Designed for drying a vast array of fruits and vegetables and even activating nuts and seeds; food dehydrators are quickly becoming a household staple across the country as they are simple to use, inexpensive to run and a healthy alternative to store-bought foods.
Commonly used by campers and hikers because of the safe nature of the preservation method, food dehydrators run at very low temperatures and use both air and heat to remove moisture or water content from foods. And as we all know, water is what makes food spoil or go bad, so by using a food dehydrator to remove this moisture or water content, it means that bacteria and mould cannot grow - therefore allowing for an extended shelf life and a very low risk and healthy snack.
Still not convinced? Read on to discover the top ten benefits of owning a food dehydrator.
1. Dehydrated Foods Taste Great
Using a food dehydrator to remove moisture from food items such as fruits, vegetables and meats, creates naturally concentrated, rich and delicious tasting food.
Not only that, but when making food yourself, you know the quality and freshness of the produce you are using - unlike when eating dehydrated foods purchased from the grocery store.
2. Reduce food waste & extend shelf life
Never waste food again with a food dehydrator. Using your leftover fruits and vegetables in a food dehydrator will extend their shelf life for up to 2 years! Yes, that's right - 2 years!
Below are just a few ways you can reduce food waste by preserving food with a dehydrator and keeping your pantry stocked year round whilst saving yourself some money in the process;
- Manage a bigger veggie or herb garden without the worry of food going to waste - simply use the dehydrator to dry your herbs or make veggie chips. Some veggies that work great in the dehydrator include kale, beetroot, turnips, carrots, sweet potatoes and even green beans.
- Buy bulk in season to save your family money. For example; buy a tray of mangoes in the middle of summer, dehydrate them and be having fresh mango smoothies in the middle of winter!
- Save foods that would otherwise spoil, like the forgotten fruit in the back of your refrigerator, and turn them into delicious healthy treats and snacks like fruit leathers.
Dehydrated food can be also be "re-hydrated" simply with water or by adding to soups, casseroles, stews or pasta sauces.
3. Create Healthy & 100% Natural Foods
Dehydrating foods requires only one ingredient, the food youâ€™re drying, so not only is it 100% natural, but you benefit from all the minerals and fibre of the whole fruit, and unlike cooking and steaming, you donâ€™t lose any of the nutritional content of the foods you are dehydrating.
Dehydrating will change the way you look at foods. Simple fruits and vegetables can be transformed into delicious, healthy snacks and treats. Healthy alternatives to junk foods can be made in a dehydrator and the possibilities are literally endless! You will probably be surprised at the amount of foods which you consume which are actually dried and you can make yourself - sultanas, dried herbs, dates etc.
When we think of dried fruit, we tend to associate it with a "healthy snack" and a lot of the time when people are dieting they consume large quantities of dried fruit thinking it is a healthy alternative to sweets or lollies. However, this is not the case when it comes to store-bought dried fruit. Many store-bought dried fruits contain added sugars, sulfur dioxide and trans fat - all of which can be harmful to you and your family!
Sulfur dioxide is sometimes added to store bought dried fruit in order to prevent discolouration. Sulfur dioxide can cause asthma, skin rashes and stomach pains. Sulfur dioxide is particularly present in dried apricots, which is what gives them the bright orange colour.
By making your own dried fruits, there is no additives or preservatives - you are in control of what goes into your food! If you are tired of not being able to give your children and family healthy snacks, a food dehydrator is your answer.
4. Cost Savings
Processed, store bought snacks can be expensive and organic dehydrated foods are often highly over priced. You can save a lot of money by using your own food dehydrator and by purchasing fresh food items in bulk when in season, or by harvesting your own produce.
Not only that, but food dehydrators are extremely cost effective to run. For example, the 6 Tray BioChef Arizona Dehydrator costs just $0.84 to run over an 8 hour period - the average drying time required for fruit or veggie chips.
So, take advantage of those deals from your local grocery store or farmer's market and remember to dehydrate your foods and store them for later.
