Always on the lookout for new kitchen appliances, I was keen to try out the BioChef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator. Over the past couple of months I have been experimenting with it, making snacks, yoghurt, crackers etc.. as well as rising the odd pizza dough.
Why use a food dehydrator?
Dehydrating is not only one of the oldest methods for preserving food but also a fantastic way to prepare healthy snacks and treats that retain vitamins and minerals.
Food dehydrators such as the BioChef Arizona Sol use low temperature and ventilation to absorb the moisture of fruit, vegetables, meat or fish. Instead of baking, you can also dehydrate cookies, bars and cereal snacks. Drying food will help prevent the growth of microorganisms, which means that dehydrated food will keep fresher for longer.
Most snacks available in shops are loaded with fats, sugars, salt and preservatives. Preparing them at home is the best way to ensure your family enjoys nutritious, unadultered food.
The BioChef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator
The BioChef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator is available in two sizes: 6 Trays or 9 Trays. Both feature a digital timer, adjustable thermostat, removable trays, non-harmful materials (stainless steel and BPA free) and a horizontal drying system. They also include non-stick sheets, fine mesh sheets and a drip tray. The digital timer can be programmed for 19.5 hours and the heat ranges from 35º to 70ºC.
Compare to an conventional oven, the BioChef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator uses only 600-700w per hour. Using it at night, also saves on the cost of the electricity.
One of the most important features of a food dehydrator is its airflow as you want the food to dry evenly. The BioChef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator has a horizontal airflow which ensures even heat distribution so that each tray (front and back) is dried equally.
Choosing a food dehydrator, you will first have to decide on your needs (do you intend to dry fruits, vegetables, fish, meat etc..?) and how large you want it to be. Food dehydrators are not small appliances so you do need to think where you will store it. If you use it quite often, it could quite happily sit on your counter top.
I have the 9-tray BioChef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator which is quite sizeable (L 45 cm x W 34.5 cm x H 41.5 cm). Having a bigger appliance fits my needs as I prefer making big batches at once. The rest of the time, the dehydrator stays on top of my freezer in the utility room as none of my kitchen cabinets was tall enough for it. We also have some fruit trees in the garden so having a larger capacity is handy come harvest time!
The BioChef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator is really straightforward to use. Once you have laid the food on trays, you only have to program the time and temperature. It comes with a handy instruction guide that explains how to prepare a wide range of food as well as which temperatures and times to program. Dehydrating takes time so I found it easier to do it overnight.
I quickly realised that to use my dehydrator more efficiently, I could combine food that required the same temperature. By keeping an eye on timing, I could retrieve dried food as needed, leaving other produce that might require more time. This is where the BioChef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator’s vertical shelving design is really practical as it makes it possible to check easily and frequently on the progress of the dried foods.
Like many mothers, I am always on the lookout for healthy snacks for the kids. At first sight, the bags of dried fruits I was buying from the supermarket look healthy enough, but after dehydrating some fresh fruits at home I realised a big difference in sugary taste. I was quite annoyed at myself when I realised that the “healthy” snack from the shop contained not just fruits but fruits with added sugar, preservatives and also rice flour. So I decided to make my own version of tropical mix using fresh pineapple, banana, papaya and kiwis with raisins and coconut shavings. No added gunk, simple natural goodness. So glad to see those little hands reaching out for the jar. Also works as a healthy treat for lunch boxes. You will find the full recipe here .
For a simple nibble idea, I dehydrated kale, sweet potato, beetroot, green beans and pepper. Served with homemade pesto, this made a nutritious TV snack as well as appetiser.
The constant low temperature of the BioChef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator makes it ideal for fermented food. Following Vitality 4 Life recipe, I made some delicious homemade organic yoghurt using simply organic milk and 2 Tablespoons of organic yoghurt. I was chuffed by the results as it was really thick and creamy.
As an additional benefit, my dehydrator proved invaluable for bread making as an even temperature is key to fermentation for proper dough rising and proving.
Another healthy snack that we all enjoy is fruit leather. Bought in shops, it tends to be expensive and creates packaging waste. With a dehydrator though, fruit leather is super easy to make and you can also be really creative with the fruit combinations you use. My kids love mango, so I made a very simple mango fruit leather using mango and a bit of lemon juice. Not a trace of added sugar and they absolutely loved it. I included a few mango fruit leather rolls (alongside a couple of homemade apple chips) in my daughter’s lunchbox and she was super excited to share them with her friends. Thumbs up all around! You can find my recipe for Mango Fruit Leather here.
Easy to use and with excellent performance, the BioChef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator is a really good investment whether you are looking to make healthy snacks or preserve homegrown produce.
For further details please visit Vitality 4 Life website where you can take advantage of the current promotion on the BioChef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator.
Disclosure: I was given a BioChef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator for this review. This is an affiliate post, which means that I will receive a commission on purchase you make from Vitality 4 Life. All thoughts and opinions remain my own.