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How to Use Food Dehydrator For Maintaining Healthy Lifestyle

tribest sedona dehydratorDehy­dra­tor: Gen­er­al­ly, dehy­dra­tion is the process of remov­ing water con­tents from food to increase food shelf-life. The mois­ture con­tent in food spurs the growth of dis­ease-caus­ing micro-organ­isms like bac­te­ria, mold, and yeast.

By dehy­drat­ing it, you are cer­tain that your food is safe for your health. On the oth­er hand, dehy­drat­ed food remains fresh and retains most of its nutri­tion­al con­tent. Such food can be con­sumed lat­er, hence ensur­ing food avail­abil­i­ty in all sea­sons. There­fore, Food Dehy­dra­tion is the most com­mon way to pre­serve food in a healthy kitchen. Besides, t can pre­pare a long list of deli­cious snacks high in nutri­tion­al value.

Read More: Hamil­ton Beach 32100A Dig­i­tal Food Dehy­dra­tor Review

Table of Contents

Benefits of Food Dehydrating

Food dehy­dra­tion is a healthy prac­tice that every home can adopt and enjoy count­less advan­tages from it. For instance, dehy­drat­ing fruits inten­si­fies their fla­vor hence mak­ing them palat­able. Dehy­drat­ed food also weighs less and occu­pies less space, so you can take it out with you.

For those with tight bud­gets and who would like to save mon­ey, dehy­dra­tors will assist you in achiev­ing this. For exam­ple, if it is com­mon in your house­hold that you buy excess fresh food that you are unable to con­sume on time, all you need is a dehy­dra­tor to dry your food and con­sume them lat­er. Through dehy­dra­tion, you will have avoid­ed food wastage hence sav­ing your mon­ey. With your dehy­dra­tor, even the most per­ish­able foods will not wor­ry you when it comes to preservation.

 What Food Is Suitable For Dehydrating?

sun dried vegetablesNotably, you can dehy­drate any food that will pre­serve its test when mois­ture is removed. Some of the com­mon­ly dehy­drat­ed food include:

  • Veg­eta­bles such as onions, car­rots, broc­coli, pep­pers, mush­room, spinach, and oth­ers for snack­ing, back­pack­ing, or adding to your meal. With a dehy­dra­tor, you can make sun-dried toma­toes for Ital­ian recipes;
  • Fruits and Berries like blue­ber­ries, apples, cher­ries, coconut, banana, figs, man­goes, pears, prunes, and oth­ers for snack­ing, adding to the smooth­ies or gra­nola break­fast; you also can eas­i­ly make fruits leather, and a vari­ety of desserts that are avail­able from the raw food cookbooks;
  • Meat and fish, it is suit­able not only for mak­ing beef jerky, but you can dehy­drate any type of meat or fish for adding some pro­tein for your back­pack­ing meal or adding to your home­made soups, sal­ads, and stews;
  • Herbs, the dehy­dra­tor is indis­pens­able for pre­serv­ing and stor­ing sea­son­al herbs for the win­ter peri­od. You can dehy­drate almost any herb includ­ing pars­ley, oregano, dill, and any other;
  • Sprout­ed grains, seeds, and nuts, these ingre­di­ents are often used for many diets, while the dehy­drat­ed sprouts and grains are more palat­able than the raw ones, with a dehy­dra­tor your detox peri­od will be more appeal­ing than without;
  • Raw crack­ers, crepes, gra­nolas, deserts, and all types of meals for raw food diets.

Home Dehydration vs. Dry Food From The Store

dehydrated cherry leatherIf you are still buy­ing dehy­drat­ed food from the super­mar­ket, then you might not under­stand how much a dehy­dra­tor can dras­ti­cal­ly improve your life. There­fore, you need to com­mence dehy­drat­ing the food your­self. Unlike super­mar­ket dehy­drat­ed food, home­made dried food is chem­i­cal-free since no preser­v­a­tives, no harm­ful addi­tives, and no salt excess is added to them.

