Maybe you are trying to watch your weight. Perhaps you are interested in getting a little healthier. Either way, you’re going to want to make some adjustments to your diet. Eating fruits and vegetables is certainly a start; however, you can make those fruits and vegetables even healthier. How? With a food dehydrator.
Not sure what a food dehydrator is? Keep on reading to learn more about this awesome kitchen appliance and why you should have one in your kitchen.
What are the Benefits of Dehydrated Food?
Do you buy things like canned vegetables, dried fruits or other preserved foods? If so, you aren’t just eating the preserved food; you are also eating a bunch of other stuff that isn’t exactly good for you. Things like canned vegetables have tons of sodium added to them to keep them preserved. In addition to all of the sodium, there are also a bunch of other things added to preserved food, like artificial preservatives.
One common preservative that is often used in these store-bought canned foods is monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG. While this artificial preservative certainly keeps the freshness in food, it can also cause problems. For example, many people have reactions to it that can cause serious headaches, sleepiness and issues with the digestive tract. These chemical preservatives turn foods that would otherwise be healthy into extremely unhealthy foods.
Given all of the adverse additives of store-bought preserved foods, dehydrating your own food is definitely the healthier option. When you dehydrate your own food, you are in complete control of the type and the amount of preservatives that are added to the foods. Things like sugar and salt are commonly used to preserve foods when they are dehydrated at home. These are naturally occurring preservatives and they are not detrimental to your health if they are used in moderation. When you’re dehydrating your food at home, you can be sure that you won’t consume any of those unnatural ingredients.
These things can be a cook’s best friend, especially when you’re craving the taste of summer foods in winter. This appliance makes it incredibly easy to prepare classic dried favorites such as banana chips or dried strawberries while not having to worry about unhealthy preservatives and unreasonably high costs. They promote a healthy diet (for your kids too!) and can literally save you hundreds of dollars when you opt to dry your own treats at home as compared to purchasing dehydrated goods in stores.
Benefits to Cooking
The lack of chemically produced additives is not the only advantage of dehydrating your own food at home. There are also many benefits to cooking when you dehydrate your own food. You can make a wide variety of healthy foods when you have a dehydrator. Things like granola, tempeh and paprika are just a few examples of the healthy foods that you can make with your dehydrator. These foods are amazingly healthy and while they can be purchased in the store, they are often extremely expensive. By making them yourself, you can cut save a significant amount of money. Cost savings is just another benefit of dehydrating your own food at home.
How Does a Food Dehydrator Work?
So, given all of these awesome benefits, you’re probably wondering how these appliances work. Well, it’s actually quite simple. Typically, there is a fan located either in the back of or on the bottom of the appliance. This fan blows hot air over the foods, which evaporates the water that is held within the food. As the food is heated, it becomes drier and drier, until eventually all of the water is removed and the food is completely dehydrated.
Not all dehydrators work using this fan method, however; some use convection heat to dry out the foods. In these dehydrators, there is a heating element that is typically located at the bottom of the machine. Food is placed on a tray, and the tray is placed over the heating element. The heat pushes up through the food, which removes the water from the food until it is completely dehydrated.
Buying Your Food dehydrator
There are benefits and downsides to both types With the dehydrators that use the fan method to heat the food, they are often very loud; however, they dehydrate the food very quickly. The dehydrator that uses convection heat makes no noise at all and use much less electricity than the fan operated appliances; however, they do take almost twice as long to dehydrate the food than the fan operated machines.
So, which one is right for you? How do you choose the one that will work the best for your needs? Here’s a look at some tips that will help you select the best dehydrator for your needs.
How much food will you be dehydrating?
Are you going to be using this appliance to dehydrate a bunch of food, or will you be using it to only dehydrate one or two things? If you are going to be using it to dehydrate a variety of foods, the best option for you is to choose one that uses the fan mechanism to heat the food. Additionally, a dehydrator that has an adjustable thermostat will do you good.
Since different foods need to be heated to different temperatures to dry them appropriately, an adjustable thermostat will work the best for you. Alternatively, if you are only going to be using it to dehydrate just a few items, then one that uses the convection method may be the best choice for you. The reason being that you’ll spend less money on electricity and you may not be as hard-pressed to have the food dehydrate so quickly.
Will you be using it when you’re not home?
If you are going to dehydrate food while you are at work and the kids are at school, you should look into getting a dehydrator that has a time with an automatic shut off. The timer can be set to a specific time and you won’t have to worry about the device running the entire time you aren’t home. This will give you added peace of mind.
How much food will you dehydrate at one time?
If you are planning on dehydrating a lot of food at one time, it’s safe to say that you should purchase a dehydrator that can accommodate larger quantities of food. You should also consider one that has racks, as you will be able to dehydrate several types of food at one time.
Whatever type of food dehydrator you plan on purchasing, it is important to remember that dehydrating does take time. Even if you purchase the quickest operating model, don’t expect that the food will be dehydrated in a matter of minutes. Another point to keep in mind is that if you want to get the most out of this appliance, you should really take the time to research recipes that can be made with it.
There are so many different options when it comes to dehydrating food. This appliance can literally open up a world of options for you in the kitchen and can make a dramatic difference in the type of foods that you eat.