Among the variety of technical devices in the modern kitchen, the dryer for fruits and vegetables has already taken its firm place, especially among summer residents and those who like to harvest for future use. When dried, all the useful substances are retained in the products, but at the same time they can be stored much longer than fresh ones.
Capacity is an important criterion for choosing a dryer
Any dryer for vegetables and fruits consists of:
A heating element with which dehydration is carried out;
Several sections for product layout;
At first glance, all devices are similar, so if you have not yet encountered dryers, you can get confused and make the wrong choice. As a result, the device will simply gather dust in the package, and the issue of drying will remain open. One of the main selection criteria is the capacity of the device . Let’s consider in detail several indicators.
Number of sections
Dryers are generally cylindrical or square in shape. Inside, the sections for the layout are attached to the main rod. The number of sections indicates the capacity of the entire device. The most popular models for home use range from 3 to 12 pallets. If you are not going to process a large amount of food, then you can purchase a small device with three sections. When you need to dry kilograms of vegetables and fruits, it is better to buy a device with the maximum number of pallets – this will reduce the time several times.
One section capacity
Not all pallets are the same size. Some are adapted only for drying herbs – these are the smallest sections, in others you can dry fruits and vegetables whole or in large chunks. Here, again, everything will depend on the needs. The section capacity can be from 0.5 kg to 3 kg .
According to the maximum capacity for one load, dryers can be from 2.5 to 20 kg of product. The most voluminous ones are required when drying a large amount of any one product. Mushrooms, berries and carrots, which are dried on different tiers of the dryer at the same time, are good only in the picture, in real life you are unlikely to enjoy apples with the smell of mushrooms.
Other indicators, such as depth, height, width and diameter of the fruit and vegetable dryer, help purely visually. For many users, compactness is paramount so that the appliance fits comfortably in a small kitchen.
A heating element
There are two main types of heaters. The most common is convection . In this case, the hot air from the heating element is dispersed by the ventilation device. This makes it possible to dry food evenly and quickly.
The second type of heating is heating element . The heating device dries fruits and vegetables quickly due to the high temperature.
Some models are equipped with an infrared heating element . It is believed that fruits and vegetables dried in such a device retain more vitamins and minerals, practically do not lose their natural color and smell. Only the second statement is true – products processed under infrared heat look and smell more natural.
There is another plus in such dryers – they are low-noise, since convection drying is accompanied by the operation of a fan. The more powerful the device, the louder the sound. But convection appliances have more options, both in size and in price.
Choosing a certain model, you should pay attention to the way of air supply , since several indicators may depend on this.
Vertical way – the fan is located under the product distribution sections. Distributing heat from the heating device from bottom to top. This causes moisture and food pieces to get onto the heating block.
Horizontal method – the heating block is located on the back of the appliance, and the trays can be pulled out independently of each other, like trays in an oven. This method is considered more effective, since the heat is evenly distributed to all sections at once.
This figure usually depends on the number of sections, that is, the size of the dryer. Finding a super-powerful device with three sections will be almost impossible, and even this is completely unnecessary. The smaller the fixture, the less power is required for quality performance. For example, three-section fruit and vegetable dryers have a maximum limit of 240 watts. As the load increases, so does the power.
There are devices with power from 125 W to 1,000 W. This parameter in the dryer is responsible for high-quality, uniform and timely drying. If a heating element of insufficient power is installed in a dryer with a vertical loading and a large capacity, then while the upper tiers are “dry”, the lower ones are “dry”.
All models with a maximum capacity are of the converter type, they have horizontal loading and at a time they can dry up to 20 kilograms of products on 8-12 pallets.
All products are conditioned at different temperatures. For example, 35 ° is enough for medicinal herbs and dacha greens, apples are cooked at a temperature of about 55 °, and for drying meat it will take no less than 70 °. Each device has a minimum and maximum temperature regime . The minimum can be from 20 ° to 48 °, and the maximum from 60 ° to 90 °. Before buying, you need to evaluate – whether you will dry everything or just one thing, then it will become clear which device with which temperature range you need.
Temperature control can be mechanical – knobs with degrees designations, or electronic. But there may be no adjustment at all – by setting the temperature in such devices at the beginning of drying, you cannot change it in the process. In addition, there are models with one temperature indicator, for example, only 70 °.
A very useful element in a dryer is a thermostat or overheating protection . The whole drying process takes at least a few hours, so it is simply unrealistic to be constantly near the device and watch, no matter what happens. The thermostat will protect the device not only from accidental overheating inside the system, but also from external influences, for example, from a power surge. Having a dryer with this function, you can safely turn it on, for example, at night and go to bed.
It’s a good idea to have a countdown timer in the dryer as well . It shows how much is left until the end of the process and automatically turns off the heating element at the end of the work.
Dryers for vegetables and fruits are made of plastic and metal . Each material has its own pros and cons.
A device in a plastic case is several times lighter, so if you need to constantly carry it or take it away, for example, to a summer cottage, then the plastic version will suit you better. In addition, the plastic does not heat up, it is not scary to touch it.
The metal is more durable and looks more stylish, does not fade in the sun. It is most often used for the most powerful and largest dryers.
There are also dryers made of two materials at the same time: bottom – metal, top – plastic. The body of the device itself can be transparent or matte.
The dryer can be equipped with an electronic display , which of course adds to the ease of use. The screen is necessarily present in devices with electronic switching of modes; mechanical modifications often do not have it.
As additional useful accessories, trays for making marshmallows or yoghurt can be supplied with the dryer .
Overheating protection is a useful feature for those who want to dry large quantities of products.
For most tasks for the preparation of vegetables and fruits, convection models or with heating elements for 5 pallets, with a power of up to 500 W and a temperature range of up to 70 degrees Celsius, are suitable. There are dryers with horizontal and vertical loading.
Dryer for vegetables and fruits Steba ED 5 gray
If the volume of products is small, but they are varied – from herbs to meat, then you should take a closer look at a compact device with a good temperature range .
Dryer for vegetables and fruits Kitfort KT-1911 silver
For processing mushrooms and large vegetables, you need deep trays of 37-40 centimeters. Models with a depth of more than 40 centimeters are much more expensive.
Vertical air dryers are cheaper but more difficult to maintain. Juice and fat can drip down and onto the fan. That is why, in models with top loading, deep shelves are usually installed with the ability to adjust the height.
Dryer for vegetables and fruits Steba ED 8 black
There are not so many dryers with horizontal air supply and they are more expensive, but they are easier to wash – the juice flows into a special tray. Uniform drying of fruits and vegetables is achieved by efficient redirection of heat from the heating element to the sections.