What Is a Food Dehydrator?

What Is a Food Dehydrator?

A food dehydrator is a small home appliance that can dry fruits, vegetables and meat. It comes in a variety of sizes and capabilities and works by gently circulating low heat over a long time period, generally a number of hours or even days.

A dehydrator's heating element is either on the bottom, blowing heat upwards, or positioned on the side, blowing the heat horizontally. Horizontal placement has the advantage of being able to dry a mixed batch of foods without having to worry about if, for instance, apples drying on the top rack might taste like the beef drying on the bottom rack.

Dehydrators are very energy efficient, costing $.49 to run for 24 hours, as compared to a coffee maker, which costs $1.63 to run for the same time period.

According to BestReviews.com, the best three dehydrators on the market in 2015 are the Excalibur 3926TB Dehydrator, the Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator and the Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A. The Excalibur earned the distinction Best of the Best and the Presto is considered the Best Bang For Your Buck.

Some great foods to dehydrate include apricots, strawberries, tomatoes, peaches and apples. Dehydrated fruit provides dessert without added sugar.