The Hamilton Beach 32100A is a great choice for home drying snacks and herbs. This compact and efficient unit is intended for home use. Your dried food can be put to use in many ways:
- lightweight snacks for hiking and camping
- herbs for cooking to add summer flavor during the dreary winter months
- homemade fruit leather
- custom beef jerky
This unit is useful in many ways. The square design and efficient nesting trays makes it easier to store. The Hamilton Beach 32100A features a mesh sheet for making homemade fruit rolls. This mesh sheet can also be used to dry garden herbs for later use. Additionally, the unit has its own timer and an automatic shut off.
In use, the unit is about as loud as a box fan. It has a clear lid for viewing, and offers a 48 hour timer with auto shut off for safety. Air flow is continuous, so there are no trays to rotate. The adjustable digital thermostat allows you the chance to customize the settings to the product you’re drying. The design of this dryer includes the motor on the bottom, so the unit is very stable on the counter top should you choose to leave it out.
The instructions are extremely easy to follow and offer detailed information on food safety. It’s best to dry similar types of food separately. Beef jerky should be done in one batch as meat drying times are different than produce. For flavor consistency, vegetables should be dried in their own batch, fruit in another. It’s important to stack all the trays for proper airflow before turning the unit on, even if some are empty. The mesh liners for fruit leathers and garden herbs should only be used in the top two trays.
The unit is extremely easy to clean as the trays are of a heavy plastic design and lined for easy washing. It’s important to note that this unit is intended for home use and may not provide the volume necessary if you need to dry large batches of product or if you’re preparing dried foods for a large group of people. Take care in your food preparation to follow USDA guidelines on cooking times for meat. If you’re cutting fruits and vegetables for drying, keep your slices even and work to lay things out in as flat a plane as possible.
Before you start slicing product, be aware that the drying trays have holes to facility air movement. Don’t cut your products too small, or they may fall through the holes and impact your layout. Stacking or layering product will reduce drying efficiency. Poorly dried product is a breeding ground for bacteria. Take special care to follow the provided dehydrating instructions and review USDA guidelines on product storage for your safety and the safety of family and guests.