Food dehydration locks in vital nutrients in addition to inhibiting microbial growth and spoilage. Some dehydrate foods for the convenience of enjoying them at a later date. Health conscious folks believe there is much to gain by consuming a raw diet. The dehydrators available to the consumer today are simple to use, hasten the process of drying foods and come with a variety of features. The LEM 1153 dehydrator is one of the latest models.
The 10-tray LEM 1153 aluminum-body dehydrator is similar in design to Excalibur 3900. However, the LEM 1153 is less expensive. The dehydrator features a rear-mounted 800-watt heating element and fan. The strategic positioning of the technology is ideal, as the fan sends the heat horizontally across each shelf. The design ensures that all areas of each shelf receive an even amount of heat simultaneously, which eliminates the need to rearrange food or shelves during the dehydration process. Each tray also features openings measuring approximately ½ inch in diameter, which enable warm air to circulate around the food during dehydration.
The bottom-hinged, clear but sturdy food-grade, ABS plastic door on the front of the device opens fully for easy tray insertion or removal. The door is also removable. The transparent design enables users to visualize the food contents throughout the dehydration process. In this way, you do not need to open the door to check the dehydration process, which causes heat loss and lengthens drying time. When closed, the door efficiently contains the internal heat and maintains the temperature.
The LEM 1153 measures 19.5 inches x 16.6 inches x 16.9 inches and weighs 26.3 pounds. The unit comes with a five-foot power cord, which makes finding a place to put the LEM more convenient. The dehydrator comes with 10 removable trays measuring 15 inches square. Each tray provides 1.6 square feet of drying space, which brings the total capacity to 15 square feet, which is large enough to hold 30 apples. The square design also means the trays need not be inserted in any particular direction. The trays are made from food-grade, ABS plastic. Plastic also lines the aluminum dehydrator housing. The LEM 1153 can be used with all 10 trays inserted or with fewer trays when dehydrating larger food items.
The controls for the LEM are located on the top rear of the unit. Set the drying temperature from 85 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit using the control knob. A convenient printed display correlates the time and temperature setting with different types of foods. The built-in digital timer allows users to set the operation time for up to 30 hours and 55 minutes. After the desired time expires, the dehydrator automatically turns itself off.
Cleaning and Maintenance
The ABS plastic of the trays and dehydrator lining make cleaning a snap. The dehydrator must be completely cool before opening the door, removing trays and attempting cleanup. Unplug the unit. Simply remove the bottom drip tray and the trays and wash by hand. The trays can be cleaned in a dishwasher use as long as the heat setting is not applied to the drying cycle. Simply use a warm, soapy cloth to wipe down the dehydrator interior. Rinse and repeat. With the fan and heating element positioned in the rear safely away from food, these areas of the dehydrator are protected by a screen and do not need cleaning.