Have you ever wanted to learn how to dry food at home? Drying your foods is a great way to preserve them but you should know that the quality of the foods will not be made better. For this reason, you should select high quality foods which are ripe. Sort the produce and separate the low quality foods from the high quality ones. Here are some tips to help you to dry food at home.
Do you like raisins or dried apricots? Many people like to eat dried fruits because they are delicious, and quite different from the fresh versions. Start by selecting the best quality ripe fruits to be dried. Before you try drying your favorite fruits, you should know that some fruits, like oranges and grapefruits, are not ideal for the purpose because they have high water content. If you are drying fruits for the first time, you should work with a lower quantity because it can be time consuming. The first step is to clean the fruits thoroughly, under cold running water. If you spot any soft spots or bruises, use a fruit knife to trim away the affected parts. The pits, cores, and stems of the fruits should be removed. You may have to remove the skins from some types of fruits because the skins will turn brittle or tough after drying. For high quality, more nutritious fruits, it’s best to slice the fruits about a quarter or half inch thick.
Drying turns some fruits brown so you have to use sulfur treatments on apricots, nectarines, peaches, apples, and so on. Other than locking in vitamins A and C during drying, sulfur treatments also help to prolong the fruit’s shelf life and retain the fresh fruit flavor. Sulfuring and sulfite dips are the treatments that are used.
The color of the fruit can be retained with syrup blanching or steam blanching. In syrup blanching, the result is almost like candied fruit. Some of the fruits which are great for this process are prunes, plums, pears, peaches, figs, apricots, and apples. In steam blanching, the fruit’s texture and flavor are altered but the color is retained. Steam blanching is very easy to do but you should see that the fruits are evenly blanched.
Another method of pretreatment is known as checking. This procedure is recommended for fruits like small, dark plums, grapes, and cherries and it’s done to crack the skins. Firstly, you should bring a pot of water to a boil into which you should immerse the fruit for about 30 to 60 seconds. Next, the fruit is to be quickly put in cold water and you should use paper towels to drain the fruit.
In the past, people dry their foods in the sun or the oven. Nowadays, many people opt to use food dehydrators because they are very easy to use, and faster. It takes different times to dry different foods. For instance, apples can be dried in about 6 to 12 hours but the drying time for peaches is 35 to 48 hours.