Before refrigeration became mainstream, dehydrating food was the best way of preserving food. It removes all moisture from food and prevents bacteria from forming. As a result, food can last years without spoiling. Today, modern technology has let most home cooks make their own dehydrated food. The Best Food Dehydrator Machine has a thermostat with a variable heating system. This lets you control the cooking time and temperature. Important for cooking delicate item without ruining the texture.
How do Food Dehydrator Machine Works?
Food Dehydrator Machine are actually pretty simple. There is a heating element with a fan. Depending on the temperature you set, the thermostat will vary the wattage and control the heat output of the coil. The fan will criculate the hot air throughout the machine ensuring that it encapsulate all the food. At the end of the machine, it will usually be open so that moisture can escape. Its principle is very similar to how a air fryer works. The main difference is that in a air fryer, the machine is more spaced out for air circulation. Temperature are also usually higher in the air fryer.
A better design would be dehydrator where heating coil surround the whole machine. This way you get constant even heat without having to rotate the food. However, that design is costly so its almost nonexistent.
How to Use a Food Dehydrator Machine?
To use the Food Dehydrator Machine, load the food on the tray. Be sure that there is enough spacing between food so that air can circulate. The thickness of the vegetable, fruits and meat should vary depending on the recipe and the type of food you’re making. Temperature and time should also be adjusted based on that. Once everything is loaded, set the time and temperature and let it run. Half way through cooking, its recommended to remove the tray and rotate it. If you notice that the food is burning or charring faster than usual, lower the temperature. If the food is almost dried through, consider reducing the time and adjust it for your future recipe.
Some models state that rotating is not necessary, I disagree. Even though there is a fan, its still hotter at the area next to the heating element. If you can, rotate it.
As with most ovens, the thermostat is finicky at best. It doesn’t matter what food dehydrator machine you have, they’re all kind of bad. What I recommend you do is get a thermometer and adjust it accordingly. This way you get the best and accurate result.
Cleaning is probably one of the most annoying thing about a food dehydrator. All those drays and holes make it difficult to clean. The easiest way that I found is to use a scrub. Models with nylon bristle are the best. All you need to do is start scrubbing and the bristle will go through all the small nooks and cranny.
Another good way is to just stick it in the dishwasher. However, not all are dishwasher compatible. Be sure to check it before sticking it in there.
Yes, these dehydrator uses a lot of energy. The heating element and fan needs to run for hours. There arent really more energy efficient model out there. Its actually pretty efficient in terms on performance, power goes in heat comes out. Its just that the performance draw a lot of power.
Best Food Dehydrator Machine List
Below, you will find a list of some of the Best Food Dehydrator Machine on the market. Choose one that best suits your need.
Excalibur Food Dehydrator Machine 3900B 9-Tray (Best Overall)
Excalibur food dehydrator is a favorite among kitchen professional. They make dehydrator for both commercial and home usage. The controls are simple and intuitive. And unlike other dehydrator, their unit is serviceable. You can easily find replacement parts on their website. As a result, it makes this one of the most long last dehydrator on the market. These come in a few different size, so choose one that best suit you.
COSORI Food Dehydrator Machine (50 Free Recipes), Stainless Steel Dryer (Best Stainless Steel Model)
For something a little more sleek and modern, Cosori makes a good choice. The buttons are lit up with led and the exterior and a cool stainless steel finish. It has 6 trays for food giving it plenty of space for air and food. On amazon, its one of the highest selling and highest rated dehydrator. Best of all, this unit will shut itself off if it feels like its overheating.
Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator (Best Compact Food Dehydrator)
The main issue that Dehydrator have is that theyre huge. This model by presto can be collapsed easily. All you need to invert the tray and it will reduce the space by half. The heating element is also designed a little differently. Instead of a back mounted design, it goes from the bottom up. I would argue this design is a little more efficient since heat rises upward. The main issue is that you cant change the temperature, nor is there a timer. It just runs…The good thing is that its really affordable.
A food dehydrator is a great tool to have. It helps preserve food without any preservative. At the same time, it concentrate flavor making food taste better. The best and preferred model is those by Excalibur. They are serviceable and trusted by those in the restaurant industry. However, the appearance can be a little dated. Modern looking model like those by cosori is a good choice. But if space is a concern, the cheaper and more compact model by Presto is a good model.
Looking for more gadgets? Check out our article on the Best Air Fryer for a Family of Four.