Avid gardeners know the frustration of limited growing seasons. You would love to enjoy fresh-picked produce all year long instead of dealing with much more than you can consume during a short period of time. One healthy solution is dehydrating. Because dehydration takes place at relatively low temperatures, up to 98% of nutrients can be preserved.
Dried fruit has up to a five-year shelf life, and dried vegetables can last much longer—up to ten years or more. So a reliable food dehydrator is certainly a worthwhile investment. Even if you don’t garden, purchasing and dehydrating produce fresh from your local farmer’s market can still ensure you have a good store of healthy snacks through the winter season. Here are some of the best food dehydrator choices:
5. Gourmia GFD 1650 Premium Electric Food Dehydrator
Note: This food dehydrator is currently unavailable. Until it gets back in stock, be sure to take a look at the Ivation 6-tray machine which features a similar design, has 8 temperature levels, a digital timer with automatic shutoff, and it’s made of BPA-free materials.
Chances are, the Gourmia Dehydrator can meet all your dehydrating needs. At over sixteen pounds, this large, quiet dehydrator is one of the best food dehydrator choices. The six large drying trays will help meet your dehydrating goals in less time and with less energy.
The guidebook contains step by step instructions for filling the trays and setting the correct temperature and time for the best, evenly processed result. The accompanying recipe book contains instructions for producing snacks such as beef jerky and fruit leather. Other uses of this unit included assisting rising bread, making yogurt, or drying flowers, just to name a few.
4. Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
With over 3,500 reviews to date, the Nesco Snackmaster Pro is obviously tried and true. This dehydrator comes with five stackable trays but can be expanded to up to 12 trays with additional purchase. Additional trays are about $13 each. The unit has a top-mounted heater/fan and adjustable temperature settings.
Forced air flow ensures even drying and the opaque surface blocks out light, helping to preserve nutrient content. Comes with a 52-page recipe and instruction book. One of the best food dehydrator choices for fruits, veggies, jerky and fruit leather.
3. Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator
This dehydrator utilizes a bottom-mounted heater/fan unit and comes with six stackable trays. Additional trays may be purchased at $10.90 each for up to 12 tray capacity. Drying temperatures range from 90-165 degrees F/32.2-73.9C. Internal timer included.
Consistent air flow allows even drying with no needed tray rotation. Comes with two fruit roll sheets and non-stick mesh screens. Again, one of the best food dehydrator choices for any regular dehydrating job and making jerky and fruit leather.
2. Excalibur 3926TB 9 Tray Electric Food Dehydrator
With nine trays included, this is the largest capacity unit listed here, so think about how much space you can allow. Drying fruits and vegetables, making beef, poultry, or fish jerky, fruit leather, rising bread, yogurt, dried flowers and use in arts and crafts projects put this at the top with the best food dehydrators.
The fan/heating element is on the back of the unit, with the controls on top. Temperatures range from 105-165 degrees F/40.5-73.8C. Excalibur’s patented airflow system dries faster and more efficiently while maintaining maximum nutritional value. Great for gardeners, large families, and sportsmen.
1. NutriChef Food Dehydrator Machine
The NutriChef is the lightest and simplest of the units listed. It has a one-button operation and reaches up to 180 degrees F/82.2C. The trays will need to be periodically rotated, which helps to keep the contents within safe limits to retain nutrition. However, it is not recommended the unit be left on and unattended for extended periods of time or the contents could be damaged.
This may be a good investment for a beginner who is unsure if they will enjoy or benefit from large quantities of dehydrated foods. If you just want to dry some fruit for trail mix this may be a good choice for you. Overall easy to use and easy on the budget.
Dehydrating food is a wonderful, healthy concept for everyday use and for those who like to keep emergency stores on hand. There is a highly diversified market in dryer choices, so it is wise to consider your own needs and goals. Space and time are both important considerations.
A dehydrator with both temperature and timer settings is the most convenient. Dehydrating quality ingredients can be a huge money saver in the end. by choosing one of the best food dehydrators available, the benefits will touch your health, your finances, and your peace of mind.