Home pre­served food is safer for peo­ple who are aller­gic to food preser­v­a­tives, peo­ple with high blood pres­sure, or sen­si­tive to oth­er addi­tives detri­men­tal to your health. On the oth­er hand, it is cheap­er to pre­pare home-dehy­drat­ed food than buy them from the shop. And for home­made dehy­drat­ed food, you will not use preser­v­a­tives or can deter­mine your­self the quan­ti­ty of salt that is appro­pri­ate to add to your pre­served meal.

Food Dehydrating Temperature

How­ev­er, you need to be aware of the best tem­per­a­ture to dehy­drate spe­cif­ic food types. Most food vari­eties are dehy­drat­ed at a tem­per­a­ture rang­ing from 115ᵒ F‑140ᵒ F / 46◦C — to 60◦C. If raised beyond this range, the food might even­tu­al­ly cook. It is also worth not­ing that the USDA rec­om­mends meat and fish be dehy­drat­ed at a high­er tem­per­a­ture to elim­i­nate food poi­son­ing. Here is the pre­cise range of tem­per­a­ture for dif­fer­ent food types:

  • Veg­eta­bles – 115◦F‑130◦F/46◦C — 55◦C;
  • Fruits and Fruits Leather Rolls– 125◦F‑135◦F/50◦C — 57◦C;
  • Herbs – 95◦F‑105◦F/35◦C – 41◦C;
  • Rais­ing bread – 105◦F ‑110◦F/40◦C ‑43◦C;
  • Yogurt — 110◦F‑120◦F/38◦C ‑44◦C;
  • Meat and Fish – 155◦F‑165/68◦C‑74◦C, if your dehy­dra­tor oper­ates at a tem­per­a­ture low­er than 155◦F‑165/68◦C then you are advised to pre-cook the meat before dehy­drat­ing it;
  • Raw Food recipes should be processed under 115 °F/46.1°C. This tem­per­a­ture ensures that all the enzymes and oth­er valu­able nutri­ents are not destroyed due to the high tem­per­a­tures exposure.

Time for Dehydrating Different Food Types

dehydrated raw crackersLike tem­per­a­ture, the time tak­en for food to com­plete­ly dry in a dehy­dra­tor varies a lot. How­ev­er, it entire­ly depends on fac­tors such as food water con­tent, the tem­per­a­ture main­tained in the dehy­dra­tor, and the size of food pieces. Regard­less, here is an approx­i­mate dehy­drat­ing time for some types of food:

  • Most veg­eta­bles and fruits take 5–14 hours to dry fully;
  • Herbs and spices take 2–4 hours;
  • Nuts can take 10–14 hours;
  • Fruit leather rolls take 4–6 hours;
  • Fish jerky can take 12–14 hours;
  • Raw food crack­er dry­ing takes on aver­age 12–14 hours;
  • Raw food burg­er dehy­drat­ing can last up to 14–16 hours

It is worth men­tion­ing, that if you increase the tem­per­a­ture in the dehy­dra­tor also, it will not dry the food quick­er instead it may hard­er the out­er food tex­ture thus cre­at­ing a prob­lem for deep dry­ing the piece of food and leav­ing it humid inside. Nor­mal­ly, the food will dry quick­er than the larg­er sur­face area it has.

Dehydrator vs. Oven for Food Dehydration

The use of an oven can also do dehy­dra­tion. How­ev­er, dehy­dra­tors are more con­ve­nient com­pared to oth­er devices like ovens. In addi­tion, dehy­dra­tion is a low-tem­per­a­ture process while using a con­ven­tion­al oven, it is cum­ber­some to main­tain a con­stant tem­per­a­ture for uni­form drying.

The air­flow is anoth­er impor­tant dehy­dra­tion fac­tor, if you have an oven with­out a fan then it will have a hot spot and no air cir­cu­la­tion. With such types of con­ven­tion­al ovens, you have to keep the door open to allow the mois­ture to get out. Final­ly, the oven is not ener­gy effi­cient for dehy­dra­tion and it con­sumes more ener­gy com­pared to dehy­dra­tors, you will need to keep your oven work­ing for up to 12–14 hours. If you want to dry your food with­in a short time with­out fre­quent fid­dle and checks. In this case, what you require is sim­ply a dehydrator.

