Recently browsing a certain online website I've discovered the cost of food dehydrators has fallen considerably since they first came to market. Realising that I may incur the wrath of my other half if I purchase yet another "White elephant" kitchen appliance, what are they most useful for in the domestic kitchen? It is clear that they can be used to produce dried fruit, which is then eaten all by itself. Are there any uses beyond that, which may make them more versatile?
1They're great for restoring 1980's Ampex 456 magnetic recording tape. I charge £70 a reel for "tape baking" & can get 4 reels at once in my dehydrator ;) [sorry, joke answer, but true scenario, you can google it.]– TetsujinMar 19 at 8:14
Some air fryers say that they can also work as food dehydrators. I don’t know if you need to get alternate trays or such to use them that way … you might want to check reviews to see how well they can do it, as that might be an alternative to not have an appliance that can only do one thing– JoeMar 20 at 12:43
I've got one, and I don't use it much.
Dehydrating food is worth it if you have a surplus of suitable homegrown or cheap local produce, or if you particularly want dehydrated food for some reason (portable snack probably). If your oven goes cool enough you can dehydrate in that, except the fumes from dehydrating chillies make it worthwhile to do that outside.
Dehydrators are rather bulky, so mine ends up stored in the attic, which is partly why I don't use it often.
slow, mostly unsupervised liquid reduction with no risk of burning and a big loss of aromas
Long term storage is one reason to dehydrate. There are others…jerky…fruit leather, dried fruit and tomatoes…all not necessarily long term situations. There are other creative culinary applications…dehydrated olives…working with methocel, for example. Is it worthwhile? Only you can answer the question. I use mine 6-8 times a year. Have had it for many years. Just another tool in the toolbox.
We now have the Airfryer/toaster oven/dehydrator. The dehydrator function is used most often to get the zucchini slices dry enough to make keto lasagna that wont be soupy without having to salt it and deal with the mess and extra work that involves. We Have also made some really delicious beef jerky. Sadly it was too tasty and disappeared very quickly. For Christmas I dried a large amount of Thyme, Sage and Rosemary that was then blended to a nice powder and mixed with 5lbs of salt for a lovely herb salt. It is perfect with Chicken soup. We are needing to do this again as it went over so well.
We are loving the Airfryer/toaster/dehydrator and use it daily. ours sits on top of the microwave so it doesn't use anymore counter space. I was successful in talking my boss(Nanny/Cook) into getting one of these instead of a regular air fryer and he has been very happy. I hope any of this is helpful.