5. Efficient Storing
Dried foods take less than one sixth of their original storage space and donâ€™t require the ongoing electrical drain of a refrigerator or freezer. Simply pack the foods clean, dry, insect proof containers or canning jars, plastic freezer containers with tight fitting lids, plastic freezer bags or vacuum seal bags (in single portion sizes) and store them in your pantry for the perfect go-to snack.
This significant reduction in size means that you can fit a lot of preserves into a small area - which is especially ideal for camping, trekking and large families.
Dehydrated foods are compact, lightweight and they travel well.
As highlighted earlier, healthy foods and snacks can be expensive and you canâ€™t always find, or have access to them on the go. By dehydrating foods at home, you can create the perfect snack for your childrenâ€™s school lunch boxes, or a midday hunger-buster for while youâ€™re on the road or at work.
7. Precision Drying
If youâ€™ve ever tried to dehydrate foods in your oven then youâ€™ll understand the frustration it can sometimes cause - not only because of the higher electricity costs that youâ€™ll have to pay, but because most household ovens donâ€™t even start their temperature gauges below 90 degrees (celsius)! In contrast, by using a food dehydrator, you have complete control when drying foods at lower temperatures. For example; the BioChef Arizona Dehydrator offers an adjustable thermostat range of 35 - 70 degrees celsius - significantly lower than your average household oven.
Because of these low temperatures, food created with a dehydrator is often considered as â€˜raw foodâ€™. A raw food diet has many benefits, and is said to preserve the living nutrients and enzymes in fruits and vegetables unlike the heating process which is said to eliminate or deplete these from food.
Subsequently, if youâ€™re on a raw food diet, or are just trying to eat more raw foods, a dehydrator provides a good alternative for preparing foods at a temperature below 46 degrees celsius - the threshold temperature where enzymes and nutrients are considered to be maintained - than any other kitchen appliance on the market.
8. Flexible & Versatile
Whether you want to make fruit leathers, activate some nuts or make a batch of veggie chips, food dehydrators provide you the flexibility to do all of it - plus you have the option to run the machine for a period of hours, or over a number of days!
While you are only limited by your imagination, below are just a few of the things you can make with a food dehydrator...
- Dehydrated Fruit Roll Ups - these are a winner with the kids! Simply blend fruit (and even some yogurt) dehydrate and roll up. Itâ€™s the perfect lunchbox snack.
- Dried fruits such as grapes, blueberries, strawberries, mangoes, bananas, pineapple and kiwi fruit
- Healthy vegetable chips - make crispy chips from beetroot, carrot, parsnip and sweet potato with no oil
- Jerky - experiment with different varieties: beef, lamb, fish and poultry with preservative-free, fresh marinades and spices
- Make healthy bread alternatives such as flax seed bread, pizza bases and crackers
- Healthy granola, activated nuts and seeds
- Healthy dog and animal treats without preservatives
For more ideas, tips and tricks, check out our food dehydrator recipe section here.
9. Simple & Easy to Use
So simple and easy to use, food dehydrators are essentially fool-proof! With the straightforward set and forget system, you simply prepare your food by slicing into pieces, pop onto the trays, set a timer and walk away. Itâ€™s that easy!
Plus, youâ€™ll be thrilled to know that the temperatures are set so low that itâ€™s almost impossible to overdry your foods, and if you do, you can always â€˜re-hydrateâ€™ them with a little water or by adding them to soups, casseroles, stews or pasta sauces.
10. Safe Preservation - Very low risk of bacteria and spoiling
Unlike other preservation methods, because food dehydrators remove the water content from foods during the drying process, the risk of bacteria growth or spoiling is very low. In fact, dehydration is commonly used by campers, hikers and even astronauts because of the safe nature of the preservation method!
Vitality 4 Life have carefully selected and designed a range of food dehydrators, each with their own features, to make the dehydrating process simple and easy.
For more information on our food dehydrator and accessories range, click here.
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