Commercially bought processed foods nowadays are laden with chemical additives that add to its shelf life. But these same additives can cause disease in the human body. To avoid it, some people resort to processing food the natural way. To keep food for storage without spoiling, drying it is one of the best means of achieving it through a dehydrator.
Ancient people have been coping how to keep food from going to waste. Jerky is lean meat that has been salted and dried for a potent, rustic taste of meat. Native Americans have been drying the meat they’ve caught from the hunt for future use. Drying fruits is how people get to harvest fruits in season and putting them in storage so they can still eat them when food is scarce. If these people have taken dehydrating food into their advantage, can you just imagine what you can do with having a food dehydrator at home?
- Consider how many people would consume the dried food products prepared. Opt for the dehydrator that can accommodate plenty of trays in its body to save time and electricity. Higher wattage means more power and shorter drying time. The bigger is always not necessarily the better. Check its features before purchase.
- It should process fruits, meat, or vegetables as its settings can be adjusted to preserve the integrity of the food being dried. Meat, especially the different meats used for jerky, will require higher heat settings than the ones used for fruits or vegetables. It should also have a timer and a thermostat so your food is always dried uniformly every time. There you may require having a sealer as well. Check our post to see what can be done with a food sealer at home
- Dehydrators work depending on how efficient the heated air circulates in the unit. Convection air flow lowers exposure to air contamination, works quietly and power-saving but it also equates to shorter shelf life. Most people use the ones powered by dryer fans which may be a bit noisy, consumes a lot of electricity, but produces better food shelf life. The latter also needs a clean environment so air contamination is negligible.
- Trays are the most important component of a food dehydrator. Experts recommend buying jerky guns and additional stacking trays. These may have a mesh or lattice design, with a variety of gap sizes. The larger the gaps, the more efficiently air can pass through but it also limits the capacity of the tray. Larger gaps also mean smaller items, such as herbs or berries, cannot be used and would need a different type of tray. Meats also need to be placed on sturdier trays as they are heavier especially when freshly slaughtered.
- When considering a dehydrator, check out the position of its fans. There are those positioned at the bottom meant trays can be stacked on top of the other and will save space. However, it can cause uneven drying especially on trays positioned on top. Fans placed at the back create even drying but trays are fixed, affecting how much food you can dry at one time.
- If you’re into hunting and prefer to keep your meat preserved in transit or in storage until the next hunting season, dehydrators are for you, especially the compact ones. Farmers who have limited frozen storage can take advantage of the dehydrator during harvest time to keep their fruits from spoiling.
Modern dehydrators come in various models and usage. It can be confusing especially if it’s your first time to ever use one. When you do decide on buying one and that it needs to fit all of the characteristics described above, choose the spiffy top of the line model instead of the tempting cheaper ones. It may be expensive initially but in the long run, you save time and effort not to mention the fact that you get jerky customised to your taste and have dried fruits you like to eat anytime sans the chemicals.