Food Dehydrator in India: Must Read Before You Buy
Food dehydrators are gaining in popularity, but what must you consider before buying a dehydrator in India? As people become aware of the chemicals added to fruit snacks and dehydrated snack options from sliced apples to bananas and apricots are becoming increasingly popular for people across the world such as America and Australia. Several brands of dehydrators are made in the US. These include Nesco, Excalibur, L'Equip and many more. All these dehydrators come with their own benefits and drawbacks.
But despite the food dehydrator gaining ground in the US, it remains unknown as a method of food preservation in India. If you are seeking to purchase a quality food dehydrator in India, here are the considerations you should take into account.
Food dehydrators are made with US parts since 1970s for most brands such as Excalibur. For someone in India, these food dehydrators can be expensive and complicated to purchase. How do you go about purchasing the best dehydrator in India? Read these important points and learn more about the troubleshooting and main reasons why dehydrators are not capturing Indian markets.
Food Dehydrators: an American Innovation
Food dehydrators gained ground in America for a vast number of reasons. There are so many US brands out there. But why has the food dehydrator achieved popularity in American households? To understand this, we must comprehend what the basis of the history behind the food dehydrator was.
The food dehydrator was created to counter the problems faced by soldiers during the American civil war in the US in 1940s. Soldiers in the frontline needed dried milk, soup, vegetables etc. While the tradition of making preserves and dehydrating food made its way to American households gradually, now most use dehydrators for a vast number of reasons discussed below.
- Food Is Long Lasting
Food dehydrators are simple in design and versatile in application. From creating jerky to garnish, the benefit of using a dehydrator is varied. It can extend the shelf life of food. The obvious benefit is due to the removal of moisture discouraging removal of bacteria and mold.
- Provides a Healthy Choice
Dehydrated food is healthy. Fruit retains its natural fiber, for example. Each food retains its color, aroma and taste without sugar, salt and preservatives.
This is the reason why the dehydrator has attained value with a health conscious audience. For example, dehydrated fruit can be used to create healthy snacks like pureed fruit rolls and raw granola bars.
- Expands the Menu
If you are building on original recipes or expanding your menu to include dried items, the dehydrator works really well. Dried food, across the American hinterland, be stored for up to a year, if in stable temperature. Added benefit of cutting down on unnecessary wastage is also an added advantage.
- Offering Variety of Options
In the American states, a dehydrator is used for not just drying food alone. Recipes are expanding and new and interesting applications for this machine include gardening and crafting. Herbs, spices and flowers can be dehydrated too.
- Minimum Preparation, Maximum Returns
Heated air circulation offers the perfect way to dry food fast (in some American food dehydrator models, food can be prepared in just a few hours).
Machines operate at minimal running costs. So economy is another reason why this American invention has taken off, in the US. Food needs to be dehydrated 95% to prevent spoiling. Only a food dehydrator offers easy processes and maximum returns.
- Rehydrating Easy
Foods that are dehydrated can be easily rehydrated to produce unique items for cooking. Rehydrated food can be applied to cooking, such as purees, pizza sauces, scone-fruits etc.
- Food Tastes Great
Food dehydrator can be used to remove the moisture and create delicious, rich and natural foods. Quality and freshness of the product being used influences the nutritional value as well.
- Reduced Food Wastage, Extended Shelf Life
Americans prefer the dehydrator as leftover fruits and vegetables have extended shelf life for up to 2 years. Keeping the pantry stocked all year round is easy due to the use of the food dehydrator.
Users can manage a large herb or vegetable garden without food going to waste. Vegetables that work well in a dehydrator include turnips, beetroot, kale, sweet potatoes and green beans.
Buying in bulk saves money that would otherwise go to waste. Saving foods that would otherwise spoil and turning them into delicious treats and snacks is vastly beneficial.
- Creating Healthy, 100% Natural Foods
Dehydrating food needs only one ingredient namely the item being dried. This process is 100% natural and you can benefit from mineral or fiber of the whole fruit.
Unlike cooking and steaming, nutritional content of food being dehydrated is not lost.
Transforming simple fruits and vegetables into treats and snacks can work out well. Processed foods contain sugar, trans fat and sulfur dioxide adversely impacting the family. For example, sulfur dioxide is used to prevent discoloration. There is awareness about how harmful these products can be. They can lead to problems like GI tract issues, skin rashes and asthma.
Own dried fruits and foods come at no such cost. In the absence of additives and preservatives, they offer a lot of value.
- Dried Foods Store Easily
Dried foods take 1/6th of their original storage space. They do not require electrical drains of a freezer or refrigerator.
The food needs to be packed in clean dry, insect proof containers or jars or vacuum seal bags for the perfect snack, which can be easily accessed at a later date.
Camping and trekking are popular American pursuits and dehydrators are very handy for this reason.
