The food dehydrator market is booming along with an estimated 119 percent growth in the next seven years. From a taste perspective, it makes perfect sense.
Dehydrated foods feel more substantive without losing any of the flavors, making them great snacks or even entire meals. In the following article, we’re going to be discussing the 10 incredible health benefits of using a food dehydrator.
We’ll also be discussing the best foods to dehydrate. Let’s begin!
1. Extended Shelf Life
Is dehydrated food good for you if it sits for a week or two? You bet. At least, it’s a lot better for you than if the non-dehydrated version of that food was sitting in your refrigerator for the same length of time.
The “magic” of food dehydration is that, if done at the proper temperature and storage conditions, it can make fruits, vegetables, and proteins last for years. That’s particularly appealing when you consider the alternative.
2. Less Waste
The alternative, of course, is that a food dehydrator limits the amount of waste that you have to dispose of from your fridge. We all go through moments where we buy more food than we actually need.
Nothing is more disheartening than watching those bananas go black when you’re only halfway through the bundle! With a food dehydrator, you can turn those sure-to-rot-otherwise foods into delicious snacks that are capable of lasting for years to come.
3. Preserved Nutrients
Perhaps the biggest of the benefits of dehydrating food is that you don’t experience any degradation in the quality of the nutrients. Not if properly prepared anyway.
Many of the ways that we cook and prepare foods outside of food dehydration can downgrade the nutritional value of what we’re eating. Food dehydrators, however, preserve the flavor and the nutritional impact.
4. Less Expensive
Expense is another good answer to the question, why dehydrate food? The scaleback on waste from not having to throw out food leads to you having to replace fewer unused groceries.
This way, you ensure that everything bought gets eaten and you can stretch out the time between grocery visits. Plus, food dehydrators and prepping materials are relatively inexpensive.
5. Easy Storage
Once you’ve run foods through your own personal food dryer, all you have to do is store them away in conditions of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They can last for many years after that. Just how many, we’ll cover in the final section on the best foods for dehydration.
How does a food dehydrator give you more flexibility? It gives you the opportunity to dehydrate pretty much anything. Tomatoes, meats, dairy products, favorite fruits.
Again, we’ll talk more at length in the best foods section. For now, it’s just pleasing to know that you can choose to turn your favorite foods into favorite snacks.
Dehydrated foods are easy to slide into a plastic bag and take with you to work. You can keep them in a desk drawer for whenever the hunger pangs start and lunch is just too far off.
They also store nicely in backpacks. This is a huge plus if you’re a college student on-the-go who struggles to get across campus for when there’s little time in between classes.
8. Low Bacterial Risk
Because you’re removing the juices from the food and leaving the nutrients, you are able to enjoy the best of both worlds. On one hand, you get all the nutritional value of a non-dehydrated food.
On the other, you don’t have to worry as much about that food becoming contaminated with gut-terrorizing bacteria. That really helps when you realize you can dehydrate many of the foods the CDC names as the likeliest food poison culprits.
9. Good Flavor
The minerals and other nutrients in dehydrated foods are not the only things preserved for your enjoyment. The process bakes in the flavor so nothing is lost from the time the dehydration takes place to the point when you finally get around to enjoying it.
There’s a reason you have to pay through the nose for foods like beef jerky. They’re delicious!
10. Easy to Do
The food dehydration process is about as simple as it gets once you’ve selected the right dehydrator for your needs, although you don’t technically need one. Read through your setup instructions.
Pay particularly close attention to the fan placement. From there, choose the food type you plan on dehydrating (more on that below), insert it into the dehydrator, and crank it on. Vary times and temperatures based on the nature of the food.
Best Foods for Dehydrating
Now that we’ve covered the incredible health benefits of food dehydration, it’s time to look at your options. Truthfully, a whole article could focus on these alone. We’re keeping it simple by breaking it down into the three main groups and offering some of our favorite suggestions.
By “protein,” we mean meat. Our favorites in the dehydrated form are beef strips, turkey, and chicken. In all cases, the spicier the better!
Proteins can last around five years if cooked and dehydrated correctly. They also make great snacks “at the moment” and leave you with a nice, low-calorie way of getting satiated between meals.
Fruits have many natural sugars that add a lot of boldness in flavor. The dehydration process locks that in and better facilitates savoring the taste rather than speeding right through it.
Some of our favorites include apples and bananas. Dehydrating bananas is particularly good because these fruits are high in fiber, low in calories, easy to dehydrate, and they’ll last much longer that way than in their natural form.
Vegetables are another food with low shelf life in their native form. At the same time, it’s nice having plenty of veggies to choose from when you need a snack. This can lead to overbuying.
Dehydrating options like tomatoes or green peppers means getting to still enjoy them if they’ve outlived their shelf life. Veggies can also go a decade or longer without having to be thrown out.
Trust Your Health With a Dehydrator
A dehydrator is a kitchen essential if you value preserving your food, getting the most out of it, and saving a few money and quality-of-life years as well. Are you convinced?
Consider heading over to our best hydrators page to begin scouting your selection. Good luck!