Food Dehydrator Guide

Best Food DehydratorThere are many advantages that come with owning a food dehydrator. Dehydrated food comes in handy on many occasions for the do-it-yourself cook. For those who have avoided preserving food because canning is long, tedious, and messy, they’ll find that preserving food with a dehydrator is simple.

To make beef jerky, purchase ground beef that is between 85-90% fat free (the extra fat is necessary for making jerky), mix it with spices, and use a tool (at Amazon.com it is called the Metalware Open Country Beef Jerky Works Kit) to spread the meat mixture on the racks. The spice packages are sold at sports stores, specifically stores that sell hunting supplies. Set the temperature to the “meat” setting on the controls, unless your manual tells you otherwise, and let it dehydrate all night. In the morning, the beef jerky is ready. The jerky is much better than the jerky from the store. Once the jerky cools, place it in an airtight container or plastic bag.

Kids love to eat fruit leather. There are many recipes available online and in the dehydrator’s instruction manual. The main ingredients required for this recipe are ripe fruit, lemon juice to prevent browning, sugar, and spices like cinnamon. Check the handbook or instructions that come with the dehydrator for the proper temperature and time. Fruit leather tends to appear soft until it is removed from the dehydrator and cools, so it is important to check the instructions for the time and the how thick to place the mixture on the rack. Many dehydrators have a special plastic fruit leather sheet so that the fruit puree is contained while it dries. Also, consider the humidity in the air. The more humid, the longer it takes.

Another option is drying sliced fruit. If you have an apple peeler corer slicer (this just one tool that does all three jobs), it will come in handy because it will ensure that the apples are sliced to the same thickness. The apple peeler corer slicer cuts the apples to look like springs. Then, cut the apple springs in quarters and place the apples into lemon juice for a few seconds. If desired, add cinnamon and/or sugar, too. Place the apples on the trays, set the thermostat, and plug it in. Set a timer for the minimum time as found in the instructions.

American Harvest expandable food dehydrators allow people to dry fruit in bulk. This helps people have fruit for the winter, unless they love the dried fruit so much that they eat it all before winter. First, dry the fruit. Second, the fruit goes into quart or gallon sized storage or freezer bags. Since the fruit is not treated with commercial grade preservatives, the bag may be placed in the freezer for long term storage. This is helpful just in case all the moisture is not removed from the bag.

It is important for many people to get a good deal on the fruit before dehydrating. Perhaps you know someone who has an agreement with a few in-state orchards where you may buy the fruit in bulk at prices that beat the local farmers’ markets and grocery stores. Such a person takes orders from people. Second, an order is placed a few weeks before the intended pick-up date. Most of the time, the orchards will honor a schedule for this person, just like they do for grocery stores. When the weather changes the time the fruit ripens, pick up may be delayed or moved forward. The fruit is harvested the day of or the day before pick up. Since the fruit may be available on such short notice, it is important to have all the supplies for the recipes ready.

If a deal like this isn’t available, then shop around for the best deals at local grocery stores using their online advertisements, unless you get the ads with the newspaper or by mail. An alternative to looking at each grocery store’s site, visit one of the many sites that are dedicated to providing information about the best food dehydrators. Otherwise, visit your local farmer’s market(s).

food dehydrator guideMany people want to know if dehydrating food at home is cost effective. It is difficult to calculate how much it costs per pound to dehydrate one’s own fruit. It may be too challenging to estimate the amount of electricity, the gas involved in driving further than the trip to the grocery store, the time spent preparing the food, the small amount of sugar and spices in the recipes, etc. Instead, remember that what is made at home is healthier because you know what all the ingredients are and that it is as close to natural as possible. Therefore, it is well worth the time and energy. Do not worry about the cost difference between what was made at home versus what could have purchased at the store. Think about the health benefits as well as the control over the food’s texture, flavor, and ingredients.

Another advantage that comes from having a food dehydrator is gaining food preparation skills. It seems that there is a lot of social and economic instability these days. The more one can do on their own, rather than relying on manufacturers and stores, the better prepared they will be in the event of a strike or catastrophe. Along those lines, having fruit and berry producing trees and bushes in the yard will add increased freshness and availability.

In the end, a food dehydrator comes in handy when natural jerky, fruit leather, and dried food is what is desired. Make sure to read the instructions that come with your unit. Buy the best meat, fruits and vegetables you can afford. Have air-tight storage bags or containers available so your creations will be stored properly. Lastly, enjoy your food dehydrator!

Stainless Steel Food Dehydrator For Raw Food Cooking

Food DehydratorA stainless steel food dehydrator is ideal for raw food cooking. Make great tasting natural snacks like fruit leathers, jerky, apple chips or process your own favorite dried fruits and vegetables.

The Advantages Of A Stainless Steel Food Dehydrator

Where food is concerned, it is generally understood that stainless steel has distinct advantages over plastic. That may be true.

On the other hand, there are certain plastics now FDA approved that are suitable for food preparation but of course you have to do your homework and research the product in advance to make sure it is in keeping with health and safety standards.

Some products produced in developing countries may not abide by the high standard of materials required for food preparation – so be careful.

Even when it comes to stainless steel you need to exercise care. Some stainless steel food dehydrator manufacturers use low grade stainless steel. This means the stainless steel has other metals added to it to form more of a mix. Regretfully, some of these other metals can change the color and density when subjected to heat and when coming in contact with food, thus affecting the safety level.

So point numer one when choosing a stainless steel food dehydrator is to make sure it is made of high quality materials in a country with proper health and safety standards.

Here’s point number two…

Try and avoid purchasing units that have joins or cracks where metal panels meet. Food can get stuck in these places, bacteria can thrive, and you have a problem on your hands.

So go for units that are seamless and that have rounded edges – it makes cleaning so much easier.

Finally point number three, and this is a big one…

The trays! Seeing the trays are the part that come in contact with the food, it is very important they are made of high quality stainless steel.

Some cheaper models use a chrome plating or nickel plating. This can be dangerous as time goes on when the surface gets scratched or the metal coating starts to flake in places.

Additionally, some of these plating materials contain toxic substances that have even been linked with cancer.

So if you want a stainless steel food dehydrator that is easy to clean and will not pose a health hazard, do your research carefully, and be prepared to pay more in order to get a unit that will not only do the job but do it safely as well.

Which One?

There are a number of manufacturers that produce stainless steel food dehydrators. Perhaps the most well known is Excalibur, but it pays to check around. Amazon have a good variety to choose from and surprisingly, there was a negative comment about Excalibur’s customer service.

This may be just a one off but it is good to look at other manufacturers such as L’Equip, TSM, or LEM and check the customer reviews for them. After all, comments from people who are actually using the appliance often give you a much more realistic appraisal than the sales talk from a web page or sales representative!