A food dehydrator is one of the many wonderful appliances inventors have added to our kitchen. If you’re into food drying, you know how important such an appliance is.
But how does a food dehydrator measure up against an oven? Which one is better for drying food?
In this article I’ll compare food dehydrators with ovens, and help you see whether the former is worth it compared to the latter.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in!
How Does A Food Dehydrator Work?
A food dehydrator removes moisture from food. It combines heat and air flow to dry out the food items you put in it.
It employs the oldest method of food preservation by dehydration. Typically, food has a water content of 50% to 80%. This is why food gets spoiled so easily if you leave it in the open.
When the dehydrator takes out the moisture, the food becomes lighter. This greatly reduces the cooking time for the food items.
It also removes all traces of bacteria from the food, making it a healthier method of cooking food.
A food dehydrator can cook food at a constant temperature and also provide it with sufficient air to keep it from getting hardened. If a higher temperature is applied, the food can get hard but stay moist inside, which will spoil it quickly.
So a food dehydrator speeds up your cooking, better than an oven might. Great for people interested in quick recipes.
Can You Use An Oven As A Dehydrator?
Short answer? Yes, you can.
An oven can dehydrate your food and make it healthier. If you don’t have an electric dehydrator, you can make do with an oven.
But you’ll need to cut your food into evenly thick slices with a slicing tool or knife. This will ensure that all of it is completely dried.
In the oven, you can dehydrate foods at temperatures ranging from 140 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps preserve meat, fruits and vegetables for a long time.
However, using an oven as a dehydrator can take almost twice the time to cook the food fully.
Setting the right temperature is crucial to ensure all the moisture is removed from your food and it’s cooked completely. You can set it using the oven’s thermostat.
One thing an oven lacks is the air circulation that a food dehydrator provides. So you need to keep the oven door open two inches and place a fan near it to direct the heat outwards.
You don’t have to check your food for a few hours after placing it inside the oven.
How Much Does A Food Dehydrator Cost?
Wondering about how much a food dehydrator costs? There are different types of dehydrators out there that let you dehydrate food.
Depending on size and features, you can find a food dehydrator anywhere between $30 and $500. You can make this decision by exploring various features of each dehydrator and choose one that fits your budget.
The cost varies based on key features such as…
Size and Space
The larger a dehydrator, the more food it can accommodate, and the pricier it will be. However, you can find stackable food dehydrators that take up very less space.
Some food dehydrators also have expansion features that allow you to add more trays to the device, to cook more food at the same time and serve large groups of people. Such dehydrators will be more expensive than non-expandable ones.
The quality of the material from which the dehydrator is made also greatly affects its price. Normally, they’re made from either plastic or some metal. Plastic ones are more affordable. But they’re also less durable since they can’t handle the high temperatures as well as the metallic ones.
Not all food dehydrators have a built-in thermostat, so this also affects their cost. Such dehydrators are more useful, as they help you set the exact temperature for cooking your favorite foods. They’re costlier than those without a thermostat.
If your food dehydrator also has a built-in timer, it’ll help you cook your food easily while you complete other chores. This results in perfectly cooked food. But comes at a higher cost than other dehydrators.
What Types Of Foods Can You Use A Dehydrator For?
A food dehydrator allows you to dry numerous types of foods easily and quickly. Some of the best foods are:
With a food dehydrator you can easily cook your favorite meat dishes. You can add your favorite herbs and spices, as well as sauces. Then can bake it at a low temperature of approximately 170 degrees Fahrenheit to cook it properly.
You can also dehydrate and cook various fruits in the food dehydrator. Some of these fruits include bananas, apples, strawberries, melons and much more. You can easily add more ingredients to the fruits such as cinnamon, honey, or nutmeg.
You can prepare numerous vegetables in the food dehydrator such as peas, bell peppers, zucchini, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Each requires a different temperature, so make sure you know what it is.
You can try various recipes containing herbs and powders in your food dehydrator, such as basil, rosemary, garlic powder, ginger powder etc. Once they’re dried up, you can store them in airtight containers and use them for cooking and seasoning.
Other Types of Food
Other foods you can prepare in your dehydrator include, but are not limited to, eggs, salads, yoghurt, vegetable curry, granola bars, and many other fantastic recipes.
Is A Food Dehydrator Worth It?
Another short answer – yes!
A food dehydrator brings you thousands of food choices and recipes and helps you cook them much faster. It also kills the bacteria present inside the food. If you’re on a certain diet, you can easily prepare different healthy recipes more quickly.
Let me spell out some more reasons why a food dehydrator is worth it:
Using a food dehydrator makes it much easier for you to incorporate healthy food in your diet. This helps you follow a healthy lifestyle and stay fit.
Raw Food Options
Another fantastic benefit of a food dehydrator is that it allows you to enjoy your favorite fruits, vegetables, and other types of raw foods.
Most of these recipes require temperatures ranging from 115F to 140F. Adding fruits and vegetables to your meals was never this easier or healthier!
If you have a food dehydrator, you can buy your favorite foods in bulk when they’re on sale and then can dry and preserve them for later.
Fun for the Kids
Make your kids join the fun of the whole food drying experience!
It’s a fun and educational activity. They’ll learn how to cook different foods and serve them on a tray. A great way to teach them about the nutritional value of different foods.
Preserve Food for Longer
Last but not the least, a food dehydrator helps preserve your food for longer. You can easily freeze or refrigerate the dried food for later. Dried foods last longer when preserved.
Are Food Dehydrators Expensive To Run?
We’ve already discussed the cost of buying a food dehydrator. Let’s talk about its energy consumption and costs.
Before I dive into the details, keep one thing in mind. The size of your dehydrator has a major impact on its electricity costs.
For instance, if your food dehydrator runs on 500W, it would consume less power than a dehydrator with a power rating of 750W.
Let’s say you have a 450W dehydrator. The electricity cost at an average of $0.13 per KWh. This means if you run the food hydrator for an hour, it’ll cost you $0.06. As the power increases, so does the cost.
Ultimately, food dehydrators aren’t too expensive.
A food dehydrator is not only cost-effective, it also helps you cook food in a nutritious and healthy way.
It provides you with endless food options without creating a huge electricity bill. The key is to know which temperatures to cook each food at.
I hope this article helped you better understand the difference between ovens and food dehydrators. And whether a food dehydrator is worth it. And also about the many food items you can dry in it.
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Thank you for reading, and have a nice day!