Food Dehydrator Basics

January 24, 2013, by Ken Jorgustin

Food Dehydrator

Food Dehydrator

A food dehydrator is a unique low temperature oven, typically with a built-in fan that is moving air over the food as it slowly draws out the moisture content so as to dry and preserve the food.

The food dehydrator components include the containment shell, food trays, fan, heater, adjustable temperature thermostat, and some include an on/off timer.

Typical temperatures to dehydrate food range from 95 degrees to 155 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the type of food, while a common recommended temperature is 120 degrees.

The purpose of the food dehydrator is to simply remove moisture content from the food, without cooking it.

One of the best reviewed food dehydrators is the ‘Excalibur’. I have owned one for a number of years with excellent results.
Excalibur 3900 Deluxe Series 9 Tray Food Dehydrator


Food Dehydrator Advantage

  • Potentially long shelf life (depending on food type, 1 year or much longer if packed and stored properly)
  • Food maintains up to 95% of its nutrients
  • Economical operation (a FULL Excalibur nine-tray, 15 square foot, 10-hour batch will consume about 6kW hours of electricity costing about 90 cents)
  • Save money on groceries, (buy fresh fruit and vegetables or even frozen veggies when on sale at the grocery store and dehydrate them)
  • Dehydrate Meat or Fish for Jerky
  • Make animal/pet treats (chicken/turkey/beef strips)
  • Eat fresh fruit and vegetables in the middle of winter
  • Enables more home grown garden food to eat year round
  • Compact food storage (foods shrink smaller and will store in a smaller space)
  • Light weight (moisture is removed)
  • Easy to pack for trips or kit
  • Great tasting food (no flavor is removed during the dehydration process – only water is removed, leaving 100 percent of the flavor intact)

A food dehydrator is just one of many tools and methods used to preserve food. While no single method is ideal for all circumstances, a diversified approach to food preservation is recommended.

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