money. I love making 'trail mix' with these. It works out great because you can pick and choose your own ingredients.
With one of these units you'll be able to make fruit roll ups for kids (or you), pet treats and save your vegetable garden stock for winter use. Food stored this way tastes almost as good as fresh and a lot better than frozen food.
If you are into camping and hiking, making your own food and snacks is one way to really eat healthful. Save money and weight by making your own to carry with you.
One of the huge advantages of these machines is you can mix and match your own ingredients and come up with what you like and not what some commercial processor company thinks is 'cute'.
The following machines are like small ovens with a fan for drawing air over your food. They don't use very much electricity. Once you get one of these, you won't notice your electric bill going up at all.
Store your dried food in air-tight containers and place in a cool, dark space. Once done, sunlight, heat and air will cause it to spoil.
Storing this way saves the mess of canning food. I know a lot of people like my wife are intimidated when it comes to using a canner. Something about hot water under pressure sets her off.
Food Dehydrator Buying Guide
What is the wattage of the drying unit?
The larger the wattage the drying unit has, the faster full trays of food will dry.
When you dry it too fast, you'll get a hard crust on the dried food and the inside will be still moist. This sets up a bad combination for bacteria. All these units dehydrate at about the same rate. It will take a few hours for all but the most thinly sliced items.
To check for moisture content, take a slice of food out and cut it. When you see that there are no beads of moisture, it is dried enough.
How much noise does the unit make.
You want a unit that is quiet as it will be on for hours at a time. If you are using the machine in an out-of-the-way place like your laundry room then noise may not matter.
Do you have easy access to lots of fruit, vegetables or meat to dry? If so then one of these units is perfect to add another way to save food.
If you are buying your food to dry then a smaller unit will most likely be the best deal for you.
You can find tips on growing your own food so you can save money over here.
Checking out all the facts, I've found the machines with the longest warranties. Some people claim these food drying machines have the best warranties. I find it problematic when you talk about 'best'. I like the long warranties these particular machines have.
Excalibur Dehydrator Reviews
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Dec 4, 2016)
You can move the racks and adjust for how thick the food is you are drying so it is very versatile.
Excalibur Dehydrator Review Notes
With 9 trays and 15 square feet of space for drying, this is one of the best at saving food. It is safe and so easy to use. You can use it to safely dry meat when you make jerky.
This unit is so versatile that using it to dry flowers or even pet treats is a breeze.
The timer goes up to 26 hours allowing you to set it and forget it.
An adjustable thermostat gives you all the choices you want with temperatures from 95 to 155 Fahrenheit.
This is a very quiet dehydrator.
The screen inserts helps prevent sticking.
This is fantastic for large families or when you have lots to dry.
Having the fan, heating element and thermostat in the back of the unit provides the best way to warm cool air and have it evenly sent over the trays.
You can remove different trays so you can dry out those large items with ease. Even remove the trays and use it to raise dough. Having square trays allows you to put more on it. There are no holes in the center like the round machines so you don't lose this space.
You can use parchment sheets instead of the higher priced dehydrator sheets saving money in the process. Don't try to use wax paper as it will melt in the machine making a sticky mess.
Big Bonus: Made in USA! And a long 10 year limited warranty!
Nesco American Harvester Food Dehydrator
One of the Best Buys Around!
Amazon Price: $71.06 $67.99 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 4, 2016)
When you decide to really get busy drying food, this unit is expandable by just buying some more trays.
Demonstration of Drying Features
Nesco American Harvester Notes
This Nesco is the all in one food dehydrator with a top mounted fan. Having the heating element and fan on top, keeps dried food from getting all over them and making a mess.
Temperature adjusts from 95 - 155 degrees Fahrenheit.
It easily dries fruit, jerky and vegetables quickly.
You get a 4 tray machine and even a jerky gun. (You get an extra tray to help in preparing food ahead of time.) You can expand this unit up to 12 trays by buying more trays.
This starter kit even has a fruit roll sheet and a clean screen for those fruits that sticky and even herbs.
Seeing that it has 510 watts of power it is right in the middle of the pack on power.
You don't have to worry about toxic substances from the plastic surfaces as this unit is certified BPA Free.
The jerky gun is quite fun. The 3 tips gives you lots of choices on how to make your jerky. Even provided is 5 cures along with 5 seasonings to get you started. This is really nice machine and quite versatile.
This unit does not come with an on-off switch or timer. So once you plug it in, you have to check your food and unplug the machine once done.
Having a hole in the center of the trays, takes up valuable space.
Big Bonus: Made in the USA
Food Dehydrator Conclusion
Personally, my family loves drying onions for use later. Dried fresh onions, lose almost none of their tangy taste. An easy guide to growing onions is this way.
You can't go wrong by choosing one of the above food dryers. Pick the Excalibur if you have access to lots of free fruit and vegetables or a large family. The Nesco American Harvester is great if you have to buy your food or don't have a need for making large volumes of dried food.
With today’s food being processed to death, making your own food for long-term storage is becoming increasingly more practical and in your best interest.