What is dehydrating?
Food dehydrating is an age old method of preserving fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts and herbs for use at a later date. Essentially, it is the removal of the water in the food by passing warm air through it for an extended period of time. By removing the water from the food, moulds and yeasts are not able to grow on the food and spoil it.
Apart from preserving food for later use, dehydrating using a food dehydrator can also preserve the nutritional value of the produce due to the low temperature they can operate at. Cooking food at temperatures above 118ºF (48ºC) destroys the enzymes and essential nutrients contained in the food.
Although food dehydrating can be done in a fan assisted convection oven, a solar dehydrator or even outside in the sun - an electric food dehydrator allows for a more controlled method of food drying that can be used indoors whatever the weather. It will also produce far superior results with less input needed by the user.
Dehydrated FruitA food dehydrator is essentially an oven but has been designed specifically for use at lower temperatures and to assist with the circulation of the air and removal of the moisture. It is a simple invention and consists of a fan, heating element and trays for putting the food on. The air inside the dehydrator is heated to a preset temperature and the fan circulates the warmed air around the food.
Some of the better food dehydrators are equipped with a variable temperature control so that food can be dehydrated at different temperatures. Unfortunately, the cheaper dehydrators that are appearing more and more these days (under £80) have a fixed temperature at around 180ºF (80ºC). Compare this to the best food dehydrator - the Excalibur, which has a maximum temperature of 155ºF (68ºC) and the lower temperature of 85ºF (29ºC).
Unfortunately, many people are using the none-variable cheaper dehydrators thinking that they’re preserving the nutritional value of the food, whereas in reality, they may as well just save their money and use an oven. Although, not everyone who uses a food dehydrator is going to be concerned about the nutritional value of the food - they are under the misconception that they are dehydrating food when really they’re cooking it. Subjecting the foods to high temperatures results in food which appears hard on the outside but still moist in the middle - this will still allow moulds to form and spoil the food. Just make sure you select the right machine for your particular needs.
A food dehydrator is an essential piece of equipment for the modern day raw food enthusiast who follows the theory of any food heated above 118ºF (48ºC) is cooked and therefore the nutritional value drastically reduced. If this is the reason you are looking for a food dehydrator then ensure the machine you select has a variable temperature control. These machines on our website are the Stockli dehydrators and the Excalibur dehydrators.
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