Food dehydrating is a popular way of preserving food such as fruit, vegetables, and meat that has been used for generations. Compact food dehydrators are now available to help you dehydrate your foods from the comfort of your own home with no effort.
But, can you dehydrate in an air fryer? Yes, some air fryers can also function as dehydrators. They have this setting pre-programmed, while others allow you to adjust the heat setting so that the food does not overcook.
In this post, we’ll go over what to look for in your air fryer to see if it’s suitable for dehydrating foods, as well as which air fryer is wise to purchase with dehydration in mind.
How Does An Air Fryer Work?
Air fryers, like convection ovens, circulate hot air over the food. A heating source inside the air fryer pushes hot air around the food in circular motions via a fan.
It causes a chemical process known as the Maillard reaction, which occurs in heat between an amino acid and reducing sugar. It causes changes in the color and flavor of foods.
Most air fryers have removable baskets with small holes around the edges that allow hot air to reach the food inside. Air fryer baskets fit snugly against the sides of the appliance, allowing for the minimal heat loss while cooking.
How Does A Food Dehydrator Work?
A food dehydrator eliminates the moisture content of whatever is within. It is mainly composed of trays, heating elements, vents, and a circulation fan. The heating element of the dehydrator raises the temperature inside the machine. The fan evenly circulates the heat and removes moisture. The trays hold the food to be dehydrated. The gentle flow of hot air reduces the water present in fruits, vegetables, and other foods. Once all of the water has been removed from the foods, they will not spoil as quickly.
When you use a dehydrator, you are in control because you know exactly what ingredients are in your food and what you are putting into your body. Dehydrating turns even the most basic foods, such as bananas or sweet potatoes, into a nutritious and tasty snack.
What Is the Difference Between An Air Fryer and A Food Dehydrator?
Both air fryers and dehydrators circulate air for even heat distribution, but there are significant differences between them.
An air fryer cooks food, whereas a food dehydrator takes several hours to completely dehydrate food. An air fryer has a fan that circulates hot air to cook food evenly. In contrast, a food dehydrator has a fan that circulates colder air.
An air fryer cooks food at a high temperature, allowing it to be brown and crisp quickly. A dehydrator prevents color change and operates at a considerably lower temperature, typically 40 – 42°C. It will enable the food to dry while remaining uncooked.
Food cooked in an air fryer tastes exactly like food cooked in another traditional method such as deep-frying or baking. However, when using a dehydrator, the flavor and taste change significantly.
A food dehydrator is a powerful tool for storing excess food. Surplus food will be stored if you are attempting to reduce waste. Leftover food from the air fryer can be stored in the refrigerator just like any other cooking method.
What Are The Benefits Of Dehydrating Food?
The majority of vegetables, fruits, and steak meat are perishable items. Dehydrating food retains more nutrients than other cooking methods. When you dehydrate food, you apply a flow of heated air to dry it out in this manner.
By removing the water content from the food, you are inhibiting the growth of bacteria and so improving the shelf life of that meal. The water in food is usually what harbors harmful bacteria. Dehydrating food is a standard option for those following a raw food diet. They continue to eat raw food, but they can store it for much longer after dehydrating it.
Dehydrating food ensures that the enzymes remain intact. When they are wet, they are more vulnerable to damage.
Weight is another factor to consider when dehydrating food. By removing water from food, you are also reducing its weight, and it is much easier to store and preserve food.
Can You Dehydrate Food In An Air Fryer?
Calorie conscious people that already own an air fryer must wonder at times, can you use an air fryer to dehydrate? In an air fryer, food can be easily dehydrated. Dehydrating settings are available on modern air fryers. The best part is that they are less expensive than traditional dehydrators.
The hot air circulation within the air fryer helps remove moisture from the food, which distinguishes it from a standard food dehydrator.
Choose an air fryer based on your requirements and preferences. It not only makes the food last longer, but it is also ideal for those who require oil-free foods. It helps people in living a healthy lifestyle by influencing what they eat daily.
How to Use An Air Fryer As A Dehydrator?
You can save a lot of money by using an air fryer as a dehydrator. You can perform two things with one gadget. However, there are a few things to consider first.
You can use the air fryer food chart to determine what temperature and time to dehydrate food in an air fryer. Here’s how to dehydrate fruit in an air fryer –
- Check if the appliance has a timer as well as temperature control settings. Food, vegetables, and fruits can be dehydrated to temperatures as low as 200 degrees. It may still be possible with slightly higher temps, but you risk burning the dehydrating food if you forget about it.
- As already noted, most preservation dehydrating processes rarely reach temperatures above 112 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, suppose you’re a dehydrating purist who wants to maintain the enzymes in your food. In that case, you’ll need a low-temperature setting.
- Next, you will need to slice the prepared food into thin pieces to dehydrate easily when placed inside the air fryer. You can also apply the spice directly to the fruits and veggies without adding any oil or anything else, which we do to dry more quickly.
- Aside from that, the air fryer should have a vent to allow moisture from the food to escape and be replaced by dry and warm air. Many air fryers have an air vent that is typically used to vent any smoke from the air fryer. Check the model of your air fryer; it should already have a built-in vent. It would be ideal for dehydrating food.
- Sometimes when your air fryer is too small to allow for adequate drying space inside, using it for dehydrating is probably not worth it. The most crucial issue here would be the cost of electricity.
- So, I would recommend purchasing a pair of wire racks that will fit into your air fryer. Anything with at least two levels to dry on and a reasonable amount of space in between would be enough. The sufficient space inside the air fryer basket helps in the proper circulation of hot air.
- Once all foods have been dehydrated, they must be stored in a cool, dry place. The storage environment should be at room temperature.
If you enjoy both air frying and food dehydrating, the fact that you can use an air fryer for both is fantastic news. This versatile kitchen appliance will conserve countertop space and cut the expense of purchasing a different kitchen gear.
Just make sure to pick your air fryer wisely based on the criteria outlined in this article. Also, make sure you’ve confirmed with the air fryer’s manufacturer that the heating element can withstand the abuse that comes with the long drying or “cooking” times associated with dehydrating.