The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) states that one third of all food produced is spoilt or wasted before it can be consumed. This shocking phenomenon happens as much in the industrialised world as in developing countries. Unfortunately, this is also true in most households; a food dehydrator can help you fight this problem.
This appliance allows food to be preserved much longer while maintaining all its properties. Water is the only thing that is eliminated. You can use it with fruits and vegetables as well as with meats and fish. We designed this guide to teach you everything you need to know about dehydrators and the best models available on the Australian market.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 The best food dehydrators in the market
- 3 Shopping guide: Everything you should know about food dehydrators
- 3.1 What are food dehydrators exactly and what are they used for?
- 3.2 Do food dehydrators offer the best preservation?
- 3.3 So why not use sun-drying?
- 3.4 What are the benefits of having a food dehydrator?
- 3.5 What recipes can I do with my food dehydrator?
- 3.6 What foods can I dehydrate?
- 3.7 What are the advantages and disadvantages of food dehydrators?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Dehydrating food is a process that we have used since the beginning of time. It is a great method to have fruits all year round or to take advantage of ingredients that are about to go to waste.
- Dehydrated food can be used to prepare healthy snacks, to have a bite on the go or as ingredients in your recipes. Preserving food is made a lot easier with a dehydrator.
- The process of dehydration separates the water from the aliment while retaining the most important properties. The food also obtains a more intense flavour. The great advantage is that food that was destined for the bin will last you up to a year thanks to this process.
The best food dehydrators in the market
The following section will tell you all about the best food dehydrators on the Australian market. You will learn about their specific characteristics and features. Understanding these different aspects will help you make the best purchasing decision. You will be able to evaluate what each one has to offer and which model is best suited to your needs, while keeping your budget in mind.
5-Star Chef food dehydrator, 5 trays
Amazon’s Choice for food dehydrators comes from Australian brand 5-Star Chef, and this 5-tray product gives you the best bang for your buck. With a timer setting up to 48 hours and a temperature range going from 40°C to 70°C, you will be able to make just about any recipe you have in mind. The fan placed at the bottom ensures the best possible evacuation of humidity.
Available in three different colours – white, red and silver – to best match your kitchen, this 5-Star Chef food dehydrator works quietly while saving energy. Its integrated overheating protection means you can leave it drying your favourite foods a few hours without being afraid of hazards. Each tray can support up to 1 kilo of food.
BioChef Arizona Sol 6
This food dehydrator has 500 W of power. It has an adjustable thermostat, with which the inner temperature can be controlled. It comes with EPT enzyme protection technology, which helps to better preserve the nutrients found in food: one of the reasons for eating dehydrated food. Available in black or white, the Arizona Sol offers 9 tray slots, so you can work with kilos of food at a time.
The appliance has a horizontal drying system, which is better than most similar models. This is because the fan is in the back, which allows for homogeneous drying. With this food dehydrator, you will extend the life of the food you have at home, but it will also allow you to make yogurt and bread. The 3-year warranty on the motor and all parts is wonderful plus.
5-Star Chef food dehydrator, 10 trays
This commercial food dehydrator by 5-Star Chef is definitely tailored for heavy users, with a capacity of up to 10 kilos of food at any time. With a temperature range going from 35°C to 70°C, it presents a useful drying guide on its front panel so you have an idea if you’re a beginner in the game. The trays are dishwasher friendly.
The transparent door allows you to monitor your product without stopping the drying process. One downside of this 10-tray food dehydrator might be its weight, at almost 10 kilos, but its food capacity and quiet operation more than makes up for it in our opinion. With this product, you’ll be able to preserve all your favourite foods from the summer heat.
Shopping guide: Everything you should know about food dehydrators
The next section is designed to help you discover the main functions of this kind of appliance. You’ll also learn about the aspects to consider when making your purchase, and we’ll even show you some recipes you can prepare with your food dehydrator!
What are food dehydrators exactly and what are they used for?
New technologies have made preserving food easier than ever.
Do food dehydrators offer the best preservation?
- Freezing. The temperature change from freezing food affects its nutrients. Its molecular structure is altered, which leads to a difference in taste and texture when the food is thawed. The shelf life is shorter, with a maximum of six months.
- Tinned food. Tinned foods are previously exposed to very high temperatures to prevent the appearance of bacteria and spores. Nutrients are also modified at the molecular level. You shouldn’t eat this type of food with moderation as plasticisers present in the tins are somewhat toxic.
- Smoking. After combustion, smoking is used to remove microbes from the food. This technique is particularly useful to preserve fish, meat or sausages. However, you also need to control your consumption of these foods, as some elements found in the smoke can harm your health.
- Salting. Food placed in salt acidifies, which can alter its taste and properties.
So why not use sun-drying?
|Weather||It’s hard to rely on the weather|
|Hygiene||Food is exposed to dirt|
|Insects||They can come in contact with the food|
|Drying control||You cannot control that the drying is correct|
What are the benefits of having a food dehydrator?
