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Dried and true

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Drying fruits and vegetables is a space-saving way to preserve the season, but we’ve always been put off by tying up our oven for the long-time-at-low-heat process. This electric countertop dehydrator from Nesco/American Harvest is so hands-off it makes dehydrating easy (and even fun). The fan and heater fit compactly in the top of the unit. Hot air is forced horizontally across each tray, so you don’t need to rotate trays and can dry beef jerky and apple slices at the same time, with no flavor-mingling. Nesco makes a line of dehydrators that range from $39 to $150. We tested the Snackmaster Pro, which comes with five drying trays and costs $80 at Nesco.com. Most models are expandable, meaning you can buy extra trays to handle more fruits, vegetables, and herbs—up to 30 trays on the largest models.

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