We have tried lots of different drying equipment. For best value (under £40) we have bought this dehydrator from cooks professional below, available from Amazon here.. Sorry about my amateur photography! Basically it dries better than I take photographs.
Here is why we recommend it and ultimately it has changed my mind from air drying always being the best option!
- It is quiet. Not the most important thing you may think, but we dry herbs slow and low. So this means it could be drying for anywhere up to four hours at a time. We set the dehydrator in the evening after dinner and can settle in to watch our family favorites in the same open space and not have to turn up the volume!
- It has five layers. Now I want good value for money so will use up my leftover fresh herbs by drying them, this dehydrator allows me to dry on five layers and circulates the air between each layer just fine. This means that the herbs on the top layer will dry off as quickly as those on the bottom layer. That’s what I was hoping to show in the photo with them opened up, it’s like a little vent that pushes it all around.
- It has an in built timer. Not something that is so important when using a dehydrator for apple rings, but seriously essential for drying herbs. It will set up to 72 hours which is longer than we would need but it’s good to know you can set it and walk away. You can increase or decrease in units of one hour, so if it says 03 on the display it will dry for three hours, then automatically turn off!!! Game changer.
- You can adjust the temperature easily. It has a light up display and I am not looking over my glasses trying to read it! Just press the button for up or down. then you can see it move up and down on the display, no dials to stand in front of and try and squint to read. This is a game changer for me as I can use it as a dehydrator for herbs one day and then my spices and vegetables another day without accidentally incinerating one or the other!
- There is safety instruction that you should read but after that it is so user friendly. Just a plus or minus button and temp or timer settings. I don’t think a dehydrator should take a tech wizard to be able to use it. This is part of why this model convinced me to not just air dry from now on. I was very happy waiting two-three weeks for my herbs and still am, but it is about quantity in our home now, I can batch dry in a matter of hours.
- It fits under the counter. We have wall units and this nicely fits under them, meaning I can still use the worktop while using the dehydrator. Some of the other models with many trays don’t have this in their favor and will need a dedicated space, near to a plug.
- A dehydrator being used to dry herbs is better than any incense. The smell of your herbs drying is amazing and even I was won over by this. I guess this is true of all dehydrators but I am really happy as an added bonus.
- Most importantly of all was the price. It is available on Amazon here, currently for less than £40. It is the cheapest one which gave us all of the above things we needed. It is absolutely an investment, but you can share with friends and family as well. We lend ours out for a few days at a time and this is a great way to use a dehydrator and get some dried herbs in exchange every now and then!
If you are looking to preserve parsley or Lavender these are ideal and we have full drying time guides available for free as well.
If you want to dry out stalks of rosemary or mint then an airer, kitchen hanging air dryerill be a better option. It can be raised to the ceiling and kept out of the way in your kitchen or utility room. It allows you to keep a close eye on the herbs to make sure they are drying and not developing mould.
We also find that it keeps a lovely aroma in the home. Not to mention that it is nice to see what you are drying as a bit of a visual reminder to get the next stages and storage ready!