Frequently Asked Questions

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Sahara Dehydrator FAQ

  1. Is it safe to leave the dehydrator running unattended?
  2. How much electricity does it use?
  3. Does it turn off automatically?
  4. Can I change time and temperature settings during operation?
  5. Are the drying shelves dishwasher safe?
  6. Are the materials BPA free?
  7. What are the benefits of drying food at home?
  8. Is it safe to dry meat in the Sahara Dehydrator?
  9. Why is the food temperature less than the air temperature?
  10. Why does it take so long to dry food?
  11. How can I speed up the drying process?
  12. What other factors affect the drying time?
  13. My food is taking longer to dry? Is there something wrong with the dehydrator?
  14. What is the best way to store dehydrated food?
  15. What are drying mats and why would I want them?
  16. What will happen if I operate the dehydrator without an air filter?
  17. Can I use an air filter from another appliance such as my vacuum cleaner?
  18. How long do air filters last?
  19. How do I turn off the beeper that signals the completion of the timer?

1. Is it safe to leave the dehydrator running unattended?

The Sahara Dehydrator is engineered to operate unattended. Internal thermal controls protect against overheating due to a malfunction. As with all electrical appliances, the dehydrator should be used on a hard flat surface. Do not block any air intakes or exhaust on the back, underneath or top. Never store items on top of the dehydrator. Do not operate near flammable liquids or vapors.

2. How much electricity does it use?

The Sahara Dehydrator has two independent heating circuits of 375W each (750 total). The fan uses very little electricity. In normal operation, the heating circuits turn on and off to maintain temperature and low humidity. Typically the energy consumed over a full cycle of dehydration is less than 0.4 kWh/hr. The cost of electricity varies greatly around the world. In the USA this is $0.04-0.05 USD per hour of use. In Germany this is about € 0,12 per hour of use.

3. Does it turn off automatically?

The digital timer can be set up to 99 hours. At the completion of the set time, both the heater and fan will switch off automatically. Additionally, a second time can be set to run after the first time is complete (Dual Time / Temperature Mode).

4. Can I change time and temperature settings during operation?

You can pause operation at anytime during dehydration by pressing the PAUSE button. When paused, you can adjust time remaining and temperature settings. Press the PAUSE /START button again to restart operation.

5. Are the drying shelves dishwasher safe?

The Sahara Dehydrator comes in two models: one with stainless steel wire shelves and one with poly plastic shelves. The stainless steel shelves are completely dishwasher safe. Poly plastic shelves can be washed in dishwashers up to 167°F / 75°C. Most household dishwashers operate below this temperature.

6. Are the materials BPA free?

None of the materials used in the Sahara Dehydrator contain BPA. Food comes into contact with the shelves only. Shelves are available in stainless steel (high quality food grade series 304) or food safe polypropylene plastic. The ABS plastic enclosure is also BPA free. For the ultimate in food safety we recommend using the stainless steel shelves. Sahara Dehydrator drying mats (available separately) are made from high quality silicone and are food safe even at high temperatures. No PTFE materials (such as Teflon®) are used in any Sahara Dehydrator components or accessories.

7. What are the benefits of drying food at home?

Drying or “dehydrating” food is a method of food preservation that removes enough moisture from the food so bacteria, yeast and molds cannot grow. Dried foods are tasty, nutritious, lightweight, easy to prepare, easy to carry and easy to use. Low humidity, low heat and good air circulation are critical for successful drying. Once dry, store foods in a dark, cool location in containers that keep out moisture and insects.

8. Is it safe to dry meat in the Sahara Dehydrator?

Meat can be safely dried in the SAHARA dehydrator by following a few common sense precautions. When handling raw meat, follow strict cleanliness procedures. Keep meat cool prior to placing in the dehydrator. Dry meat at a setting of at least 160F / 71C. At the completion of drying, meat will achieve an internal temperature equal to the setting. Some studies recommend heating red meat to 160F / 71C and chicken to 165F / 74C BEFORE dehydrating, because food contaminants may become more heat resistant after drying. However, this technique alters the texture of the dehydrated meat that some may find objectionable. Educate yourself by reading more about meat drying on sites such as:

https://www.fsis.usda.gov

https://www.cals.uidaho.edu/edcomm/pdf/PNW/PNW0632.pdf

9. Why is the food temperature less than the air temperature?

Evaporation causes cooling. We all experience this cooling of the skin when getting out of a pool or a shower, or the more significant cooling that occurs when water evaporates from wet clothing. Wet food drying in the dehydrator is cooled by this effect. Actual food temperature may be up to 35F / 20C lower than the temperature setting. As the food dries and evaporation stops the temperature of the food will rise to the setting on the dehydrator. To control the temperature of the food through the entire drying cycle, use the Dual Time -Temperature Mode.

10. Why does it take so long to dry food?

The Sahara Dehydrator creates the ideal conditions to evaporate moisture from the surface of wet food. Ultimately, the time required for the food to fully dry is controlled by how long it takes for all the water in the interior of the food to migrate to the surface so it can evaporate. Certain techniques can speed drying times, but often at the expense of flavor and texture. The easiest way to speed drying is to prepare thin slices of food. But very thin food slices may not be as enjoyable to eat. Raising the dehydration temperature will also speed drying, however, if the temperature is too hot a skin may form on the surface of the food that slows down the drying process.

11. How can I speed up the drying process?

In the initial stage of drying, food may be as much as 45°F / 25°C below the air temperature setting. In most cases, you can safely raise the temperature by this amount for the first several hours of drying to decrease drying time.

12. What other factors affect the drying time?

Humidity of the air, quantity of food in the dehydrator, moisture content of the food and altitude can affect drying time.

13. My food is taking longer to dry? Is there something wrong with the dehydrator?

There are many factors that affect drying times. The relative humidity of the air in the room where the dehydrator is used will affect drying time. Food will dry slower when the humidity is high (more water vapor is in the air slows evaporation). The temperature of the room and altitude can also affect drying time.

14. What is the best way to store dehydrated food?

Store dehydrated food in sealed containers in a cool dark area. Vacuum sealed bags are excellent for storage.

15. What are drying mats and why would I want them?

Sahara drying mats are food-safe silicone. They are excellent for sticky foods, liquids, fruit leathers, or small items such as berries, nuts, seeds or herbs that might fall through the grating of standard shelves.

16. What will happen if I operate the dehydrator without an air filter?

The Sahara Dehydrator is carefully designed to optimize airflow and circulation with the air filter in place. Additionally, operating the dehydrator without a filter can draw dust and debris inside the fan and heater. It is very difficult to clean the fan or heater and may cause damage.

17. Can I use an air filter from another appliance such as my vacuum cleaner?

Air filters from vacuums and other appliances may degrade the performance of the dehydrator. Only authentic Brod & Taylor Sahara Dehydrator filters should be used.

18. How long do air filters last?

The air filter can be used continuously as long as it is clean. If the filter cannot be cleaned or is damaged it should be replaced. Filters are available from authorized Brod & Taylor Sahara distributors.

19. How do I turn off the beeper that signals the completion of the timer?

Hold Start/Pause button 2 seconds to Enable/Disable Mute Mode. In Mute Mode the completion beep is silenced.

Still have questions?
Please Contact us and we’d be happy to help!