When it comes to fruit roll-ups, crackers, and granola, the options found in the grocery store tend to be full of preservatives, “natural” flavors, and even artificial colors. But when you make your own crackers and roll-ups at home, you can be sure that your food is packed with nothing more than wholesome goodness and healthy nutrients. Dehydrators are a great kitchen tools that can help you do just that! Unlike ovens, dehydrators don’t cook the food that is in them.

(Hello, homemade kale chips and more!)

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Instead, dehydrators slowly dry the food to create a cooked-like texture and bold flavors that you can feel good about eating and sharing with friends and family. A good dehydrator gives you the opportunity to make a myriad of foods from pizza crusts and veggie chips, to tofu jerky and trail mix.

There are several excellent dehydrators on the market to choose from, here are five of the highest rated that may be right for you:

 

1. The Excalibur

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The Excalibur is one of the most popular dehydrators on the Internet, and for good reason. You can grab a model that features 4, 5, 9, or 10 trays depending on your specific dehydrating needs. This is great so that you aren’t left with too little or too much machine at the end of the day. You can use just one tray to dehydrate large foods like nut loafs, or fill all of the trays up with  your favorite fruits to snack on – either way, the Excalibur delivers phenomenal drying power for all of your needs.

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The Excalibur features digital controls for ease of use and offers a convenient temperature control to ensure that your foods are always processed just the way you need them to be. Choose a model with a timer, and all you have to do is set it and forget it. With the built-in patented Hyperwave Fluctuation technology in each Excalibur, you’ll find that your food dries from the inside out instead of the other way around.

 

2. L’Equip

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This lightweight yet durable dehydrator fits comfortably on the counter but is small enough to fit safely in a cupboard when it isn’t in use. The L’Equip dehydrator comes in a striking silver color that fits right in with your up-to-date appliances. The machine uses only about 500 watts to power, which means that it won’t suck up your electricity when you want to leave it on overnight or throughout the day.

 

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The included recipe booklet and user guide makes it a cinch to start creating dehydrated delights as soon as you get it out of the box. The L’Equip dehydrator comes with a 10-year limited warranty, providing you with many years of peace of mind no matter what dehydrating tasks you throw at it. These Parmesan vegan crackers are a great recipe you can try that can be used with hummus, vegan dips, and salsas of all kinds!

 

3. Nesco American Harvest

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This all-in-one jerky dehydrating kit comes with everything you need to make fresh jerky out of tempeh, tofu, or your other favorite proteins. The top mounted fan ensures that heat gets distributed correctly, and the jerky gun helps to ensure that your protein dries evenly. The Nesco American Harvest dehydrator can be used for more than just jerky – make fruit leather, granola, and a host of other goodies on the round dehydrator trays that come with the kit.

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The round design of this dehydrator makes it perfect for drying herbs for cooking with, potpourri for fragrance, and wreaths for the holidays. This white dehydrator comes with a clear lid so you can quickly and easily see inside to keep an eye on your food so it can be taken out at the perfect time. Try these apple chips, which will rival any potato chip you’re used to!

 

 

4. Waring Pro

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With 5 stackable and interlocking round trays to fill up, you’ll have plenty of space to make your own banana chips or apple crisps at home with The Waring Pro dehydrator. Multiple temperature options are available including low, medium, high, and fan which makes it possible to process everything from delicate berries to rough and ready tofu slices. The fan system is nice and quiet so you can be sure that it will not overpower your radio or television while it’s on in your vicinity.

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The Waring Pro comes has a 620-watt motor that is strong enough to dry thick products with minimal power needs. The base of the machine is black which hides scratches and dings on the machine after years of use, and the trays are all clear for easy visual access. And the suction-cup feet of your machine keeps it in place, even when liquid spills on the counter near it. Try these Italian Herb Crackers, which make a tasty snack or addition to meals!

 

5. Presto Dehyrdo

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The Presto Dehydro may not come with a bunch of bells and whistles – for example, there is no temperature control – but it does get the job done at a great price. You can get your hands on this handy dehydrator for under $40 and start making everything from raw vegan lasagna to crispy flax crackers in a jiffy. Try these Raw Vegan Habanero Pepper Crackers if you need a first-time recipe.

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While the machine comes with four trays, you can buy extras separately and stack up to six of them on your machine at the same time. The trays are easy to clean and can be air dried right in the dehydrator so it doesn’t take up space on your drying rack or in your dishwasher. The fan and heating element is located on the bottom of the machine to ensure even drying from the bottom up. This dehydrator is the perfect option whether you enjoy making crackers once in awhile or you want to create the ultimate raw food kitchen at home.

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As you can see, a dehydrator can do more than just make beef jerky. And with these five top models, you can make all kinds of raw vegan snacks and additions that turn your meals from bland to brilliant and delicious!

Lead Image Source: Eve of Discovery/Flickr