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How Do Dehydrators Work to Preserve Food?

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

As long as man has been on the earth they have been looking for ways to preserve food. Food preservation gives humans the ability to live in one place without having to follow game or harvests. 

The idea of food dehydration has been around for a long time–evidence dates back to 12000 B.C. But it didn’t become practical or widespread until the invention of food dehydrators in the early 1900s. 

So how do dehydrators work? Let’s take a look.

What Is a Food Dehydrator?

A food dehydrator is a device that removes the moisture content of food. As food dehydrates it can start to look a little different than when it is fresh. The color may change, and the food may turn out strangely misshapen.

Regardless of what happens to the food as it dehydrates, it comes out delicious (as long as you don’t overdo it!) Plus, it’s a great method for food storage. 

How Do Dehydrators Work?

The idea originally started when people would leave food lying out in the sun to dry. Of course, this is an inaccurate method of dehydrating. You can’t control either the temperature or the airflow very well.

Why is that important? Because temperature and airflow are what dehydrates the food. 

Too high of a temperature and the food will dry out too quickly on the outside and still be moist on the inside. Too low of a temperature (mostly with meats) and you run the risk of bacteria growth.

Proper airflow will ensure that the food dehydrates more quickly and evenly by carrying away the moisture.

Dehydrators come equipped with a fan that can either be on the back wall, the top, or the bottom. Fans on the back wall are the best option as they distribute the air most evenly across all the trays. Fans on the top or the bottom will require rotating the trays throughout the drying process for even drying.

Why Dehydrate?

Dehydrating food is a great way to preserve foods. None of the vitamins in the food are lost during the process as it doesn’t require actual cooking. 

It’s also a great method of preparing food for a camping or backpacking trip. It doesn’t require refrigeration or cooking and it’s lightweight and easy to carry. 

Not to mention dehydrated fruits, veggies, and meats are super delicious. Doing your own dehydrating also avoids the preservatives and chemicals often added to store-bought dehydrated products. 

Start Dehydrating Today!

If you’ve been wondering “how do dehydrators work?”, now you know! It’s a pretty simple concept really. It’s just a matter of getting the temperature and airflow right for the food that you wish to dehydrate.

Dehydrators come at a variety of price points. The more sophisticated ones are a little more expensive but will have better accuracy when dehydrating your food. But a simple dehydrator will also do the trick, though it may require a bit more hands-on operation.

To find out more about which type of dehydrator is right for your needs, check out our blog!