The authors of a new book, The Dehydrator Bible, recently stated to The Canadian Press that 2008 North American sales of food dehydrators increased 25% to about 3 million units sold. Food drying is one of the oldest food preservation techniques and has been practiced for centuries. However, using food dehydrators for drying, preserving and storing food is clearly becoming more popular. What are the factors behind their increasing usage and popularity?
– Dehydrator quality has improved. The heat, fan and air flow built into today's drying units make the drying process quicker and easier.
– Raw food diets have become more popular. Using a food dehydrator can be an important part of eating raw food. Raw foodists typically use dehydrators to heat various foods at temperatures below 114 to 116 degrees Fahrenheit.
– Supporting, buying from and eating locally grown food from farmers markets has increasingly become more popular. Indeed, the word locavore, defined as a person that attempts to eat only locally grown foods, was chosen by the New Oxford American dictionary as the 2007 word of the year. Using a food dehydrator can help preserve fresher, local food.
– Home gardening is on the upswing. Whether it is the visibility of the Obama's White House garden, the challenging economic times, numerous high profile food safety recalls or increased awareness of the downside of industrial agriculture, more people are planting home gardens. A recent report issued by the National Gardening Association stated 43 million US households were planning a backyard garden, or sharing in a community garden, in 2009, up about 19% from 2008. Drying home grown food for preservation, storage and later use makes great use of home garden harvests.
– Dehydrators give people control of what is added into their food. For example, store bought fruit roll ups or fruit leather and store bought beef jerky contain preservatives and extra salts and or sugar. However, food dryer users control the ingredients in home made fruit leather and jerky and can modify them according to taste and need.