Homo Frugi is a thrifty man, knows since the Stone Age how to prolong the life of delicious treats and “turn” a ripe juicy fruit into a delicious apricot. Technology is helping us speed up and improve the old-fashioned way of preparing dried fruit, transforming a routine process into a culinary experiment. In this article, we will analyze what the dryer is capable of, what pitfalls there are, subtleties and tricks when harvesting fruit.
What a fruit dryer can do
The dryer – nee “dehydrator”, can dry herbs, fruits, vegetables, mushrooms. Models with a capacity of 450 watts and above are capable of drying boneless meat, fish, squid, shellfish and other marine products.
To get rid of moisture from orange, banana, kiwi and tomato, 35–40 ° C is enough. Meat is usually processed at 65–70 ° C. Foot and mouth disease and most other funny “animals” die at a temperature of 60 ° C. Mandatory cooking at 100 ° C or roasting is a myth . In fact, 100 ° C is just the boiling point of water, which everyone remembered.
And yet, these are dryers specifically for fruits and vegetables; it is better to cook meat products in a deep fryer or an electric BBQ grill .The volume of finished products and the drying speed depend on the power of the unit; for household models it is 250-550 watts.
Why a dehydrator is better than the sun
The Sahara Desert is the largest dryer on the planet, created by nature itself. If we have a star-sized dryer, why buy a dehydrator? We answer this question below.
Cons of sun drying
- Dust, dirt, sand, crunching on the teeth, are unlikely to please the guests and will definitely not add a plus sign to the hostess’s karma.
- Winter is not a dry time, and the fruit chips are all eaten up.
- The sun is a large but slow heating pad.
- Playing the role of the wind in calm weather is not the most fun activity. Without blowing, the dehydration process will be uneven.
- Flies do not mind to feast on and leave a trace of their visit, and if the mice also come to visit …
There is only one plus of drying in the sun – it’s free.Pros of a dehydrator
- Fast – a few minutes and you’re done.
- Available at any time of the year.
- There is a uniform airflow.
- Doesn’t depend on the oddities of the weather.
- You can select the temperature, speed and intensity of drying.
- Food is prepared in a box sealed from insects and rodents.
- At the same time, you can dry fruits and vegetables at any time of the year.
- Food visually looks better than when unevenly dried in the sun.
The only negative is that the unit must be washed after juicy fruits (juice tends to drip).
Vertical and horizontal dehydrators – what’s the difference
The heat coming from the bottom of the heating element spreads unevenly, therefore all converter-type dryers are equipped with fans. In models with vertical air supply, the fan is located at the bottom, in units with horizontal air supply – on the back wall.
Air circulation in vertical dryers is good only on the lower shelves – the product itself prevents the warm air from moving upwards. In order for all vegetables and fruits to dry evenly, they must be shuffled several times. There are models with 360-degree rotating pallets, but this trick does not work with all gardening gifts, watery vegetables dry well only on the bottom shelf. On the other hand, the pallets in vertical models are 3–6 centimeters deeper than in horizontal ones, and the height of the shelves can be adjusted using special grooves.
Horizontal models work on the “plug and forget” principle. The fan, installed on the back wall, evenly blows all the pallets at once. The electronic display allows you to select the temperature and operating time. Only in a horizontal dryer can a bunch of grapes or other fruit be hung.Note to the hostess: useful tips
Each product has its own temperature norm, but simply chopping the vegetable and setting the temperature according to the instructions will not work. It’s all about the insidiousness of garden crops. Your pepper may be fleshy and moisture-laden, your banana dry, your mushroom too wet after washing. What matters: the thickness of the slices, the power of the device itself, the mass of loaded vegetables, on which shelf the fruit is spread in the vertical dryer. There are many nuances, so you have to experiment and adapt to your assistant – the dryer. See tips for harvesting beetles and persimmons as an example .
If you set the temperature too high, there is a risk of getting a boiled tomato instead of a sun-dried one. Start at 35–40 ° C and try to gradually increase the temperature.Remember – the speed of drying depends on the amount of decomposed food, four slices will dry much faster than a dozen. Bad neighbor or ranking rules
It is important to follow the rules of the food neighborhood with mesh shelves. You should not place the “dripping” fruit on top if you do not want to get a mix of salty and sweet, sour and spicy.
According to Newton’s law, everything that was above will someday fall. To clean less, a special pallet must be placed on the lower level.
Warm air should dry the fruit or vegetable well – the thinner the slicing and the looser the layout, the faster the product dries.
The denser the cut, the more difficult it is for air to get to the upper “floors”. If stacked too tightly, not all pieces will dry out.
The digital timer will turn off the device at the appointed time. In budget models, using a resistive switch (rotary knob), you can set the shutdown time of the device. The cheapest dryers do not have a timer.
Useful little things
- Of the complete 5–8 shelves, only 3–4 can be used. Some models are supplied with spare grilles. Finding a shelf or pallet to replace a broken one is very difficult.
- It is better to take a dryer with transparent walls or a door – this way it is easier to control the cooking process.
- The power cable is usually about 1 meter, but in budget models there are very short ones, so it is better to think in advance where to put the appliance in the kitchen.
- Vacuumator – insects do not start in a vacuum package, food is stored better than in a jar. You can read more about the benefits of vacuums here.
A dryer is a useful and necessary device in the kitchen for a healthy diet. Considering the constant rise in prices for fruits and vegetables, the cost of packaged dried fruits in supermarkets, it is beneficial to have your own dehydrator.
A converter dryer will help you cope with the harvest and stock up on vitamins for the whole winter. Lovers of exotic fruits will come in handy at any time of the year. Morning porridge with banana and mango, aromatic teas with lemon wedges, cake with oranges and other delights will delight you every day.