Our family has been using a food dehydrator regularly for several years… which is a statement I never thought I’d make. Sure, I’d always heard that homemade jerky and fruit leather was incredibly good, but the convenience of buying both at the store always won out.

But just a few weeks into owning a food dehydrator like this six-tray Gourmia GFD1680 changed my stand-point.

Gourmia GFD1680 Countertop Electric Food Dehydrator – 6 Drying Trays – Digital Countdown Timer – Preset Temperature Settings – Recipe Book Included – amazon.com

61.20Shop Now

Jerky and fruit leather are obvious applications for a good food dehydrator: Both turn out noticeably better than even the best store-bought jerkified meats or fruits, and both take very little time to prepare. Cleaning dehydrator trays of any resulting residue is a cinch with just warm water and a bit of detergent.

Jerky and dried fruits could easily be enough to justify this wonder appliance, but a dehydrator can do so much more. Anything from proofing bread and incubating yogurt to making granola and drying flowers are simple tasks for a good dehydrator.

Where we really put ours to regular use is with home-grown herbs. Even a small deck with a few pots can produce far more seasoning than a typical family can consume fresh. Picking more than you need and dehydrating surplus not only allows you to save herbs for out-of-season months, it helps your plants stay healthy and produce more. It also makes your house smell amazing. I can honestly say that I can’t remember the last time I had to buy basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, dill, or mint at the store.

I can’t say that the dehydrator completely changed my life, but I can say that it added a ton of diversity to mealtime, and I’m always discovering exciting new uses for it. And since it’s just around $60, why not pick one up and see what it can do to your diet?