The battle with the harvest: choosing a fruit and vegetable dryer
By: Expert | 01.11.2021, 13:35
The irony of fate is that our dachas produce far more tasty things than we are able to eat every year. Therefore, from June to October, our citizens roll up their sleeves and indulge in national pastime - the production of preserves. Along with pickling and boiling, good hosts know another way to extend the shelf life of products for months and years - drying. The following gadgets are designed for this purpose.
Electric driers for fruit are convection and infrared, the latter are less common and cost more, so let us now not about them.
Modern convection dryers for fruits and vegetables are a fairly simple device, the main modules of which - the heating element and the fan. This is how warm air is supplied and circulated, similar to how fruits would dry in the open wind, but faster because the wind inside the unit is hotter than it would be naturally. And while the drying process is going on, the food is protected by the body of the dryer from dust, insects and birds flying by, and therefore drying fruits and vegetables in these gadgets is much more hygienic than naturally in the wind. This is just in case, while stringing cut-up mushrooms you might have a question: why do we need these dryers at all? Gardener-gardeners and simply thoughtful hostesses have no doubts: we need them. But how to choose among the variety of options that will serve you and provide supplies for the family during the winter - let's deal.
There are really not many variants, and all the dryers that are presented in the market, cope with their main mission: to supply warm air on the fruits chopped by you. Usually, the air flow is from the bottom or the side - depending on where the fan is located. Also, the dryer usually places trays on top of each other, on which you spread out all your goodness. And keep a tip tip right away: dryers with a lower air flow may get less wind to the top layers, so you should occasionally swap out the top and bottom trays - so that everything dries evenly.
Among additional functions which can please the user are timer, protection against overheating, electronic control, automatic switching-off (so that the fruit is laid in one visit to country, and the next one - in a week - to take out ready dried fruits which have been prepared during the first couple of days, and the rest of time patiently waited for owners). All this is optional - you should decide what you need and what you can do without.
What should be the power of a fruit and vegetable dryer?
It all depends on your appetites and prospects. If you are planning to make modest preparations for a small family - you quite enough power 350 - 450 W, such as VITEK VT-5053 W. Power above 450W - this is already for large families and large-scale processing of crops - for example, if you have a dacha, and there is a lot.
Is it worth overpaying for a thermostat?
Actually, the function of setting the temperature at will is not a bliss. After all, different foods dry at different temperatures:
30 - 35˚C is for drying herbsherbs and flowers for tea or crafts,
50 - 60˚C is for juicy fruits and vegetables,
60 - 70˚C is for meat, fish, nuts and cereals, breadcrumbs, noodles.
And if you choose 40˚C - you can get the result not dried, but dried at all.
Thus, if you are going to dry only apples and mushrooms, you can do with cheaper drying without thermostat, but if you have plans to dry fish and everything else, you need a dryer with ability to set temperature with your own hands. Here's a great example -GORENJE FDK500GCW
What else is useful dryer?
In addition to drying fruits and meat or fish in such a dryer is easy to prepare homemade yogurt. After all, the main construction of the device is a heating element, just like in a yogurt machine. It is enough to remove the trays from the body, and instead place there portioned jars with sourdough. Some driers are equipped with special trays for making marshmallows of fruit puree with sugar, but one has to look at the description of a certain model.
This is a convection dryer, the fan is located on the back wall.
It has 8 temperature settings from 35˚C to 70˚C, a power of 600 W and a capacity of 27 L. You can load up to 15 kg of fruit or vegetables in the dryer. This is not a thing for pampering, but for the good owner of a fertile dacha.
The set includes 9 trays, the height between each of them - about 3 cm, but this is not a constant, of course - if you need, you can use the trays through one, taking out the extra - then you can put uncut mushrooms or whole apricots. There's a power-on indicator and overheat protection. There are also special functions for making marshmallows and yogurt.
Weighs just over 8 kg, the size has 45x48x38 cm, that is, a lot of space in the kitchen will not take. The manufacturer promises a warranty of 12 months.
This dryer is smaller than the previous one - designed for a lot of fruit (or vegetables, mushrooms, meat, fish, herbs - need dry emphasize) to 5 kg, the internal volume of the unit - 17.5 l, only 5 trays and power 450 W.
Well, first of all, it's a brand. And secondly, it is:
5 round large trays whose height is adjustable, the minimum distance between them is 2.8 cm,
control with push-button panel with display,
temperature control from 35˚C to 70˚C and overheat protection,
timer and auto shut-off function.
It is also transparent, so if you have nothing to do for about 10 hours you can watch the whole process of turning the fruit into food with your eyes - or at least to see at what stage of cooking they are. Under the body there are special non-slip feet. In general, there is everything you need for a small family with medium appetites. Yogurt and marshmallows are no problem to make here too.
