What Is The Best Dehydrator For Raw Food?

 

Make raw apples into dried apples with your own dehydrator.

Make raw apples into dried apples with your own dehydrator. See the Excalibur Dehydrator at Amazon.

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Dehydrators are great if you love raw food or are trying to switch to a raw food diet. Instead of cooking food like most cooking appliances, dehydrators use low temperature and a fan to slowly dry out the food. Dehydrating preserves most of the nutrients and enzymes in your food while giving it a new texture and sometimes, bolder flavors.

How does it work?

Essentially the dehydrator removes water from the raw food, which also helps with preservation of fresh foods like fruits and vegetables.

A great dehydrator allows you to make everything from veggie chips to fruit rolls to beef jerky. You can also use your dehydrator to get more life out of your fresh produce, as produce tends to go bad quickly.

I like this Excalibur Dehydrator. Powerful and large,
it’s the only one you’ll ever need for years of raw-food drying.

Money saver and more

Having a dehydrator in your home can save you countless trips to the market, while providing you with the opportunity to create new and exciting treats for friends and family that you just can’t make with an oven.

What to look for in a dehydrator

Here are a few important factors to consider when shopping for a dehydrator:

Temperature control & fan

Your dehydrator will need easy-to-use heat settings. Most come with light, medium, or high temperature settings, as well as a fan option. The fan helps evenly distribute heat through the trays, so it’s imperative to have one in your model.

The Tribest Sedona dehydrator has 2 fans.
Check it out at Amazon.

Use lighter settings to dehydrate sensitive foods like fruits and other produce, and the high setting to dry out protein-rich foods like tofu or jerky to create a bold, tough texture.

The dehydrator’s temperatures should also stay within the 112 to 118°F range, meaning the low temp should be 112°F and the highest should be 118°F. At temperatures above 118°F, your raw food will begin to lose some of its natural enzymes and nutrients. Below 112°F, it will not dry out thoroughly.

Trays

The amount of trays is very important to keep in mind while figuring out the best dehydrator for raw food. Most have about 4 to 10 trays, so pick one that suits your needs depending on how often and how much food you anticipate to dehydrate.

You’ll also want to be certain that your trays are BPA-free, so that no harmful chemicals seeps into your food as it heats up and dries out. Some plastic-based trays may run this risk.

Looking for a good deal?
This Nesco Dehydrator is the great value for the priceon our list — and highly rated!

Motor

The power of the motor is also imperative to figuring out the best dehydrator for you. Generally, if a motor has less wattage (around 500-watts), it uses less power and is more efficient to use if you’re planning on letting foods dry out all day or overnight. It’ll be easy on your power bill as well.

Higher wattage is best to dry thick products, like meats, in a shorter amount of time. 

Once you start drying your own fruit and veggies, you won't stop.

Once you start drying your own fruit and veggies, you won’t stop.

Noise

Some models have a louder fan or motor than others. If you’re concerned about keeping your kitchen quiet most of the time, this is an important factor for you to consider and test.

Size

Generally, the bigger the better for raw food dehydrators. You want to get the most value for your purchase, so being able to fit as much food in your dehydrator as possible will save you the most time, money, and effort in the long term. But, if you have minimal counter space, or don’t plan on using it very often, a smaller model might be a better fit for your kitchen.

Shape

Dehydrators also come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some are round (these are ideal for drying out herbs), but most are rectangular. These can either come with horizontal airflow or vertical airflow. Horizontal dehydrators are generally considered better for raw food dehydration. The dry air more easily circulates and decreases the risk of forming mold.

Timer

Finding a dehydrator with a built-in automatic timer will save you a lot of effort. Timers are very efficient for dehydrators because the device itself can keep track of the dehydration process without your intervention. You just set up the food, set the timer, and go about your day.

Conclusion

You could spend a lot of money at the store buying dried mango, dried banana, dried apple and more. Or make a one-time investment in a dehydrator and never pay for old yet expensive dried fruit and veggies in single serve plastic bags, ever again.

If you want to save money while you maintain the integrity of that nutritious raw food, a new dehydrator is the way to go. I hope one of my recommendations will work for you.

Now I’ll show you the best spiralizer for butternut squash.

Additional Resources

Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: Cindy and Suz