Dehydrator Noise Release Level

Though food dehy­dra­tors are far much bet­ter for food dry­ing than ovens, they are nois­i­er than ovens. Noise pro­duc­tion is a typ­i­cal fea­ture in them due to the pres­ence of fans. The amount of noise they pro­duce varies in a range of 45–65 Db depend­ing on the brand and con­struc­tion of this kitchen appli­ance; typ­i­cal­ly, the larg­er hor­i­zon­tal air-flow dehy­dra­tors, the nois­i­er than ver­ti­cal air-flow devices. If you are deter­mined to pur­chase a less noisy one, it is always advis­able to check the prod­uct descrip­tion pro­vid­ed. Also, keen­ly check the deci­bel rat­ing and con­sumer reviews.

Snacks To Take Out or Meal for Backpackers

Since we can dehy­drate a wide vari­ety of foods at home, one can eas­i­ly pre­pare a com­plete meal for back­pack­ing. You can dry not only trail snacks such as fruits, veg­gies, and beef jerky but also lean ham, turkey, roast beef, and even ground beef, tuna, and shrimp. Dur­ing back­pack­ing and hik­ing, you require foods with a lot of calo­ries, and once you own a good qual­i­ty dehy­dra­tor this is not a problem.

Cooked pas­ta, beans, and grain can also be dehy­drat­ed for adding them lat­er in your meal.  Eat­ing a bal­anced diet dur­ing such a time main­tains your good health while starchy food will pro­vide the food need­ed dur­ing this peri­od. In addi­tion, a dehy­dra­tor elim­i­nates mois­ture from food hence mak­ing it light to carry.

Storing Dehydrated Food Properly

storing dehydrated food1If you store the dehy­drat­ed food the right way the dried fruit and veg­eta­bles can last for a few years. The meat and fish, undoubt­ed­ly, have a much short­er shelf-life. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, three adver­saries can spoil dried food — mois­ture, the air that oxi­dizes the food, and sunlight.

Thus, the way you store your dehy­drat­ed food is depend­ing on how long you plan to keep it before con­sum­ing it. Some of the best meth­ods to non-meat store dehy­drat­ed food for the short term for up to 1 year include dry air-tight insect-proof stor­age con­tain­ers, dry can­ning jars, and air-tight plas­tic freez­er bags.

How­ev­er, if you wish to keep your dehy­drat­ed food for longer than 1 year, the best way to use vac­u­um pack­ing is with an oxy­gen absorber placed inside the bag. The vac­u­umed pack­age brings oxi­da­tion to a min­i­mum and retains the nutri­tion­al val­ue of the stored food. Cer­tain­ly, you should ensure that the con­tain­ers or vac­u­umed pack­ages with dehy­drat­ed food are stored in a dark, dry, and cold place.

The dehy­drat­ed meat and fish will last a max­i­mum of 1 month in the plas­tic stor­age con­tain­ers and plas­tic freez­er bags. You can store the meat in fish for up to 1 year if you keep it in the fridge in e vac­u­um-sealed package.

Using Dehydrator Not Only For Food Dehydration

It is also worth not­ing that dehy­dra­tors are not only for food dehy­dra­tion. Yes, you can use your dehy­dra­tors to car­ry out oth­er activ­i­ties that can con­tribute to bet­ter­ing your life. For instance, if you are a clay-work enthu­si­ast, you can use it to dry your clay piece. Although it can­not work as an actu­al kiln can do, it will dry the clay mod­els evenly.

Fur­ther­more, you can eas­i­ly make fire starters that are orange-scent­ed. With a dehy­dra­tor, you can dry orange peels to add them to start a fire or use them in an already burn­ing fire to give off a fan­tas­tic cit­rus fragrance.

Final Thoughts

In a nut­shell, dehy­dra­tors can sig­nif­i­cant­ly con­tribute to increas­ing healthy food con­sump­tion in every­day life with­out much effort. It can sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduce food wastage. Food poi­son­ing also has become a sto­ry of the past since food dehy­dra­tion reduces the chances of sur­vival of dis­ease-caus­ing micro-organ­isms. Make fresh fruit snacks for tak­ing it out regard­less of the sea­son. Besides, food dehy­dra­tion is a sim­ple process that every fam­i­ly mem­ber can do; even kids can quick­ly learn how to use dehydrators.

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