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The 6 Things You Need to Preserve the Summer’s Bounty

  • July 14, 2020

If you want to make fruit leathers, dry berries to plop in your morning cereal, or ensure that the herbs from your garden don’t go to waste, you’ll want a dehydrator. Although you can use your oven in a pinch, it can be hard to keep it at the sub-200-degree Fahrenheit temperatures necessary for drying. A dehydrator, which pushes hot air at a controlled temperature through several trays of food, is more efficient and consistent.

Keep in mind that although the actual dehydrating process is mostly hands-off, preparing food for drying can be hard work, since you’ll need to clean, peel and slice a mountain of produce to get a decent yield. Dehydrators are also bulky, so they’re not ideal for small kitchens.

However, avid gardeners, hunters or anyone who regularly buys fresh produce in bulk at farm stands will benefit from the Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster Dehydrator (about $110), which holds eight trays of food. In our tests it dried everything evenly without needing to be monitored or rearranged to achieve even drying.

We also recommend the Samson Silent 6-Tray Dehydrator (about $115), which automatically shuts off and can accommodate larger items like flowers. However, this model requires you to shuffle the trays midway through drying.

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