Drying is one of the most ancient ways of storing fruits and vegetables. If earlier it was produced by exposure to sunlight, today special devices can be used for this purpose — dryers, which are also called dehydrators. They are presented in a wide variety, so everyone can choose the model that suits themselves.
How to choose the type of dryer?
Dehydrators for vegetables and fruits are household convection or infrared (electric). So, before proceeding with the choice of a specific model, it is worth deciding which type of device is most attractive.
Convection (from the Latin “convectio” — movement) is a technology in which the interior of the device is equally warmed up at all points due to blowing with a hot air stream. This allows you to significantly smooth out the difference in temperature, which is typical for household appliances without the use of airflow.
The design of the convection dryer includes the following elements:
- heating element (TEN);
- an electric motor with an impeller (fan), which creates an air flow;
- trays (pallets) with a perforated bottom;
- housing that contains all the nodes.
The key advantage of a convection dryer is the combination of practicality and affordable price. As for the disadvantages, we can single out the need to swap trays from time to time so that the products dry evenly.
These are new generation electric dryers that use infrared technology, which allows you to process products both inside and out at the same time. They are much less common.
The design of such devices necessarily implies the presence of the following nodes:
- elements of infrared radiation, often supplemented by a fan — an electric motor with an impeller;
- pallets (baking sheets);
- control panels.
The peculiarity of the design is that the radiators are installed under each pallet, thanks to which the products are dried quickly and evenly. So, there is no need to change pallets several times during drying, as is the case with convection dryers. But here it must be borne in mind that it is precisely due to this that electronic devices are much more expensive than their counterparts. Moreover, the more trays, the higher their cost.
Criterias of choice
Having decided on the type, you can proceed to the choice of the model itself. From what characteristics to proceed, we will consider below.
It depends on the number of heating elements that produce the heat carried around the tray by the fan. The average is 300-450 watts. This is enough to dry the fruits from your own garden or vegetable garden.
Low power is considered to be 250 watts. It can be optimal if you plan to use the dryer infrequently, since in this case the drying process is 2-3 times slower. On the market there are devices with high power — from 450 W and above. They should be chosen if it is supposed to dry not only fruits, but also meat and fish.
The dryer is considered effective with a proper ratio of power and the number of trays. So, with a power of 350 W, the optimal capacity is 4 or 5 pallets. With more power, 2-3 pallets can be added.
In the case of convection dryers, it must be taken into account that the products do not dry evenly on their own, therefore, for this purpose, it is necessary to constantly change the pallets in places, bringing them closer or further away from the heating element. So, the more trays, the more difficult it will be to dry.
Pallets can be of two types:
- Low (1 cm). Designed for drying small berries, herbs. So, they can not dry fruit slices or whole mushrooms.
- High (2 cm). These are universal trays in which you can dry both small and large products.
Some models suggest the possibility of adjusting the height of the sides. This is the best option, because it allows everyone to set the desired height based on which products are being dried this time.
The body of dryers (respectively, and pallets) can have different shapes — round, oval, rectangular or octagonal. The devices of the first two types are more compact, and plastic covers are attached to the trays. But here it is worth considering important nuances:
- Fans in round dryers are often located under the trays, so during drying, the electric motor can be filled with something, such as juice from juicy fruits.
- Fans in rectangular dryers are located at the top of the structure or on the side, so it is almost impossible for an extra enemy to hit the electric motor.
So, when buying, you should specify the location of the fan. If it is under the tray, it is important to find out if it has reliable protection against accidental moisture.
The dryer can be made of two materials:
- Plastic. These devices are lightweight, so they can be easily transported. Of the disadvantages, it can be noted that they quickly heat up during the drying process. In addition, if it is low-quality plastic, the heating of the device will be accompanied by an unpleasant odor. It is unhealthy because it contains toxins. So, it is very important that the plastic is of high quality and made of food-grade synthetic material. In this case, there should be a sign on the body of the dryer — a glass and a fork.
- metal. Such dryers are more durable, but this affects both weight and cost. In addition, unlike antireflection plastic, the metal has a dark color, so it will not be possible to control the drying process.
It is worth noting that round dryers are often made of plastic, but rectangular ones can be both plastic and metal. Plastic ones are cheaper and lighter, but it is important to make sure that they are made of food-grade synthetic material that does not contain toxins and does not have an unpleasant odor.
