In the modern kitchen, the dehydrator is a must-have as it helps save a lot of time. In the old days, when drying different types of foods such as beef jerkies, fruits, vegetables, and herbs of all kinds, people had to wait around for days. Fortunately, this isn’t the case anymore as the popular kitchen appliances have made it possible to enjoy dry foods that you store for later consumption or use on the spot for various recipes after only a few hours.
|1. Excalibur 3926TB||2. Magic Mill 9 Trays SS||3. Excalibur 2900ECB||4. Gourmia GFD1950||5. Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||12.5″ x 17″ x 19″||15.5″ x 18.5″ x 19.5″||12.5″ x 17″ x 19″||17.5″ x 13.5″ x 16″||9.5″ x 15.5″ x 15.5″|
|Weight||30 Lbs||23.8 Lbs||22 Lbs||14.5 Lbs||8.95 Lbs|
|Housing Material||Polycarbonate||BPA-Free Plastic, Metal||BPA-Free Plastic||ABS Plastic||BPA-Free Plastic|
|Drying Levels/ Trays||9||9||9||9||4|
|Drying Space||15 Sq. Ft.||N/A||15 Sq. Ft.||9.5 Sq. Ft.||N/A|
|Temperature Range||105°F – 165°F||95°F – 158°F||95°F – 155°F||95°F – 158°F||90°F – 160°F|
|Built-In Timer||26 Hours||19.5 Hours||19.5 Hours||48 Hours|
|Removable/ Adjustable Trays|
|Other Features||Parallex Horizontal Airflow||Overheating Safety Protection||Polyscreen Tray Insert||Countdown Timer LCD Panel||Expandable to 20 Trays|
|Hyperwave Fluctuation Technology||Removable Drip Tray||On/Off Switch||8 Preset Temperature Settings||Converga-Flow|
|Polyscreen Tray Insert||Non-Stick Trays||On Indication Light||Circusmart 360˚ Air-Flow Circulation System||Opaque Vita-Save Exterior|
|On Indication Light||Digital LCD Display|
|Beef Jerky||4-6 Hours||4-6 Hours||4-6 Hours||5-6 Hours||4 Hours|
|Apples||7-15 Hours||6-8 Hours||7-15 Hours||6-7 Hours||4-6 Hours|
|Bananas||6-10 Hours||6-8 Hours||6-10 Hours||7-8 Hours||5-8 Hours|
|Pineapple||10-18 Hours||7-9 Hours||10-18 Hours||8-9 Hours||4-6 Hours|
|Herbs||4-6 Hours||4-6 Hours||4-6 Hours||4-6 Hours||3-6 Hours|
|Product Warranty||10 Years||1 Year||5 Years||1 Year||1 Year|
The amount of drying space offered by the appliance shows how much dried food you will enjoy at the end of the process. It’s obvious that this space should be as large as possible in order for you to not have to use the appliance too many times when drying fruits or veggies that you have harvested from your garden or bought from the store. The models that we rated with the most points when it came to this aspect are the Excalibur 3926TB and the Excalibur 2900ECB that both offer a generous 15 square feet drying space.
The timer function is important as it allows you to set the precise amount of time that you desire for the appliance to operate. This way, you won’t have to turn it off yourself when the foods that you placed inside have dried. Just set this function for the operational time that you consider is needed for the food inside the appliance to dry, and tend to your chores or leave home without thinking about it anymore as you know that the unit will automatically turn off when the time that you have set passes.
The temperature range delivered by the unit matters as it shows what types of foods can or can’t be dried with it. For the dehydrating appliance to be able to dry any type of food you want, the temperature range that it delivers should be as generous as possible. From this point of view, the model that we rated highest was the impressive Excalibur 3926TB as it can be set anywhere from 105 degrees Fahrenheit to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the trays are removable, you are able to dry larger foods in the appliance. Thus, it’s clear why we had to put an accent on this aspect. All of the box-style dehydrating appliances that appear in our top feature removable trays, so you are able to dry large foods without a problem in any of them.
As you can see, in the comparison table we have compared the amount of time needed for each appliance to dry certain foods – beef jerky, apples, bananas, pineapples, and herbs. It’s essential to compare the appliances from the point of view of their drying performance as this aspect shows how much time you will have to wait for the operational process to end. By far, the fastest model of them all when it comes to drying time is the Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster.
Food dehydrators are plastic or metal appliances that are capable of drying foods through the process of passing hot air through them. Needless to say, these appliances have become must-have items in modern households due to the fact that they encourage food preservation and they prevent meat, fruits, and veggies from getting spoiled.