- Conditions are maintained. This appliance controls the dehydration process from start to finish. It allows you to choose both time and temperature, and that both remain stable.
- Properties. When you dehydrate food at a temperature of around 40 degrees, all its thermolabile properties remain unchanged. This means that its enzymes and vitamins are not affected by heat. The rest of the nutrients are also preserved, and the only change is the amount of water.
- Consumption. Dehydrators have a very moderate energy consumption. Don’t forget that you won’t have to buy dry food if you need it as you’ll have saved some from being thrown away. This actually compensates for that consumption and the cost of using your food dehydrator.
- Contamination. Dehydrating food at home gives you the opportunity to make sure that it doesn’t come into contact with other foods. This allows you to avoid allergy problems.
- Different textures. Dehydration is not only about preserving food, it is also about creating healthy snacks or ingredients for your recipes. All you have to do is program the right time to get the texture you’re looking for.
- Versatility. As mentioned previously, you can create different recipes. A tip is to use cookie cutters to cut fruits and create original snacks. You can also pulverise different ingredients to prepare salts or flavouring sugars.
- Healthy food. While you can find dehydrated food on the market, it is unfortunately not as healthy. They contain preservatives, flours or dyes to make them look more attractive. All your aliments will be natural with your dehydrator.
What recipes can I do with my food dehydrator?
Peach and coconut rolls
Take four fresh peaches and some grated coconut. All you have to do is mix the peaches until you get a homogeneous cream, then place baking paper on a tray in the dehydrator and spread the peach cream on top. Sprinkle with grated coconut.
Set the dehydrator to 55 degrees for about seven hours – this time is approximate, so do some research first. Let the dough cool and cut it into strips. Roll it up and you’ve got yourself a delicious snack!
You’ll need four bananas and four lemons. Start by squeezing the lemons, then cut the bananas into one-centimetre pieces. Soak them for 15 minutes in the lemon juice. When the time is up, put all the pieces of banana in the dehydrator trays and set on 65 degrees for two hours.
Lower the temperature to 50 degrees for another six hours. The texture will eventually become crisp. This recipe will work to prepare chips from all kinds of fruits.
You need one kilo of meat. Blend 100 millilitres of soy and 100 millilitres of Worcestershire sauce, honey, pepper and garlic powder for the marinade. Mix all these ingredients in a bowl and place the meat that you’ll have cut in pieces of 5 millimetres. Let it rest for twelve hours.
When that’s done, place the meat in the dehydrator and sprinkle the marinade over. Set on 45 degrees for six hours. Eat the meat immediately or keep it in a closed glass jar.
What foods can I dehydrate?
|Fruits||Apples, bananas, strawberries, peaches, apricots, kiwis, blueberries, amongst others|
|Vegetables||Carrots, onions, mushrooms, leeks, peppers, cabbage, amongst others|
|Meat||Beef, pork, chicken, lamb or rabbit|
|Fish||Salmon, trout, cod or hake|
|Seeds||Pumpkin, sunflower or sesame|
What are the advantages and disadvantages of food dehydrators?
You’ll have consider the following criteria when buying your food dehydrator if you want to make the right decision:
The number of trays in the food dehydrator tells you how much food you can dehydrate at once. We suggest you opt for a model offering at least 10 trays if you plan on using it frequently and want to preserve a large amount of food. Don’t forget to choose a models with thick grids so you can also dehydrate seeds.
This is closely related to the previous point: the depth of your trays should be at least 8 centimetres. Anything less might be an issue if you want to dehydrate foods such as tomatoes cut in half. Certain models will tell you how much weight you can dehydrate at once.
The power is key to achieving the result you’re looking for, so don’t overlook this aspect. A high power will allow you to make more preparations in less time.
A timer is always a useful feature to have, letting you have better control over dehydration times, as well as when the process begins or ends. It will prevent you from making silly mistakes that can ruin the food.
The best food dehydrators tend to have their motor and ventilation system located on the bottom. Make sure your model has different air outlets through the trays, ideally one at the top. This will contribute to the extraction of humidity and to obtain a better dehydration.
The price of dehydrators will vary quite a bit depending on different features we’ve discussed. Make sure you study the characteristics offered by each model, and don’t forget that knowing the exact use you want to make of it is essential to make the right decision. Certain models are more appropriate for frequent use, while others are better suited for use at specific times. Note that the investment tends to be higher in the latter case, and we encourage you to always look for the best value for money.
A dehydrator will help you reduce your food waste while you enjoy seasonal fruits all year round. You’ll be able to store different ingredients that will be part of delicious recipes. Preparing healthy snacks will become a habit for you, and you’ll always know exactly what’s in your plate or lunch box.
Don’t forget that the dehydration method has been used to preserve food since the dawn of time. This type of appliance will allow you to do so in a more effective way, preserving all the properties of your food.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the advantages of having a food dehydrator at home. Feel free to share this article on your social media so that your friends and family can also know all about food dehydrators and their benefits!
(Source of featured image: Jirkaejc: 89307577/ 123rf.com)