There are so many way to preserve the fruits of your labor. When you have a gorgeous garden and want to keep your fruit and berries as long as possible, or you are planning on keeping your garden food into the colder seasons, dehydrating is a great way to enjoy so many different fruits and berries from your garden.
Dehydrating food is an art form and is a fantastic way of preserving your own fruit, berries, veggies, herbs, fresh produce, fruit rolls and more, as well as doing bulk food preservation. No tall food dehydrators are the same though; there is much to consider when looking for a great dehydrator, and we are going to cover it all.
The Best Dehydrators
The best way to dry food is by using a food dehydrator. Dehydrated food keeps for a very long time in your cupboard or freezer. Many gardeners and farmers enjoy dehydrated food far beyond the growing season. When you dehydrate food, the drying process is much faster and easier when you have the proper tools.
What Can You Use A Dehydrator For?
Drying your food and fruit is especially fun to do, and isn't it some of the best food? Dehydrated foods can be used for many things including:
- for consumption (great for healthy snacks and kids lunches!)
- for salads
- for breads and muffins
- for drinks (both in drinks and as drink garnishes)
- in crafts such as wreaths and gift wrapping
- in potpourri
- in handmade soap
- for beef jerky and chicken jerky
- to dry herbs
- to make dog treats
- to preserve bulk purchases
Of course when you are looking for the best food dehydrator, you are going to want to find one that evenly dries the fruit as there is so much water concentration that fruit can easily have uneven spots which could spoil what you have worked so hard for.
Heating Element & Fan Placement In A Food Dryer
Another important feature to consider when looking for the best food dehydrator is where the fan and heater are placed in your food appliance. There are typically two dehydrator designs:
- The stand up horizontal airflow design
- The cylindrical, vertical airflow design.
Horizontal Air Flow Dehydrator Design (Fan and heater are rear-mounted)
With stand up, horizontal air flow dehydrator designs, the fan and heater tend to be rear-mounted. This placement allows the air to move evenly through your drying racks, as opposed to cylindrical designs where the fan and element are mounted on the base for vertical air flow.
Dehydrators where the heater and fan are located along the back are more preferential for consistent drying as well as less work on your part (tray rotation through the drying process).
Cylindrical Air Flow Dehydrator Design (Fan and heater are base-mounted)
When the fan is mounted on the base, the air has to pass through layers to get to the next level up all the way tot the top, so you often have to rotate your mesh trays to get an even dry.
This is also something to consider if you are planning on drying anything that has been marinated such as jerky where the drippings may fall down onto the heating element. This will just make for a bit of a messier clean up.
On the other hand, the cylindrical designs are typically less expensive options, likely due to the fact that you will have to rotate the food trays. So we are going to share both food appliance designs with you so you can find a dehydrator for your fruit and dried food that suits your needs best.
What Else To Consider When Look At Food Dryers
Let's look at the best food dehydrators for fruit that are both affordable and reliable and ones that offer great storage space. Some things to consider when looking at food dehydrators:
- Does the food dryer have horizontal air flow or vertical air flow?
- Does the dehydrator offer consistent drying?
- Can you dry large capacity of food in the dryer?
- Does the dryer work for fruit and vegetables?
- Does the dryer work for beef or chicken jerky?
- Do you need to do a tray rotation part way through the drying process?
- Does the dehydrator come with dishwasher safe trays?
- Does the dryer come with solid liner sheets or fine mesh mats for fruit roll ups and fruit puree?
There is much to consider. Let's get into the best dehydrators.
The 7 Best Dehydrators for Fruit
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If you are looking specifically for a dehydrator for fruit, you are going to need a dehydrator that has an even distribution of temperature throughout the layers so that the fruit dries evenly. When dehydrating fruit, you will want to not only preserve that beautiful sweet and tart flavor, but also the appearance of the fruit. You'll want to keep those gorgeous colors.
You may also want to blend your fruit into liquid and use the drying process to make fruit roll sheets!
Here they are, the best dehydrators in no specific order:
1. The Cosori Stainless Steel Dehydrator
This Cosori premium food dehydrator is made with food-grade stainless steel and has a glass door in front. This dehydrator made our list of the best dehydrators for fruit for its design, drying capacity and for how easy it is to clean.
When planning on dehydrating fruit, you will likely have more food, fruit or beef jerky to dry than you think. This is why you will want enough trays: so you can have as much room as you need without overlapping your fruit.
The Cosori dehydrator comes with 6 stainless steel trays, plus a mesh screen and a fruit roll sheet for fruit leathers. If you are going so far as to turn your food and fruit into rollable snacks, this is a wonderful dehydrator for fruit leathers as well.
This electric food dehydrator is also easy to clean as you can pop the trays out and they can be run through the dishwasher so there will be no dried pieces of sticky fruit left on. Plus, you can set the timer for the amount of time you want your fruit to dehydrate for and it will automatically shut itself off when your timer is done.
We personally own this dehydrator and absolutely love it. I have it running 24/7 and it makes little more than a low hum, plus, it looks great on the counter.
Here is a video from The Farmers Cupboard's Instagram post when we made dehydrated pears from the backyard, so you can watch it in use (oh, and please give me a like and a follow, that would be so kind!):
2. The Excalibur Dehydrator
The Excalibur is one of the best food dehydrator out there. You can get it as a 9 tray food dryer with an adjustable thermostat for temperature control, and there are sizing options as well in terms of more trays.
This is a great food dehydrator for fruit and for fruit leather as well, as it offers 15 square feet of drying space! And remember, when it comes to drying fruit, you want as much room in your dehydrator as possible.
This is an excellent unit for dehydrating your own food and it is great for all sorts of dried foods including jerky and fruit leather.
