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Basil, oregano, sage, mints. These are but examples of herbs with high moisture content, which makes them prone to molding if not used quickly. A pass through a dehydrator not only makes them more durable: it also makes them tastier! Here we will be discussing some of the best options to treat your herbs, and useful pointers to choose your own.
See also: We’ve reviewed the best rice cookers out there, so you can put those new herbs to some good use!
What to Know: The Best Dehydrator for Herbs
You should plan to gather them right before the first flowers bloom; the best time of day is in the morning, as soon as the dew has evaporated. Rinse them in cool water and remove excess moisture by shaking them (but not too hard!). Remember to stay away from herbs that have been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals.
It might save you some time if you preheat your dehydrator while you prepare your herbs. Optimal temperature will range between 90 and 115°F, depending on the moisture present in the air and on the herbs themselves. If you live in an area known for its particularly humid climate, you might have to go as high as 125°F.
Any leaves that look spotted, bruised, damaged or misshapen should be put aside. You can also remove the longer stems; leaving a little length will save you time, and will help preserve the leaves from damage or bruises. You may take away the whole stem right before storing the leaves.
Your herbs should be laid out in a single layer for dehydration. Employ as many trays as necessary, and remove any that end up empty, so the air can flow through with as little impediment as possible. Be sure to check on their progress every hour; proper dehydration may take anywhere between 1 and 4 hours.
If the batch is rather wet, you might want to begin at the highest temperature and turn the thermostat down gradually; the lower the temperature, the more flavorful the leaves turn out. You will know the batch is ready when the leaves crumble, and the stems break when bent.
The Differences That Count in the Best Dehydrator for Herbs
1. Stackable: This is a great choice if you have little counter space, as their capacity grows upwards and it can go as high as 30”, depending on the model. They also tend to be the most affordable. With these perks, however, comes a drawback: as the fan and heating element are usually at the bottom, the air has to flow through the whole stack of trays, and the one at the lowest position will dry much faster than the tray situated at the top. This means that, for best results, you have to switch trays constantly, so that every part of your batch will dry up evenly.
2. Rigid Box: These are shaped like a toaster oven: square frame, trays within. They can be quite roomy, but they will also require more counter space. Their capacity cannot be expanded, unlike the stackable types, and they are, on average, more expensive.
They do, however, come with advantages: most of the models of this type have the fan and the heat source towards the back, which sends the air flowing across the trays, not from top to bottom; this favors uniform drying for your whole batch without having to constantly switch trays. Rigid box dehydrators are also more versatile: many models can, upon removing some of the trays, assist you in leavening bread, making yoghurt, or dehydrating bulkier foods.
Keep in mind, not only your available counter space, but also how much you plan to dehydrate, before making your final decision.
This will show remarkable variation between one model and another. Minimum you can expect to find is about 80°F, with the top value being 165°F. Temperature adjustment will vary as well: some units will allow for a 5-degree increment, others will go for as little as a 1-degree interval; some more will have preset settings.
A dehydrator will consume energy through its fan, and its heating element. On average, you can expect one of these appliances to rank between 300 and 1000 watts; size and quantity of fans will also vary between one model and the next. Bear in mind that a more potent dehydrator will also be noisier.
You can make life a little easier for you if you look for certain extras. For example, a unit with a timer will shut off automatically when done, so you don’t have to worry about your food shriveling up completely. A digital screen will simplify operation for you and your family, and an option with more accessories means you can work with more than just herbs should you so desire. It all comes down to what you would like, as well as your budget.
Handpicked For Your Herbs
Its dehydrating surface comes at 552 square inches. Starting at 5 included trays, you can buy additional ones separately for a maximum stack of 9. Operation is through a single dial, with which you can select any of the 4 available modes, from “Fan Only” to “High”. There is no way to tell the exact temperature, but the instruction manual includes pointers and recipes for common foods such as herbs, jerky, fruit and more. 620W power. Possibly our best dehydrator for herbs?
- Vent at the top optimizes air flow and minimizes need to swap trays.
- Operation is confusing; must rely on included recipes to accurately set temperature.
- Rather bare in terms of features.
You might as well go out for the weekend without worry, for this one’s timer can go as long as 48 hours. Operation is through 4 buttons at the top, and you can see your adjustments on the LED display. You can choose temperature between 95 and 165°F, with 1-degree increments. Should the dehydrator overheat, a protection will kick in and immediately shut the unit off. It is fairly quiet too, with noise levels at 48dB.
Capacity is 6 trays. Fruit roll sheets and mesh screen are included, as well as 50 recipes. Trays and liners are dishwasher safe.
- Easy to operate.
- Plenty of recipes included.
- Not suited for smaller kitchens due to its size.
You might find that this one is suitable for your larger batches, as it features a surface of 15 square feet and a noteworthy capacity of 9 trays.
Unit is controlled via 2 knobs. Timer can run for up to 26 hours, and thermostat can be set anywhere between 85 and 165°F. Includes a fairly extensive dehydration guide, and a flexible poly-screen tray so your food will not get stuck.
- Tray capacity is larger than the average for its category.
- Included dehydration guide is quite helpful to the initiate.
- Short on included accessories.
- Body is not very solid.
Top Choice: COSORI CP267-FD
This one is a top contender for best dehydrator for herbs: the 6-tray capacity is almost certain to handle even the biggest batches you can come up with, and operating it is easy thanks to its straightforward panel layout and LED display.
See also: If you’re using your herbs for fresh sandwiches, these pressed sandwich makers we’ve reviewed might be the next appliance you’d want to look into!
You can leave it working for just about 2 days uninterrupted should you need to, knowing that it will turn off by itself if it ever approaches potentially unsafe temperatures. Your purchase includes a mesh screen and fruit leather tray, and its 50-recipe bonus means you can get on processing more food than just herbs! It is among the quietest units out there, to boot; you won’t be losing sleep whenever you leave it working overnight.