Using a food dehydrator for making jerky – or drying other foods, i.e., fruits, veggies, is great since you know your foods are organic, free from additives and preservatives. But did you know that depending on the dehydrator you use, the flow of air may be either vertical or horizontal? and that this air flow may determine how the food being dehydrated processes?
While we’ve looked at dehydrators before, we’re going to take a quick look at what to consider with particular attention to air flow.
For dehydrators using a vertical flow of air (coming up from the bottom), the lower trays/racks will dehydrate more rapidly than food on upper trays/racks nearer the top. This may be an advantage if you limit your trays to 4 or under or if you are in a hurry. However, if you are using multiple trays/racks (more than 4), the food products placed on the upper trays may not be fully processed. Attention to processing should be maintained so that the foods on the bottom do not over-dehydrate to compensate for the items on the top finishing their cycle.
For dehydrators using horizontal air flow, you can expect items to process uniformly. The only disadvantage, if you can call it that, is that it may take longer for the dehydrating process.
There is a wide variety of dehydrators on the market in both categories, however, if you are on a budget, you may be willing to forgo some features, i.e., thermostat, timer, etc. to save a few dollars.
In addition to air flow and cost, other considerations when purchasing a dehydrator might be:
- Overall shape of the dehydrator – round or square
- Temperature range
- Maximum number of trays it can hold
To see some of the most popular dehydrators available on Amazon in a budget-friendly price range, visit this link.