Modern dryers are often equipped with options that make them more expensive, but make them much easier to manage. Here are the most useful features:
- thermostat — this is a thermostat that allows you to set the desired temperature (as a rule, the optimal temperature range is from 35 to 70 degrees);
- timer — allows you to set the drying time based on what products and in what quantity are dried;
- auto shut off, overheating protection — these are safety features that are triggered by power outages or surges in the network to prevent fire (the auto-off option also works if there is a timer after the drying time has elapsed);
- cold air mode – allows you to turn off the heating element and “bring” the products to readiness without the risk of transplanting (especially useful when drying fruits).
It is worth noting that models without additional options have mechanical control, presented in the form of simple handles or buttons protruding from the case. These are simple devices that are easy to repair. Modern dryers with various options involve electronic control, which is carried out by means of a sensor and a liquid crystal display. Of course, this significantly affects the cost of the device, so you should choose based on your own capabilities and needs.
In addition to quality characteristics, when buying dryers, the following recommendations should also be taken into account:
- On the market there are models of devices with heating elements, but without a fan. They have a low cost, but are extremely inefficient, because without air blowing, extremely low power heating elements must be used.
- Before buying a device made of heat-resistant plastic, you should ask the seller to turn it on. If at the same time an unpleasant «chemical» smell is emitted, then this is a low-quality device, and drying in it can be harmful to health.
- Each model is designed to use the exact number of trays, depending on the capacity. So, you do not need to buy additional trays in order to increase the capacity of the device. He still will not be able to warm up more products in the «normal» mode.
- If the dryer model meets all the criteria, but involves too large holes in the pallet, you do not need to refuse to buy it. The fact is that even small berries can be dried in such a device, because it is enough to cover the tray with parchment, which you just need to pierce with a toothpick in several places.
- If you intend to choose a device with a thermostat, you should make sure that it has the possibility of smooth adjustment, which allows you to set the temperature that is optimal for a particular product. The fact is that the thermostat can have a fixed step adjustment, and in this case it will not always be possible to set the desired temperature.
- If you plan to use the dryer in the country, preference should be given to models with mechanical control. The fact is that the probability of power surges or power outages outside the city is quite high, and unreliable operation of the power grid can cause numerous malfunctions in the operation of the device with the electronic board and display.
- The dryer is a noisy product, so you will have to allocate a separate room for it. If space is limited, preference should be given to compact models with a round body.
Overview of popular models
There are various models of dehydrators on the market, which differ in power, number of trays, functionality and other parameters. See examples of popular dryers below:
- Saturn ST-FP0112. This is a convective dryer with a round shape and a power of 350 W, which is made of transparent plastic. It has 6 pallets with a height of 2.3 cm, includes auto-off and protection against overheating. There is a power indicator on the case. Among the shortcomings, one can single out the lack of a timer and the ability to adjust the height of the trays.
- Vinis VFD-410W. This is an octagonal plastic convection dryer with a fan on top. Optimum power — 410 watts. There are 4 pallets, a thermostat, auto-off, overheating protection, an on indicator, but there is no timer.
- Hilton DH38665. This is a rectangular plastic dryer in which the fan is located at the bottom. It has 8 temperature control modes (from 35 to 70 degrees), a timer, overheating protection, a display and a power indicator. Among the shortcomings can be identified low power — 200 watts.
- Gorenje FDK20MG. This is a plastic convection type dryer with a power of 240 W and mechanical control. There are 5 pallets with the ability to adjust the height, overheating protection, auto-off, power indicator. Included with the device is a mesh for drying small berries. Among the shortcomings, one can note the absence of a timer and a thermostat (there is only one temperature regime — up to 70 degrees).
- Smile FD992. This is a plastic device with 3 trays, overheating protection, mechanical control and a temperature range from 35 to 70 degrees, a power indicator light. The power is 240 watts.
- Polaris PFD 1205. It is a compact model weighing 1.7 kg, which can be easily transported and stored even in tight spaces. Assumes protection against overheating and the ability to adjust the height of the pallets. This is a good model for processing a small amount of food that could not be eaten or canned.
A visual overview and comparison of different models of multifunctional dryers from the manufacturer MARTA is offered in the following video:
In the following video, the consultant will tell you in detail what parameters you should pay attention to when buying a dryer:
A dryer is an excellent tool for those who want to process fruits and vegetables with minimal waste. They can even be used to make marshmallows and energy bars from fruits and grains. Since the market for such devices is quite wide, everyone will be able to choose a good model for themselves based on individual needs and financial capabilities.