No matter what dry food you’re making, a small dehydrator has one foremost quality. You’re looking for economy in pricing, but it doesn’t mean you should have to sacrifice other qualities, like performance, to get it.
In fact, any size of food dehydrator could be the best affordable dehydrator. Depending on your uses, you can find ways to save money on your favorite foods, prevent them from spoiling and – most importantly – get your money’s worth.
Let’s say that you’re looking to make some dried meat. You purchase 20 pounds from your local butcher because you can get a bulk pricing deal on some delicious steaks. Without adequate wattage power, air flow and food dehydrator matts, it could be a huge waste, or at least a major hassle.
The price of a small dehydrator
Generally speaking, $80 is actually a great price for a dehydrator machine. By purchasing one at a local store or a reputable online retailer, you’ll get access to 1-year warranties, legitimate customer service and reliable delivery.
Opting for a small food dehydrator that has digital features, like an automatic timer and thermostat controls, will cost more. For many people, especially those with children and a busy schedule to balance, these features are a godsend, allowing them a set-and-forget procedure with little stress.
With that being said, what else do you get by choosing a mini food dehydrator based on quality? A noteworthy example is that the features themselves are built to be sturdy and reliable. It’s one thing to find a bargain deal on a dehydrator for $30-40, but if the heating element is half shot and the timer is broken, you’re left replacing parts or dealing with faulty mechanics.
Another aspect deals with food dehydrator brands. Those that offer quality products are easy to deal with in terms of customer service, warranties and food dehydrator supplies, like dehydrator sheets, jerky guns, replacement parts and servicing.
Dehydrating apples in a small food dehydrator
Having a batch of fresh apples spoil before you get to them is a pain, and a fruit dehydrator is a perfect solution for that. We’ve included a dried apple recipe in this article to show you how easy it can be to make use of your favorite foods for long-term storage and everyday enjoyment.
This recipe includes:
- cinnamon (optional)
- brown sugar, or white sugar and molasses (optional)
- honey or maple syrup (optional)
Start by washing and slicing your apples into rings about ¼” thick. You could optionally peel your apples, but they’ll also dehydrate nicely, so there’s no need to worry about it. If you have a mandolin, it’s an easy way to remove the cores, as well.
One of the common issues with dehydrating fruits is having them go brown or left with an undesirable texture. Create a citrus juice out of freshly squeezed lemon juice (1/4 cup) and water (4 cups) and soak your apple slices for about 5 minutes, to overcome this issue.
Optionally, coat or sprinkle your apples with a sweetener or spice, such as cinnamon or maple syrup. Remember that a little goes a long way, as flavors intensify during the dehydration process.
Now that you’re ready, place them evenly on dehydrator trays, and set the thermostat to 135 degrees and check back 6 hours later. They won’t be dry to the touch until after cooling, so check their chewiness, and if they’re not as tough as you’d like them to be, continue dehydrating for another 1-2 hours.
Finally, for longer storage times after using your fruit dryer, you can vacuum seal your dried apples for long-term food storage. Because of their lack of moisture content, they’ll last in the refrigerator and even in your pantry for months on end, and be virtually as fresh as they were when first dehydrated.
Using a food dehydrator machine is an easy way to make delicious recipes with your favorite produce, and preserve them extremely well.