One of the easiest ways to preserve food is to actually dry it out by using a food dehydrator. There are various makes and models of dehydrators as manufacturers are in direct competition with each other. The most basic model will consist or a cabinet that holds numerous food trays. They will contain a fan and an electrical heating element which allows warm air to circulate around the trays.
There are two main types of food dehydrators, namely a horizontal or vertical air flow.
You will find the fan and heating element are located at the bottom of the cabinet in most models that provide vertical air flow. The trays are then stacked on top of each other which will mean that the temperature is likely to vary at the different levels. So if you are looking for an even drying effect, it is recommended that you swap the trays around at regular intervals.
With horizontal air flow containers you will typically find the fan and heating element on one of the sides. This means that that the trays are almost drawer-like rather than stacked on top of each other. This should allow for a far more even distribution of the heat and temperature thus resulting in a more uniformed dehydration process. You should also find that cleaning a horizontal air flow cabinet is far easier than the vertical variety. This is because the food will not drip directly onto the heating elements, as these are located on the sides rather than the bottom.
There are also varying dimensions to the many Food Dehydrators and your choice will largely depend on what you wish to use it for and where you want to store it. There are numerous rectangular and square shaped cabinets which can be attached to a wall, but may become an eyesore in your kitchen. There are also round shape cabinets that should fit in nicely to a kitchen worktop and leave plenty of space for other devices or gadgets that you may require. The size of the Food Hydrator you choose will have an impact on how much food you can dry out at a time and this, once again, is something for you to consider.
Prior to purchasing a food dehydrator you may not be fully aware of how many trays you will need to use at a time. However this problem has been taken care of as many models are expandable and can have more trays added whenever you need them. The majority of these types of models use vertical air flow as opposed to the horizontal version. It is also extremely important to check the depth of the trays inside the cabinet, as this will have an effect on types and thickness of food you can store in them.
You will also find that many dehydrators come with different kinds of temperature controls. Whereas some have a fixed temperature, others will offer varying temperature levels within a specified range. This is an extremely important consideration as different foods will, of course, have different levels of drying temperature. Some dehydrators also offer a timer control which will automatically turn off before your food becomes completely frazzled. This is a very convenient option and allows you to dry out food even when you are not at home. You may find that many of the models come with specific fruit leather sheets. This is actually due to the high volume of water that is contained in some fruits. You merely need to place a sheet on the tray before adding the fruit.
Although Food Dehydrators are mainly used to dry out fruit and vegetables, meat and fish they do actually provide many other functions. You are also able to make yoghurt, de-crystallize honey, you can dry out nuts and seeds and even proof bread. This is definitely something you should bear in mind if you have ever considered purchasing one of these fantastic devices.
Food Dehydrators are great for personal use, but are most often found in commercial premises. Many cafes and restaurants have a dehydrator and they actually form an integral part of their business. All models come with a warranty however if you do intend to use one for commercial purposes it is always best to check with the manufacturer what you are covered for.
As you can see there are many benefits to owning a food dehydrator and equally many practical uses. The price will vary depending on what you actually need to use it for and what specific type of model you want.