The same transparent as the previous one - but almost a third cheaper. And 20% less powerful - designed for 4 kg of raw food. Has only 2 temperature modes - either heats at 40˚C or 70˚C, respectively, and only two types of power: 260 watts and 500 watts. The timer too has fixed modes - there are 4: 2, 5,10 and 15 hours.
As in the previous one, the warm air is supplied from the bottom, there is overheat protection, power indicator and auto shut-off. The dryer itself weighs a little more than 2 kg, the dimensions are more than modest - 30 cm in all dimensions. In general, it is cheap and cheaper, and will not take much space in the kitchen. The manufacturer promises 2 years warranty, but judging by reviews, broken trays are not considered a warranty case.
Another dryer with a reasonable price, and besides, if you're lucky, you can get under the action and get the scale as a gift. Plus, it's domestic.
5 plastic trays at a distance of 4 cm from each other. Here is the truth, to use them through one, as in previous models, to increase the height between them, you can not, as here the trays are not sliding, and just put together a pyramid to each other. You can, however, easily swap them all.
The heating air is supplied from the bottom, there are 5 temperature settings from 35 ˚C to 70 ˚C, and overheating protection is also provided. The maximum power output is 520 watts. What is surprising is that even though the dryer is made of plastic, it weighs a little over 5 kg. That is, you can't put it on a flimsy shelf anyway. The manufacturer promises noiseless and reliable operation, from the pleasant little things - extended power cord - 1.7 m - at least one extension cord in the kitchen will be less. Well, the warranty period of 1 year - perhaps, you can take it. If you, of course, believe reviews.
Barely the most affordable from our list. You can easily throw it on the cottage and not worry that in your absence it will be eaten by mice. You can take the trays out and make your own yoghurt. You can easily take it with you when you go on holiday where you plan to have an abundance of fruit and berries - it's compact and weighs only 2kg (the original pack weighs 0.5kg more).
5 trays, between which the gap of 3.5 cm, will allow to handle about 1.5 kg of fruit at a time. 7 temperature settings from 40˚C to 70˚C and a power of 250W are what we have here. The warm air is supplied from the bottom and the trays are easy to swap. Made in China, the manufacturer gives a 1 year warranty.
Large dryer of domestic production. Due to the fact that the body is made of metal, it dries faster because it heats the air temperature up to 90 ˚ C, the minimum rate - from 30 ˚ C, that is, though the breadcrumbs or dried fruits - for everything will do. The dryer has a total of 5 temperature settings. To reach the maximum temperature, you need high power - here it is up to 820 W. An additional bonus of the metal housing is that during drying (which takes more than one hour) the smell of the dried product does not spread around the apartment - in the case of, for example, with ramekin, you can agree that this is a big plus.
There is a power-on indicator on the housing, and the unit turns off automatically if overheating occurs. The drying capacity is 20 liters, with 7 trays inside and 4 cm between them.
Here, too, the fan is located at the bottom, but you can easily rearrange the trays, removing some of them and thus increasing the distance between them, if you dry large fruits entirely. But the main beauty of this model is that the trays are also made of metal. That means there is no threat of tray cracks, which is often complained about in the reviews of those who bought a dryer with plastic trays.
As everything is metal, the weight of the device is not small - when going for a parcel be prepared to drag more than 6 kg.
The device is controlled mechanically, but the manufacturer gives a 2-year warranty. In general, powerful, slightly cheaper than their foreign analogues and a reliable metal housing - these are its main features.
This is probably the most serious device of all presented in our list. The description says that it can be used as a thermopot to maintain a constant temperature (for example, for baby food) and even for heating the room - if you remove all the trays. Just like the aforementioned model of the same manufacturer - this miracle is made of metal. The trays are made of a fine grid, so even small berries can be dried on them without any problems. With 7 temperature settings and a maximum temperature of 70˚C in this dryer, in principle, you can dry absolutely everything: from fruits and vegetables and meat and fish to homemade noodles, nuts, crumbs and herbs. 7 trays, between which the height of 6 cm, allow to process up to 35 kg of products in one go - it is a serious gadget for "adult" dacha. The maximum power this dryer can swing is 825 watts. It is equipped with a timer and auto shut-off, overheat protection, a clear display and power indicator, well, just because of its power and high temperatures can dry your crop faster than another low-powered dryer. The fan is on the bottom, it is not a problem to change between trays. If to pick on, this powerful model has two disadvantages - rather high price and somewhat intimidating design (a bit like a crematorium for fruit). But if you are not picky, you will get a home-made beast machine.
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