To put it simply a food dryer or dehydrator is in fact a low temperature oven with fan. They are made up of a container in which the food can be placed a fan that distributes the air that has been heated by an element within it. Certain dehydrators push the heated air around the container horizontally whilst others do it vertically but all will allow different amounts of foods to be placed in them.
Preserving as much of the nutritional value of the foods that they eat by gently drying with a dehydrator or food dryer is important to some people especially if they lead very active and healthy lifestyles. However, for the raw foodists among us who wish to avoid damaging their food through excessive heat this has been a standard piece of equipment in their kitchens for some considerable time.
As well as the people we have already mentioned using dehydrators so do people who grow their own produce and gardeners. At the most important time of the year (harvest time) they use these to preserve what they have grown and allow more room in the freezer and also reduce the amount of food that they waste. Plus a vast number of chefs in the world are finding dehydrators useful when preparing certain dried delicacies, garnishes and seasonings they incorporate into their recipes. Also when you want good quality dried food for when walking outdoors or on an expedition preparing your own rather than purchasing dried foods from stores is your best bet.
Yes energy prices are rocketing, but it will still prove more economical for you to prepare your own dried food with an electric food dehydrator rather than purchasing readymade. Most people who own a dehydrator tend to use it for drying out various types of fruit including the more exotic varieties such as banana and mango. Certainly if you have children and want them to eat more healthily then fruit leathers or rolls made from fresh dried fruit purees is a great option.
When it comes to what nutritious foods can be made in a dehydrator there are plenty. Of course we have already mentioned leather fruits and rolls, but for outdoor enthusiasts they can make complete dehydrated meals or trail mixes and snack bars. For others they can use it to preserve fruits and vegetables including tomatoes grown in their gardens. They can also use it for making vegetable crisps, mango or pineapple slices and of course not forgetting chewy or crispy banana chips. Plus some people use it for making meat jerky and a number of other types of natural snacks.
As well as dehydrators being used to preserve food this is a piece of equipment that is popular with craft enthusiasts who like to create dried flower or pot pourri arrangements. As the process for drying out the plants is very gentle much of the essential oils within them are preserved and so the scents are retained for longer. Also such equipment is used by hunters in the Arctic Norway and Canadian Rockies to help preserve meat. Whilst dried wild mushrooms which you gather for nothing can also be placed in to a home food dryer.
Having food that is packed with lots of nutrients but doesn’t take up too much space is crucial to Arctic Explorers and Dog Mushers like Gary Rolfe. These people regularly burn the same daily amount of nourishment as a marathon runner when away. Such men like Gary use the American Excalibur dehydrator to allow him to take protein rich and calorie loaded meat jerky on his expeditions along with lots of good quality preserved fruit and vegetables. But it isn’t just people like Gary who uses dehydrators to help meet their dietary demands when involved in extreme adventures so do mountaineers and expedition groups. In fact it is important to have a good nutritional diet when in extreme conditions as it could make the difference when it comes to you living or dying.
The American made Excalibur dehydrator is popular because the company has built a reputation over the last 30 years of making these good quality home and industrial stainless steel dehydrators that are of good quality. However, in recent years the popularity of the Swiss made Stockli which is an expandable food dryer has increased because they are seen as being reliable.
During the 21st Century nutritional health is a hot topic and we are all learning about the benefits to eating foods which have been naturally preserved. In the UK if you want to learn more about where to get the Dehydrator kits and more information on drying food then there are specialist health retailers online such as UK Juicers that can help you. When it comes to learning more about the subject of food dryers the most important book you should be purchasing is published by the manufacturers of the Excalibur dehydrator and is called “Preserve It Naturally”. Also if you want to learn more about this topic in relation to outdoor activities then there is a book by Linda Frederick Yaffe called “The Backpack Gourmet” that you will find extremely useful.