A food dehydrator allows you to preserve all kinds of food. You can make jerky, dry fruit for trail mixes, create your own dehydrated backpacking meals. You can make healthy snacks and even fruit rollups for the kids. A dehydrator leaves your oven free and uses less electricity during long drying times. Here are some tips on how to use one.

Fun and Functional

The glass door lets you keep an eye on your food while this good-looking, durable machine works its drying magic. COSORI

Temperature controls allow you to choose the best setting for the food you’re dehydrating. Drying meat safely requires settings around 165 degrees, while it’s much better to dry herbs at 95 degrees to prevent them from turning brown and losing flavor. Set it at 135 degrees if drying fruit.

Easy to Store

Stackable shelves come apart for easy cleaning and storage of this lightweight, inexpensive machine that operates with four simple control buttons. COSORI

Make your own backpacking meals. Cook your favorite chili recipe, then put parchment paper on the dehydrator trays and spread the chili onto them. Dry at 145 degrees for eight hours, then store the dehydrated chili in a Ziploc bag. On the trail, combine one cup of water with each cup of chili and heat on a backpacking stove.

High Capacity

Fifteen square feet of drying area let this machine produce extra-big batches. Excalibur

You can use a dehydrator to make healthy treats for your dog and save money. Cut sweet potatoes into quarter inch slices. Cut lengthwise if you own a large dog, or width-wise to make circles for smaller dogs. Dry them at 135 degrees for 6 or 7 hours depending on how chewy you want them to be. They will last a couple of weeks stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.