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Fresh fruit is good. Dried fruit is, in certain ways, even better! Beyond the usual snacks and toppings for your cereal, putting your fruit through a dehydrator puts a colorful assortment of drinks and desserts right around the corner. Sounds tempting? Then let’s get to it! Find the best dehydrator for fruit with detailed reviews and advice below!
Curious about the perks of dehydrating fruit? Here are a few of the best dehydrators for fruit:
1. Less volume, more shelf life
Dehydrated fruit is much less bulky, and lasts for months. Never again shall any of your seasonal fruit go to waste, and it won’t occupy a lot of your storage space.
2. More nutrients
Removing moisture not only reduces your fruit’s volume; it also concentrates its nutrients! Dried apricots, for example, are known to double their iron contents; prunes are famous for their fiber levels, and they are also great as a source of antioxidants.
3. Eat fruit, and nothing else
Putting yourself in charge of your dried fruit supply takes away the one thing that reduces nutritional value: additives! Commercially made fruit can potentially have sugar, sulfites and other components to make them more attractive or palatable, which may cause allergic reactions and other adverse effects. These artificial elements will never touch your homemade fruit… unless you want to!
Tasty Uses For Dry Fruit
Dessert. Ever heard of Southern fried pies? They are made with the same type of dough as a regular pie, personal-serving sized, and put through hot oil to get a crispy crust. There’s also dried apricot pie, a fairly old-fashioned recipe, and triple cherry pie.
It’s not all about pies, either: candied fruit cookies and date-nut pinwheels are prized treats, especially around the holidays. And who would say no to some dried fruit pudding?
Savory. It doesn’t cross our minds often, if at all, but it is definitely possible to make savory dishes using dried fruit. Beef, pork and chicken are common co-protagonists, particularly in (but not limited to) North African cuisine.
Apple beef stew, chicken salad, figs & tenderloin: a vast wealth of recipes is out there, waiting to be discovered.
Compote. Making compote involves immersing the dried fruit into a specially prepared liquid, options including (but not limited to) some apple cider or even just water with some honey; you can add spices to your liking, too. After brought to a boil, the mix is left simmering until the fruit is supple. It’s great for spreading over bread, as a side to ice cream, or even with yogurt.
Breads. Bacon date bread? Check. Irish soda bread? Check. Caramelized onion & date flatbread? Very much check! And these are just a few examples, there’s plenty more out there.
Fruit leather. It may look like leather, but it is much softer (and tastier)! A fun, nutritious snack which your kids will surely love. Aside from your dehydrator, all you need is some parchment paper and a fruit roll sheet, which many dehydrators include on purchase.
Know Your Dehydrator
This sort of appliance is available in two versions, separated chiefly by the orientation of the airflow:
Stackable: So named because the trays are stacked one on top of the other, with the fan located at the bottom (or the top, in some models). Airflow is, thus, vertical, which often requires swapping trays since the ones closer to the fan get better exposure to the hot air than the ones located farther away. Nowadays, several models are designed to avoid this additional task.
Box: Also known as ‘shelf’ dehydrators, they are quite similar to a toaster oven in look and layout. The fan is situated towards the back, which pushes the air horizontally across all trays. These ones will never require swapping trays, as the air is distributed equally to all of them.
What Matters At Choosing Time
How much fruit you intend to dehydrate is one factor; your counter space is the other. Stackable dehydrators have the smallest footprint, and their capacity can usually be expanded by purchasing more trays separately; however, even with this perk they will fall short compared to shelf dehydrators, which will usually be quite roomy even if their capacity comes ‘as is’.
Two are the features many customers regret not going for: temperature gauge (the more precise, the better), and timer with automatic shutoff. Beyond these two, you may find perks such as overheat protection, on/off switch, digital screens and more.
A dehydrator can work with more than just fruit, and some units will come packaged to help you branch out. Some items you may find included with your purchase are jerky guns and spices, fine mesh sheets and (important if you want to make fruit leather) fruit roll sheets.
Features, accessories and size will impact the final price to some degree. However, if your budget is limited, you might want to lean towards a stackable dehydrator, as they are usually the most affordable.
They vary by type, by price, by value and features. Each stands to bring something worthy to your kitchen.
This one’s for the fans of going big: a total of 9 trays are housed within, each measuring a respectable 15 x 15 inches. Temperature can be set anywhere between 85 and 165°F, in 10-degree increments; a color-coded guide located to the side helps determine the right temperature for various foods, with more details given in the manual. Timer can go for up to 26 hours. The fan is 7” in diameter, and it is located towards the back. This, coupled with its 600W of potency, helps ensure thorough dehydration.
- Performance widely praised.
- Ample capacity.
- Screen can easily be leaned against the fan, which will increase noise.
- Among the most expensive out there.
It may be the stackable type, but it does seek to spare you from swapping trays: its proprietary system Converga-Flow does not push the air through the trays, but through an exterior pressurized chamber, which then sends the air horizontally across each tray, gathering it on the core. Judging by the amount of positive reviews, the system works.
Temperature is controlled through a dial located at the top; maximum value is 160°F, minimum is 95, and the levels are indicated in both Celsius and Fahrenheit scales. The exterior is opaque; this is intended to limit your food’s exposure to light, to help preserve its nutrients. 5 trays are included, and capacity can be expanded to a maximum of 12. Trays are dishwasher safe, although they must be removed before the drying cycle.
- Capacity can be doubled.
- Dishwasher safe at least to some degree.
- No timer function.
It may be small, but it’s packed with value: operation is through a panel with a digital screen to display all relevant information, and the timer can go for up to a full 48 hours before the unit shuts off on its own. Not only that, but the unit remembers the last settings you used, which might save you some time when you’re working with batch after batch of the same edible.
Temperature can go between 95 and 165°F. 5 trays are included, with no option offered to purchase more.
- One of the quietest available.
- Easy to operate.
- Good value for the price.
- Capacity cannot be increased.
Ease of use is important, and this unit takes it one step further: aside from the buttons required for temperature and timer adjustment, there is an extra one with two preset modes to fast track your setup. Temperature can be set between 95 and 165°F, which covers most conventional edibles.
7 trays, 12 x 13” in size, are housed in this unit. 2 fine mesh sheets, 2 leather trays and a set of oven mitts are also included. Trays and sheets are dishwasher safe.
- Easy to clean.
- Additional option to make operation simpler.
- Door has been known to come loose.
Although reported impressions point to it being quite reliable in performance and durability, you may find it falls a bit short on several other areas: minimum temperature available is the standard 95°F, but the maximum is only 155; this is quite sufficient for fruit, but it may not be enough for safely making other things like jerky.
Capacity is not among the highest, either: 6 trays are available, 13 x 12” in size. Timer is not available, but there is a dedicated button to turn the unit on and off. No accessories are included.
- Fairly long lasting.
- Somewhat limited in capacity and functionality.
Dries To Impress: COSORI CO165-FD
The Cosori comes in as our best dehydrator for fruit. It’s compact, it’s affordable, it’s reliable and even fancy: one of the few stackables to feature a digital panel, its temperature can be set down to to 1-degree increments, which is also fairly uncommon. Timer won’t be adjusted to the minute, but half hour segments are still respectable, especially considering the maximum is a full 48 hours.
The one drawback is its capacity: it goes only to 5 trays, and no option for purchasing extras is available. This means you might have more batches to dry, but this will only be a problem with larger loads of fruit; for the regular household, it should be just fine, and you may find that it makes up for it with its many features and perks it offers.