Lightweight, compact and easy to carry, dehydrators are suited to the American lifestyle and way of living, which involves frequently traveling and constant mobility.
Higher electricity costs are eliminated. A food dehydrator offers a lot of advantages compared to ovens and microwaves, which are less energy efficient. For example, the food dehydrator offers adjustable thermostat at ranges that are far lower than average household ovens.
It is perfect for drying food below 46 degree C which is the threshold temperature when nutrients and enzymes are considered maintained.
Main Hurdles in Buying a Food Dehydrator in India
In India, commercial dehydrators for industrial use are readily available. But food dehydrators are not used on a daily basis. Most Indian households have ovens and microwaves, few have dehydrators. What are the main hurdles in purchasing the dehydrator in India? See below to know more.
The first problem with dehydrators available in India is the limitation of brands. Leading brands are either not available or being sold at expensive rates because of shipping and other duties.
Another problem is the limitation in brand causes certain models to be available with no BPA-free trays. BPA causes hormonal imbalances in the body and is linked to health diseases and problems. Heart and kidney problems, neurological disorders, asthma, PCOS and diabetes are just diseases that a BPA model can lead to.
Another problem that comes into play is the difference in voltages. When you leave a country, you don't just have to consider the difference in currency and language, culture and systems.
If you are using an American dehydrator or a foreign model, the biggest problem is the different plug shapes and electricity voltages. If you don't research the appliance or dehydrator ahead of time, you may damage the electrical device or be unable to use it.
The most obvious problem is the different electrical socket shape. An appropriate plug shape offers value or one cannot plug the dehydrator into the power outlet. Even North American, EU, UK and Australia use different plug shapes. Buying a foreign make brand can have a serious challenge for Indians.
Voltages also need to be taken into account. If the adapter is used to plug the dehydrator into an Indian socket, it can become damaged if the device does not support the voltage. Different countries use different frequencies and voltages of electricity. North American power outlets provide 120v at 60 hertz. In EU, the power outlet is 230v at 50 Hz. In India too, the voltages vary between 220 to 240 volts.
If the dehydrator is not rated to work with voltage in India, a voltage converter is needed to plug into the foreign outlet and convert electricity to a different voltage. Multiple outlet surge protectors with built-in voltage or single outlet converters need to be used.
Another big issue is the foreign make. So, maintenance and replacement become very tough to carry out. This is why the dehydrator purchase poses a major challenge for Indians. As the manufacturer is foreign and the seller is from a different country, the responsibility for the purchase is not there. Moreover, users cannot contact manufacturers directly. Maintenance, serving, repair and replacement are also issues because of lack of service centers.
Dehydrators come with 1 year limited warranty. Some dehydrators do not have labor or parts extended warranty. Service and repair becomes a major problem for a foreign made dehydrator in India.
The dehydrator comes with a shipment issue. Shipping charges are extra depending on which location you have ordered it from. Additionally, the dehydrator has a problem of assembly too, once it is shipped from foreign shores.
Dehydrators are expensive, especially if they are American models Economy models do not come with all the features. This is what makes the dehydrator a difficult purchase for Indians. Maintenance and repair are also very costly. Foreign parts may have to be purchased online only.
- Weather Conditions
The following are the weather related issues that Indians may face.
Why Low Ratings for Food Dehydrators in India?
While dehydration is one of the oldest methods of preserving food, Indians have dried several items like papads, fruits like mango for papad and Bombay Duck, dehydration becomes an issue in India for the following reasons:
- Voltage concerns
- Shipping concerns
- Expense involved
- Limited range of brands
- Only online purchases
- Lack of repair shops
- Lack of maintenance
- Weather related issues
- Certain Indian items are not suited to dehydrators; Paneer becomes chewy and chickpeas and peas too hard. Indian flatbreads like theplas and rotis cannot be dehydrated as they become crisp and cannot be reconstituted with water.
What to Consider While Purchasing a Food Dehydrator in India
If you are purchasing a dehydrator in India, here are the things you need to consider:
- All dehydrators need to be checked for voltage, plug and frequency compatibility. You may need to purchase surge protector or adapter depending on the model.
- The dehydrator should have a brand with a service center so that maintenance and repair are not a problem.
- The seller and manufacturer warranty should also be considered.
Finally, the dehydrator you choose should be worth the value in terms of the money you spent. In India, there are a lot of hurdles, when it comes to dehydrators, including lack of cost efficiency, limited availability of models, voltage and frequency issues and lack of awareness. But with changing times, this can also be overcome. For example, for power limitations, there are new devices such as portable surge protectors and adapters which ensure this convenient appliance can be used with ease. Choosing a dehydrator involves considering a lot of issues in India, such as quality, material, maintenance and repair, limited warranty and more. But where there is a will, there is a way. Dehydrators are gaining popularity in commercial circles and perhaps, very soon, Indian households too will have food dehydrators.