|Pride of place on the worktop: our new Vida dehydrator|
We were delighted to hear from Vida Appliances offering us a dehydrator to review, and took them up on it straight away! We already have an Excalibur dehydrator, but although it’s excellent, because of its size and the amount of power it takes we don’t use it as often as we would like, so this smaller machine was right up our street.
It sits on the worktop without taking up too much space, or you could easily keep it in a cupboard when not in use. We’ve kept it out so far, because as you can see, it’s quite an attractive-looking model. It is round, has 5 plastic racks for drying and a clear lid on top, with a base unit where the minimal controls are; an on-off switch, an LED timer and a temperature dial in degrees C.
|A close-up of the simple controls|
The instruction manual is rather uninformative, as they often are, but then the controls are so simple to understand and use that you don’t really need it. However, for dehydrating newbies it would have been good to include a few recipes to start off with. (Fruit leather, kale chips, seed crackers and courgette rolls all spring to mind…) Beyond some safety advice, there is also no information about the finer points of use, such as whether you should put the foods straight on the racks or on greaseproof paper etc. So trial and error it was, then…
|Take a good look at the easy-to-clean trays…|
… and the first thing we tried was kale chips– after all, you can’t go far wrong with those, can you? After washing the kale and tearing it up I massaged in a little olive oil, seasalt, smoked paprika, chilli powder and yeast flakes then spread them out directly on the racks. As long as you follow the advice in the manual about putting smaller pieces on the lower racks, they should dry evenly. After only 2 hours- and believe me, that’s not long at all in dehydrating terms- at 65 degrees, they were done. Result! We all love munching on kale chips, and regular readers will know that it’s one of the few ways I actually enjoy these nutritious greens so I made sure I got my share 😉
Encouraged by this success, I then tried something new; chewy ginger rhubarb pieces. They came out soft and tangy after about 3 hours on the highest temperature, but the recipe needs refining to get the balance of flavours right so we’re not publishing it yet. These I started off on greaseproof paper until the initial moisture was driven off, and then I put them directly on the racks to increase air circulation while as they finished off.
Two positive things struck me as I used the machine:
Firstly, it’s a lot quieter than the Excalibur, and if like me, you cook with music playing or the radio on, you will hardly notice it.
Secondly, it is really easy to clean. We are used to using and cleaning various
gadgets appliances in the course of cooking a day’s meals, such as a juicer, blender or food processor so it was really good to use something that actually fits in our average-sized sink like the racks do. and to be able to wipe the base clean with a damp cloth.
And the best thing of all about this dehydrator? The price: you can get it from Vida’s website (see the link in the first paragraph of this post) for £29.99 and on other websites for about the same, or a little under. At 230-260W it’s not expensive to run, either, at nearly 10 times less output than an oven and almost quarter of the wattage of many microwaves. Bear in mind that a large Excalibur dehydrator is 600W too. (When working out how much energy you will use compared to other appliances, though, remember to offset the dehydrator’s lower wattage against its much longer operating times.) At the Yogi Vegans we believe passionately that healthy, plant-based food should be available to all and this dehydrator now puts kale chips, fruit leather, raw crackers and all kinds of goodies within reach of many more people. You can now make them yourself for very little initial outlay instead of buying expensive, ready- dried products from the shops! In fact, we’ve been inspired to think about creating a whole new bunch of raw recipes with our Vida dehydrator, so stay tuned…