When I got married I used some of our wedding money to buy a food dehydrator and extra trays. Unlike some appliances I’ve bought, I’ve never regretted getting a dehydrator. I still use mine a lot.
I originally bought my dehydrator to dry fruits but I’ve ended up using it more for vegetables and making elk and venison jerky. Using my dehydrator has been a huge asset to having a well-stocked pantry.
Numerous times, especially in the winter, I’ve used dehydrated carrots, celery, green peppers in recipes that called for them when I didn’t have fresh. When the skins on green peppers start to get wrinkly or celery and carrots start to wilt I’ll slice them, dry them, and store in an airtight container. I can dry a lot because they shrink as they dry and don’t take up a lot of storage space like cans do. My dehydrated vegetables have come in handy numerous times when I didn’t have any fresh vegetables a recipe called for. I especially use my dehydrated vegetables in soups. I also use my dehydrator to dehydrate herbs. It’s been a useful way to use my fresh garden herbs long past the season.
Dehydrating is my preferred way to make homemade jerky versus in an oven. I make several batches especially at the beginning of winter, then freeze it in individual quart-size bags to pull out as needed. Homemade dehydrated jerky is not only cheaper, it’s a very convenient and a great-tasting protein snack for giving as a homemade Christmas gift, taking in the car when someone gets hungry on road trips, packing in lunches, or just having on hand in a cupboard for a salty snack. Dehydrated jerky has been a great way for me to use up our wild game and free up my freezer.
Using a food dehydrator is easy to use, doesn’t require a lot labor, and has become a huge money and pantry space saver for me—both of which are very important in my household. Its use prevents foods from getting thrown out also. Because of it size, I give my dehydrator its own shelf in my occasionally-used appliances storage closet but its well worth storing. For anybody who’s trying to save money, avoid wasting food, lives a long way from town, doesn’t have a lot of cupboard space for canned goods, or likes the satisfaction of making/preserving their own food, a dehydrator is a worthwhile investment.