Unless you live in an ideal climate, though, with relatively low humidity and long high-temp sunny days, efforts to dry fruits, vegetables and meats is not nearly as simple or ultimately, successful. Alternatives like oven drying can be expensive and air circulation problematic.
Which, leaves commercial dehydrators in the front running for the best over-all option if you plan to add dehydrating to your food processing plan.
Not every commercial product is created equal and in terms of dehydrators, if you expect excellent results, energy efficiency, ease of clean-up and longevity of the appliance, it pays to invest in a higher priced unit in the $200 to $500 price range. Below that price point, you are dealing with disposable dehydrators that will have quality, clean-up and performance issues. Above that range and you are either dehydrating everything food or flower you come into to contact with around-the-clock or you are tossing money toward expensive materials and unnecessary bells and whistles.
The mid-range price point unit we put to the test recently is the Sedona SD-9000 Digitally Controlled Food Dehydrator, (current ARV $379) Simple to set up, with straight-forward features, the dehydrator has enough bells and whistles to keep any dehydrating buff satisfied and enough built-in savvy to keep every newbie from making rookie mistakes.
- The Sedona SD-9000 has an overheat protection feature to keep raw food from being scorched or over-processed
- An energy efficient dual fan system allows control to heat either the top or bottom compartment or both compartments, depending upon your needs.
- Trays and mesh screens are composed of BPA-free materials, and unlike other units, there’s no black coloring used in the materials that touch your food. You can also purchase drying sheets that are PTFE and BPA free.
- The timer can be set for up to 99 hours, giving you more than ample time to dehydrate jerkies, fruit strips and other foods with high moisture levels.
- The display is digital, and has LED lights for great visual in the dark, so no more having to turn on the lights to see how long your food has left too cook.
- The door of the dehydrator is glass so you can see inside to check on your food without interrupting the process.
- If you have to open the door, the dehydrator has a pause feature that engages when you open the door, and resumes as soon as you close it again.
- Temperature readings are featured in both Fahrenheit and Celsius.
- The Sedona SD-9000 is quieter than other dehydrators we’ve encountered and has a higher efficiency. If you’re planning on dehydrating overnight, there is a night mode function that is even quieter.
- It’s easy to use and produces consistent quality results.
- Depending upon your space limitations, the Sendona SD-9000 is a bit cumbersome. Measuring 19.7″ W x 14.6″ H x 17″ D, it does take up a decent amount of counter space. However, table-top use and storage of the unit after use are viable alternatives.
- Sticky foods, such as fruit enhanced with maple syrup may require a little extra muscle power and attention for clean-up. I highly recommend purchasing a bottle brush to help clean the grooves on the dehydrating trays.
I’m really stretching a little on the “cons” for this unit, because it was certainly difficult to find any. Any perceived flaw, such as size, is really just a matter of adjusting where you place the unit or whether you choose to store the unit when not in use.
Every other drying method is a space hog, too. In reality, you gain efficiency in space with the Sedona SD-9000 stacked tray design versus having to lay out the trays for sun or attic drying or finding enough room in the oven for all your dehydration needs.
Test runs included apples, jerky, fruit leather and two recipe creations of Spiced Rum Banana Chips and Sweet Potato Chili Chips. All turned out as expected – fresh, full of flavor and to the desired consistency. The only exception were the apple chips. We prefer a very crisp apple chip and when I followed the directions in the product guide for the first run, the chips were a bit chewy. On the second run, I left them in an additional 2 hours and the problem was solved. It may also depend upon the thickness you slice the fruit, so results are always bound to vary.
Over all, the Sedona SD-9000 Digitally Controlled Food Dehydrator is a powerhouse offers a great set of features and high-performance results. A terrific investment for home or bar use.
For more information or to purchase, visit the Tribest Life product page at http://www.tribestlife.com/productcart/pc/Sedona-Rawfood-Dehydrator-p708.htm