Regardless of the type of food that we’re talking about, moisture or water content generally composes somewhere between 50 and 90 percent of the product. This means that you aren’t able to store the food away for later consumption as the moisture will cause it to spoil and pose serious health risks in case it’s ingested. Due to the process of dehydration, this is a problem of the past.
These appliances are most sought after by those who grow their own herbs, fruits, and vegetables as sometimes harvests are a lot more generous than initially predicted. Thus, many food products are not being used on the spot as no one expects that specific high quantity to be produced.
Instead of drying the foods in days, even weeks, like people used to do back in the old days when these high-end appliances didn’t exist, the food dehydrating units allow for the process to be over in a matter of hours. Therefore, it’s easy to understand why they’re so desirable and how they can change your life for the better.
From the point of view of their design, stacked models are usually devoid of an outer shell. These units are composed of stacks, each stack comprising a tray onto which you place the foods that you intend to dehydrate. As these stacks are placed on top of each other, they become sealed, not allowing the heat to get out of the appliance. The fan that the unit features then circulates the air to ensure that all of the food receives the same treatment, drying it evenly.
Pros: Generally, these types of dehydrating units have a small, compact footprint that favors those with limited free space. Another advantage presented by them is the fact that they can be easily extended to fit a bigger volume of food.
Cons: Periodic shuffling of the drying racks is required as the foods that are positioned closer to the heating element will dry faster than the others. But this is a downside that doesn’t affect all stacked models as high-end units don’t present this issue.
Box and shelf models work similarly to electric ovens. The fan that is positioned at the back of the appliance blows the hot air over the trays that have been inserted in a predetermined manner. They allow you to place bigger items inside for drying, foods that don’t fit inside stacked models as easily. To enjoy this benefit, simply take out as many trays as needed to create sufficient space for the large foods that you want to dry.
Pros: The insulation of box and shelf models is highly superior to what stacked units offer. Thus, the dehydration process is bound to be of a better quality and more effective. Also, when you place the trays in their predetermined spots, you ensure that an even drying will occur as the fan is designed to focus on them equally.
Cons: Their main flaw is the fact that they are bulkier than stacked units. But this isn’t a major issue for those who have sufficient free kitchen space at their disposal. Also, regardless of the volume of food that you insert in them, they preserve their footprint.
The optimal temperature to dry fruits is 135 degrees Fahrenheit or 57 degrees Celsius. Here is the guide to drying the most common fruits that people dehydrate for later use or consumption:
|Food||How to Prepare||Preparation Time|
|Apples||Remove core, cut into 1/4” – 3/4” sized slices or rings.||4-15 Hours|
|Apricots||Cut in half and remove pit. Place with the dry skin facing down.||18-28 Hours|
|Bananas||Peel and cut into 1/8” – 1/4″ slices.||5-10 Hours|
|Berries||Leave whole.||9-15 Hours|
|Cherries||Cut in half, remove stems and pits, and place skin side down.||12-21 Hours|
|Figs||Leave whole.||22-30 Hours|
|Grapes||Remove stems, cut in half or leave hole, and place with the skin side down.||20-30 Hours|
|Peaches||Cut in 1/4″ slices, remove pit, and place skin side down.||7-16 Hours|
|Pears||Cut in half, remove core, peel, and cut in four equal slices.||7-16 Hours|
|Pineapple||Peel, remove core, and cut into 1/4″ slices or wedges.||4-18 Hours|
|Plums||Cut in half, remove pit, and pop the back.||8-16 Hours|
|Strawberries||Cut off caps and slice into 1/4″ thick slices.||6-15 Hours|
The optimal temperature to dry vegetables is 125 degrees Fahrenheit or 52 degrees Celsius. Here is the guide to drying the most common vegetables that people dehydrate for later use or consumption:
|Food||How to Prepare||Preparation Time|
|Asparagus||Cut into 1-inch pieces.||4-6 Hours|
|Broccoli||Dry florets whole and cut stems into 1/4″ pieces.||8-14 Hours|
|Cabbage||Cut into 1/8” – 1/4″ strips.||6-11 Hours|
|Carrots||Trim tops, peel, and cut into 1/8” circles or cubes.||5-10 Hours|
|Cucumber||Slice into 1/8” – 1/4″ thick slices.||4-10 Hours|
|Eggplant||Peel and slice into 1/4″ thick slices.||4-9 Hours|
|Mushrooms||Slice into 3/8” slices from the cap through the stem end.||3-7 Hours|
|Onions||Remove top and skin, and cut into 1/4″ slices.||4-8 Hours|
|Peppers||Remove seeds and stem, and cut 1/4″ thick strips or rings.||4-8 Hours|
|Pumpkin||Cut into 1-inch thick pieces.||4-6 Hours|