Just as the name suggests, a food dehydrator is an appliance used to dry food. Dehydration is a preservation method that removes moisture in the food thus making it last longer. Lack of moisture diminished bacterial growth lowering spoilage and increasing the shelf life of foods.
The dehydration process makes the food loose its original shape, size, color, and weight but does not affect its nutritional value. The foods can be re-hydrated or eaten in their dry state depending on one’s tastes and preferences.
This method of food preservation dates back to the primitive eras, where food would be left in out in the scorching sun to dry. The process may have had a few health and hygiene concerns but it still did work. However, innovative minds have since perfected this technique of drying foods with a process that is faster, safer, and efficient.
The process combines heat and the movement of air to dry foods. A standard food dehydration unit consists of racks that have open sections to allow movement of air and heat while offering a hygienic way of handling and protecting the food. The temperatures resulting from the flowing air and heat at a constant ensures a consistent dehydration of the foods.
How It Works
Understanding how a food dehydration unit works will first require one to know the components that make up the unit. Heat is the main element for this unit, thus a heating element is necessary, and there is a regulators, fans, trays, and air vents. Each component has its role and all together sum up the simple yet effective function of the food dehydrator. Breaking down these roles will show the inner mechanisms of the unit.
I. The trays have a unique design that allows them to be stacked in various ways to purposes of proper ventilation. The different stacking is because of the type of food being dehydrated, as different foods require different temperature to be fully dehydrated. Some units have circular trays that even rotate automatically during the drying process.
II. The heat from the heating element heats the food for moisture to be released thus begins the drying process. It may take a few minutes. The structure of the dehydration unit and the trays are made in such a way that food is not burnt of cooked during dehydration.
III. Air fans are located at the heating element and at the events to direct the flow of heat and air within the unit. This aid in regulating the temperatures at a desired level. The fan at the element blows the heat into the unit making the food loose moisture and the fans at the event direct the moisture out through the air vents.
IV. Achieving that balance in temperatures is critical, and this is done with the aid of regulators. They help to adjust the amount of heat generated by the heating element and the pace at which the fans should run to ensure a perfect flow of heat and air through the tray when dehydrating the food.