Something really great about this food dehydrator is that you don't have to move your trays around or rotate them to get evenly dried fruit, which is one of the reasons we love this electric food dehydrator.
Made in the USA with all USA-sourced materials, the Excalibur food dehydrator also has an adjustable thermostat with a temperature range from 105 degrees to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, so this temperature range is low enough to preserve the active enzymes in your fruit, and is also high enough to meet safety standards if you want to use it for dehydrating meat as well.
3. The Cuisinart DHR-20 Dehydrator
Cuisinart is a well-known kitchen brand that offers a popular choice in their dehydrator for fruit. It has an adjustable temperature control with using only the fan, as well as a low, medium and high temperature range.
The heating element is located at the bottom of this dehydrator as opposed to behind the trays, which some people prefer. A cylindrical design, this electric food dehydrator offers five stacking, interlocking plastic trays.
What is nice about this food dehydrator for fruit is that you can purchase additional trays and simply add them on to your existing racks. They will lock right in place, and you can stack up to nine racks on this dehydrator at one time.
There is 552 square inches of dehydrating area in the Cuisinart dehydrator and it is BPA-free with a limited 3 year warranty.
4. The Elite Gourmet Food Dehydrator
Another cylindrical design where the heater is located at the bottom of the drier, the Elite Gourmet Food Dehydrator has an adjustable temperature range from 95 - 158 degrees Fahrenheit. The trays are made from clear BPA-free plastic and they are dishwasher safe.
This electric food dehydrator also offers 5 trays and has a base-mounted fan above the heating element.
5. The Cosori Plastic Dehydrator
This electric dehydrator for food is another product by Cosori. This sleek, white food dehydrator is extremely popular with more than 10,000 ratings, and it comes in with a much lower price tag than its stainless steel counterpart, likely because it is made of plastic.
This dehydrator has a one-touch digital control panel which lets you set the drying temperature from 95°–165° Fahrenheit and it has a timer for up to 48 hours. This cylindrical design with 5 stacking trays and front panel touch buttons to set your temperature and time.
It is safe to wash in the dishwasher on the top rack, and offers a quite cooking experience with less than 47 dB of noise.
6. The Magic Mill Food Dehydrator
Here is a fantastic digital food dehydrator design that again, offers that amazing area with 9 adjustable trays that are 13" x 12" each. This machine is equipped with a rear-mounted drying fan and air flow circulation technology to promote even drying, there is no need to rotate the shelves, and you can monitor the dryer process easily with the transparent door window.
With the heater and fan designed in the back, this becomes an excellent choice for dried foods such as fruit, jerky and fruit leather.
The timer is right on the front of the machine and is digital. A great feature of this dehydrator is that it shows you a countdown timer on the screen, so you know how long it will be until your fruit is done dehydrating! Plus it features that automatic shut off, so no worrying about being there when your food is done.
Not only does this machine come with 10 drying trays (they give you one extra), but they also offer 2 non-stick trays that are perfect for making fruit leather, a fine mesh sheet, and a hanging rack so you can make jerky super easily as well.
This is a fantastic dehydrator that is not only great for fruit; it is a multipurpose dehydrator that you can use again and again without having to rotate your trays around. You can set it and forget it with its countdown timer and automatic shut off. This machine also has an overheating protection built in which will activate if the dehydrator gets too hot.
Any plastic in this machine is BPA-free and the trays are dishwasher safe. This is a great machine for drying your food for long term storage and snacking.
7. The Nutrichef Countertop Dehydrator
The Nutrichef Dehydrator comes with ten, food grade stainless steel trays. The temperature varies from 95 - 170 degrees Fahrenheit and has a touch control front panel which you can control the time and drying temperature from.
This digital food dehydrator also offers an automatic shut off once the food is done and has a memory function. Most importantly, the fan is located in the rear of the machine so there is a great circulation of air. No need to physically rotate your trays around.
We hope we helped you find the best food dehydrators for your fruit, and one that will work well for your other kitchen needs as well.
Here are some more questions you may be thinking about when looking for the best machine for drying your food:
How long does it take to dehydrate fruit in a dehydrator?
For harder fruits like apples & apple slices, pears, peaches and nectarines, dehydrating times will be anywhere from 7 to 14 hours. To dry fruit such as kiwi, plums, grapes, tomatoes, or any fruit that has a higher water content, it can take between 24 to 48 hours in the dehydrator. Just be sure to check every several hours to make sure they are dried to your preferred doneness.
Is a fruit dehydrator worth it?
That all depends in several factors. How much fruit do you grow? Are you able to eat if fresh or do you want to enjoy your fruit through the non-growing season? Do you like to add dried fruit to your cereals, oatmeal, drinks, salads and on other things? Do you crave easy snacks that are healthy and easy to have on hand? A good fruit dehydrator is definitely worth it if you are wanting or needing to store your fruit for any of the above reasons. You will totally want to get a fruit dehydrator that has ample space, dries evenly and is easy to clean.
Is dehydrating your own fruit healthy?
Dehydrating fruit means removing the water content from fruit so it cannot grow bacteria and spoil, allowing you to enjoy it for months. The fruit will still have the same nutritional content and fiber once dehydrated, but keep in mind it will also have the same sugar content as well. So it is a natural food that you are preserving containing natural sugars, so it is as healthy as regular fruit is, minus the water.
What fruit is good dehydrated?
Dehydrators are amazing at preserving fruit for you to enjoy for months on end. There really is no restricting what kind of fruit you can dehydrate, but some of fresh product and other items include:
- dried apples
- dried bananas
- dried strawberries
- dried oranges (great for garnishes and gift wrapping!)
- dehydrated flowers (for crafts, potpourri, bouquets, décor and more)
- and more
Fruit can be dehydrated sliced up, or it can be blended and be made into fruit leather.
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