Erin Doman on September 9, 2015 4 Comments There is one common goal between food dehydrators, and that is to remove the water from your food in an efficient manner without inhibiting the nutritional content. In order to do this, the dehydrator must distribute an even airflow and maintain a constant temperature across all trays. These devices have the ability to dry out the food while retaining the nutritional content and the alkalinity of fresh produce, as well as inhibit the growth of bacteria and other microforms. There are many things to look for when purchasing a food dehydrator as well as health benefits you might not have known. Here is a list of some food dehydrator facts and what you should look for when purchasing your own. 1. Nutritional Content is Retained Dehydrators ultimately dry out any foods placed inside of them while retaining all of the minerals and vitamins. Dried sprouts and vegetables are high in fiber and naturally low in high-cholesterol fats, which is primarily why dehydrating them is popular and nutritional. During dehydration, hardly any Vitamin C is lost, and all the Beta Carotene and Vitamin A is retained in plant foods. Other minerals, such as potassium, magnesium and selenium, are also preserved. Due to the rich concentration of enzymes and nutrition, many diet plans contain naturally dried fruits and vegetables. 2. Preserves Fruit and Vegetables Longer Most fruits and vegetables do not have a long shelf life. In many cases, by the time a person is ready to eat the fruit, it has turned brown, molded or bruised. This drying device removes around 75 percent of the moisture from the produce, which can significantly increase the shelf life. The only threat of the produce going bad is the remaining 25 percent of moisture. This is why it is usually better to over-dry the product, rather than under-dry it, so you can better preserve it. Once the moisture has been removed from the product, it should be packed inside a moisture-proof bag, jar or container. After it is sealed, it should be stored in a dark, cool space, such as a cupboard or pantry. This process can give dried fruits, pastas and vegetables a preserved life of roughly one year. This also goes for milk substitutes and powdered milks, as well as wheat, grains, corn and rice. 3. Convenient and Cost Effective You may have noticed that dried fruits and vegetables can be costly at the store. One of the best food dehydrator facts is that for a fraction of the cost, you can preserve fresh foods in your home. Since the shelf life can be extended to around a year, you can save the fruits and vegetables by storing them properly in your pantry or cupboard for later use, and can dramatically decrease the amount you have to spend on these items in the grocery store. Some edible products you can create include: Fruit rolls Beef or poultry jerky Banana chips Assorted dried fruits to make a healthy trail mix 4. Stacking Trays Can Have Greater Capacity There are two common types of dehydrators. The first is the stacking one, which contains trays that stack on top of each other, and includes a fan that is either mounted in a power unit or in the base. There is a core channel in between the trays for air to filter through. This also allows for the heated air to flow through the outside walls and across the tray so it can exit the machine through the channel. Because of this process, there is no need to rotate the trays. With the ability to stack or remove trays, the machine can accommodate large or small batches. 5. Shelves Can Make it Easier to Check for Doneness The second type is the shelf dehydrator. Rather than just trays, it has shelf-type trays that slide in and out. This creates a different system of airflow as the fan is mounted in the back of the unit, which blows the air from the back towards the front in a horizontal direction. This process can create a more even dry, so the trays should not need to be rotated. This is also ideal for when you need to slide out the trays to check the doneness of the produce. However, one drawback is that the shelves limit the capacity of the model. Instead of having the ability to stack more or less trays on, you can only have a certain amount of trays in the shelves. On the plus side, since there is no channel in the middle of the tray, you can utilize more space without having to worry about stacking items around the hole in the middle. 6. Look for an Even Airflow System The better devices often contain a heating element, even airflow across the trays and a fan. Depending on the model, the power of the heating and fan elements will vary. Generally, the device uses between 300 and 1,000 watts of power, and the fans are 4 to 7 inches in diameter. Some models even have dual fans. It is important to also note that these systems can be rather loud, and are comparable to a stove’s exhaust fan. 7. Maintain Temperatures With an Adjustable Thermostat Adjustable thermostats are one of the most essential features to look for when purchasing a dehydrator. They can be used to maintain, set and change the temperature. Most thermostats have a range of 95 to 155 degrees F. Since the required temperature for each product can vary, it is important to have a thermostat that can accommodate these temperatures and that can be adjusted accordingly. The Device That Fits Your Needs When searching for the perfect food dehydrator, it is ultimately important to seek a machine that will best fit your needs. Decide what types of produce or fruits you plan to dry and figure out how much. If you need to check the progress of your dried foods frequently, a shelving device is the best way to go. For great flexibility in capacity, the stacking trays are a great option. Use these food dehydrator facts as a guideline for choosing the best machine for your cooking and preserving needs.