Hamilton Beach 32100A Digital Food Dehydrator
Last updated date: September 21, 2020
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We looked at the top Food Dehydrators and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Food Dehydrator you should buy.
Update as October 14, 2020:
Checkout The Best Food Dehydrator for a detailed review of all the top food dehydrators.
In our analysis of 33 expert reviews, the Hamilton Beach 32100A Digital Food Dehydrator placed 8th when we looked at the top 9 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
From The Manufacturer
Looking for snack options that are high in nutrients but low in calories? Want to offer your family delicious food options to dress up morning oatmeal or replace that bag of potato chips at lunch? The Hamilton Beach Food Dehydrator helps accomplish these goals by taking food preparation to the next level. It opens the door to endless possibilities deemed too difficult to do in the past. With five stackable drying trays and 500 watts of power, it's easy to dry a variety of fruits and vegetables and even make beef jerky. The continuous airflow feature provides even drying, eliminating the need to rotate trays. This dehydrator includes an adjustable thermometer for better performance and a timer with automatic shutoff. A food dehydrator lets you to make healthy foods at home like crunchy green beans or dried sweet potato sticks. Have a sweet tooth? Banana chips or dried apples with cinnamon are the perfect fix. And since the fruits are not bogged down with additives or preservatives, their natural sweetness shines. The Hamilton Beach Food Dehydrator comes with two specialty sheets for added versatility. Use the mesh sheet to dry garden herbs for year-round enjoyment, or puree summer fruits and spread on the solid sheet for homemade fruit rolls. Wholesome, home-made snacks for the entire family. Now that's good thinking. Tip: Post treatment of meat after dehydrating may result in a more desirable jerky texture. Try each treatment to determine which jerky you like best.
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An Overview On Food Dehydrators
This is the age of the hyper-specific kitchen appliance. We’ve all seen those Pinterest and Instagram posts showing us some delicious-looking dish that anyone could make if only they had the right air fryer, Instant Pot or cake mold. Truth be told, most of these gadgets don’t exclusively make any certain kind of food — they just make it easier.
One big exception is the food dehydrator. Dried fruits, beef jerky and homemade yogurt are all tasty, and they’re just a few of the snacks and staples that you can only make effectively with a proper dehydrator.
That’s because of the way most foods dehydrate. You can dehydrate many foods simply by exposing them to a lot of air at low heat over a long period of time, but the key phrase here is “low heat.” Convection ovens might work by circulating air throughout the central chamber, but their lowest temperature is still too high. Temperatures over 150 F will seal moisture into your foods, which is the opposite of dehydration.
Food dehydrators do the job properly in one of two basic ways. Vertical flow dehydrators have a fan that pushes air through a heating element that’s usually at the bottom of the gadget, but sometimes at the top. It circulates through the central chamber, where there are trays of food stacked one on top of the other. This type of dehydrator tends to be a bit more affordable, and thanks to the vertical design, it’s usually more compact. That’s helpful if countertop space is at a premium. On the other hand, the heat will always be higher at the end closest to the heating unit, though a powerful fan can mitigate those hot spots a bit. But if you’re drying foods over a long period of time, you may need to shuffle trays during the process to ensure even dehydration.
Then there are box frame dehydrators, which operate with a horizontal flow. A fan at the back of the unit pushes air out through the chamber, more or less evenly. That’s much more effective for uniform heating, and it can be done with less energy overall. In return, you can expect a higher average price point for this type of dehydrator, and a somewhat bigger profile.
With most cooking devices, you might judge the effectiveness by power output, which you can find by checking the wattage. Just remember that food dehydrators work at low temperatures, so power isn’t as big of an issue as efficiency. That said, your device will still need plenty of power to keep the temperature consistent. Look for something that has at least 300-400 watts, and maybe more if it’s a larger unit.
No matter what type of dehydrator you use, there’s no getting around the fact that dehydration takes time. Exposing your food to hot air for an extended duration ensures that the only thing that leaves your fruits, veggies and meat is water — not flavor or vitamins. That means that your dehydrator will be running for hours, and that means the fan will be running for hours. If you’re spending a lot of time near the kitchen while that happens, make sure you invest in quieter model. Powerful dehydrators aren’t always the loudest, but they can be if the unit isn’t well-designed.
The Food Dehydrator Buying Guide
What can you dry in a food dehydrator? A better question is what can’t you dry. Dehydration simply removes the moisture from foods, making them much easier to preserve and, in some cases, bringing out an extra dose of flavor. Fruits and veggies are the most common. (Yes, you can make sun-dried tomatoes without drying them in the sun.) Beef or turkey jerky is also an option, and you can even dry most types of nuts for easy storage.
Expect the process to take awhile — from 6-10 hours for most vegetables, and a few hours longer for fruits. Once your food is done, be sure to store it in airtight containers like mason jars or sealed bags. You’ll keep the flavor locked in and ensure the longest possible storage time.
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