Electric Dehydrators

Food dehydrators offer an easy and reliable way to dry out fruits, vegetables, meats and other foods for long-term storage. Most home ovens don’t operate at the consistent low temperature that dehydrators do to remove moisture for recipes like fruit leather, jerky or dehydrated produce. If you want to embark on a large-scale drying project, consider one of these machines. If you have a home garden, you can even gather up your fresh produce, rinse it in a colander and pop slices directly in the dehydrator for a quick transformation from fresh to preserved. At Williams Sonoma, we know that one of the keys to getting the most out of your food dehydrator is finding the right model with the features for your needs. It helps to know about the materials the dehydrators are made from and their capacities as you choose.

How Much Does It Hold?

The overall capacity of your food dehydrator is what tells you how much food you can dry at one time. You can consider not only how often you plan to use your dehydrator but also the sizes of the batches you want to create each time you use it. If you have fruit trees that drop a lot of fruit at one time that you want to preserve, for example, it’s helpful to get a large-capacity dryer to handle that much food even if you only use the dehydrator once or twice a year at harvest. You might also consider a dryer that has removable racks so you can easily prepare batches of different sizes.

Something else related to capacity is the dehydrator’s overall size. Think about where you might want to use and store your dehydrator to determine how much space you have available. This can make it easier to narrow down your options based on which models may be bigger than you want for your kitchen – or bigger than what can fit in your cabinets. Dehydrators do tend to be large because they need to circulate a lot of air around the food during the drying process. Keep in mind, though, that you can use a dehydrator in a different part of your house, prepping ingredients and trays in the kitchen before carrying the prepped trays of to-be-dried foods to a different area.

What Is It Made Of?

Another key factor to consider is whether to choose composite or metal trays. Most food dehydrators come with either one or the other. They aren’t always available with interchangeable options, so it helps to choose one way or the other based on your preferences. BPA-free polycarbonate is a good choice if you want durable, lightweight trays that are easy to lift and move around. Metal is a good choice if you want to do high-temperature dehydrating or want to be able to run your trays through the dishwasher. Though the polycarbonate used for dehydrator trays is heat resistant, it is more prone to warping under high temperatures. It’s also porous, which means it can hold onto scents and flavors even with thorough cleaning. If you plan to make seasoned beef jerky or alternate between dehydrating different kinds of foods, such as aromatic herbs, vegetables and fruits, it’s helpful to go with metal trays to prevent flavor transfer between batches.

We offer a range of accessories and tools that are useful for prepping foods for dehydration, including mandolines and ceramic knives for slicing larger foods into smaller pieces for uniform drying. After you’ve picked out your dehydrator, think about what kinds of food you might want to dry and whether you have the other equipment you might need to prepare it.

With these helpful tips in mind, you’ll be ready to fire up your dehydrator and start preserving as soon as possible. The only thing more satisfying than dehydrating your own foods is figuring out what to cook next!