Dehydrator vs Sun Drying

One of the oldest techniques for preserving food is drying them. The process of drying decreases the moisture content of the food so that it becomes lightweight and easy to store for a long time without refrigeration.

Earlier people used to dry their food with the help of the natural sources like the sun but nowadays with the invention of the innovative technologies like dehydrators, the method of food preservation has revolutionized. With the help of the food dehydrators, you can make ample of dried foods like fruit chips, fruit leathers, dried jerky, etc.

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Sun drying and drying with dehydrators are two different modes that used for drying the food. But what is the difference between dehydrator and sun drying?

In the below article, we will make a discussion over the dehydrator vs. sun drying and let you decide that which mode of drying food is beneficial and better for you.

What is Dehydrator and How it Benefits in Drying the Food?

The dehydrator comes with the thermostatically organized heating system along with a fan that let your dehydrate your food quickly in few hours. The nutrients and flavor of the food dried in the dehydrator also remain intact. It disperses the heat and air evenly over all the trays of the unit so that the entire food dried from all sides.

Dehydrator drying

You also get a timer and temperature setting features in it through which you can control and govern the entire drying process efficiently. The dehydrator lets you dry your food indoor in a stress-free manner. In comparison to the conventional sun drying, you do not have to wait for few days in this method for the complete drying process. The size of this appliance is also expandable.

Essential Features of a Dehydrator for Drying

While buying a dehydrator, there are few essential features which you must look for:

  • The dual construction of the wall made of high-grade plastic or metal along with the adjustable thermostat and heating elements
  • A dial for setting a timer and regulating the temperature to avoid the over-drying of the food
  • A user-friendly machine with the countertop design
  • The fan for ensuring the right and even circulation of air
  • Lightweight mesh trays

Pros and Cons of Dehydrator Drying

Pros

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    It can function in all weather conditions
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    You can use it at any time of the day
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    It dries out the food in few hours with the powerful drying technique
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    You have control over the temperature and time while drying the food in the dehydrator
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    You can dry all types of foods in it like meat, fruits, veggies, spices, etc.
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    You do not have to turn the food while drying as the dehydrator dries out the food uniformly from all sides.
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    You can set the timer and leave the machine for drying without any worry.

Cons

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    It is an expensive mode of drying food
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    It uses the fossil fuel energy for functioning
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    The accessories and parts of the dehydrator are costly to buy

You can see the below video links for more precision about the dehydrator drying:

What is Sun Drying and How it Benefits in Drying the Food?

One of the economic and safe methods for preserving food is sun drying, specifically fruits. The foods like vegetables and meats can’t be dehydrated outdoors due to the low acid and sugar content in them.

Sun drying

Image Credit: preparedness advice

The fruits possess the high level of acid and sugar content that let them dry quickly and safely under the sun. For drying meats or veggies, the indoor drying methods like using the dehydrator is the best possible option as you can control the humidity and temperature in it.

For the sun drying, you need to have a constant and warm breeze and temperature. At least the temperature of around 85 degrees F is required. When the temperature is high, it will extract the moisture from the fruits whereas the breeze will benefit in dispelling the nearby air. During the sun drying, it is essential to have a low level of humidity, for example, 60% humidity is perfect

It is true that sun drying is a time consuming and slow process in which it is not possible to control the unpredictable weather. Such condition also makes the sun drying a risky option. Sometimes you cannot achieve the right air flow, humidity, and temperature for drying under the sun.

The fruits that are drying under the sun also need protection from the cold air of the night which can increase the moisture again in the fruit. Thus, it is essential to keep the fruits under the shelter for the protection against the night dewdrops.

What do you need for the sun drying?

You need screens and racks for sun drying that will place over the concrete surface or blocks. You should arrange the food in such a way that adequate air can pass between the foods. For avoiding the transfer of earth’s moisture, put the screens or racks over the aluminum sheet or concrete surface. It will aid in increasing the temperature as well.

The racks or screens must make from a high-quality material like Teflon, plastic or stainless steel. The screens made from aluminum, copper or zinc should avoid as these metals can get oxidize and leave the residue over the food for spoilage.

It is also essential to protect the food from the insects and birds while the sun was drying. Thus, for this, you need a cheesecloth covering or one more screen.

Pros and Cons of Sun Drying

Pros

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    You can safely dry fruits under the sun as they possess high sugar and acid content
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    It is a cheap method of drying food in which natural source used
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    It does not use the fossil fuel energy
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    It can work in specific weather condition with the right breeze, humidity, and temperature

Cons

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    You cannot dry vegetables under the sun as they require constant airflow and temperature.
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    You have to cover the food in this method for protecting against the pests or insects
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    It requires several days for drying
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    You can do the sun drying only in daylight
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    You have to turn the food after some time for uniform drying
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    You have to keep an eye on the sun drying process

You can check out the below video links for more clarity about the sun drying:

What are the Dissimilarities Between the Dehydrator And Sun Drying?

Both methods used for healthily drying food. But still there are some distinctions between the dehydrator and sun drying:

  • While drying through the dehydrator, you have complete control over the process of temperature, but in sun drying you cannot control the weather at all.
  • In a dehydrator, your food is safe from dirt and rain, whereas in sun drying you have to make some efforts for doing so.
  • Dehydrator needs electricity for running whereas in sun drying you need the natural source sun only.
  • Sun drying is a cheaper method in comparison to the dehydrator drying process.
  • Sun drying takes more time (several days) than drying in the dehydrator (few hours).
  • You can only dry fruits correctly in the sun whereas, in the dehydrator, you can dehydrate meat, fruits, veggies, and many more.
  • You have to turn the fruits under the sun for uniform drying whereas in a dehydrator you do not have to do the turning as it uniformly dehydrates the food from all sides.
  • Sun drying is done only in daytime whereas the dehydrator drying can do at any time of the day.

Conclusion

So, you must be thinking that which of the above methods you should pick for drying your food, i.e., dehydrator vs. sun drying.


According to our experience and research, if you are keen to save energy and have low budget then going for the sun drying is a good option. However, if you want a convenient and speedy method of drying or if you are living in a place which deprived of sunlight for most of the days then, drying with the dehydrator is the right thing to do.


Whatever method you pick for drying, the standard and ultimate benefits which you will fetch from them is the healthy way of preserving food for the longest time.


Have you ever tried any of the above methods for drying food? Yes? Then, please share your experiences with us here! We will glad to hear from you!

Linda
 

Hi there, I’m Linda, chief editor at Dehydrator Blog. We believe in Health is wealth. After struggling to buy healthy organic food for my family, I decided that’s not the right way to do. Still today many of them not aware of food dehydrators and uses of dehydrated food. That’s why my team and I want to solve this problem. That’s how Dehydrator Blog was born.. Our mission is simple. Trying to spread awareness of dehydrator to all. Join our hands if you believe in our mission.

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