A Raw Foodist’s Mistake- Dry Fruit.

1 07 2009

Did you know that most dried fruits in the natural food store are COOKED?

Yes!! They are.   Manufacturers and distributors of dried fruits and even “dried tomatoes” were asked the temperature at which their product is dried.   Usually it is well over 200 degrees. They say this proudly, because its not too feasible to dry products at an acceptable temperature to a raw foodist (around 118 degrees or less) because there would be an inconsistent and “ugly” looking product.

Usually only “sun dried” foods would be considered “raw” since they are dried by the sun. So why not dry your own?

How to Dry Fruits and Vegetables

Food dehydration is safe because water is removed from the food. Because water is removed from the food, mold and bacteria cannot grow on it;thus it will not spoil. There is, however, a loss of vitamin A and C in dried foods due to heat and air. It usually takes vegetables 6-16 hours to dry, and fruit 12-48 hours. One can dry fruit and vegetables, and make jerky and fruit leather.

Choose Which Drying Method is Right For You

  • Sun Drying. This is rather difficult because you need three to four sunny days of at least 100 degrees in a row.
  • Oven Drying. Oven drying is an acceptable method of drying food, but it isn’t very energy efficient, and foods aren’t very flavorful in the end. If your oven cannot obtain temperatures below 200 degrees farenheit, use another method for food dehydration. You will need to prop open the oven door to maintain air circulation during the drying process.
  • Electric Dehydrating. This is the best method of dehydrating food. An electric dehydrator is energy efficient and can be operated at low temperatures needed to maintain nutritive values in the food. Your electric food dehydrator should have some sort of heat control and a fan to maintain air circulation during the drying process.

The Drying Process

When drying food, don’t keep temperatures too low or too high. Temperatures too low may result in the groth of bacteria on the food. Temperatures too high will result in the food being cooked instead of dried. Food that is underdried will spoil, and food that is overdried will lose its flavor and nutritive value.

Food should be dehydrated between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. You can begin drying your food at higher temperatures, but turn the temperature down after the first hour or so. The last hour or so of drying time should be turned down on a lower setting. You must turn the food and rotate the trays while the food is drying.

You will know your food is dried when when you touch it, and it is leathery with no pockets of moisture. If you are testing fruit, you can tear a piece in half. If you see moisture beads along the tear, it is not dry enough. Vegetables should also be tough but can also be crisp.

When storing your dried product, keep in mind that no moisture should be allowed to enter the container…ever. Dried food absorbs moisture from the air, so the storage container must be airtight. Some acceptable storage containers are jars and plastic freezer bags. If storing fruit leather, wrap in plastic wrap and store in a another airtight container. Store your containers of dried food in a cool, dark, dry place. 60 degrees Fahrenheit or below is best.

Vegetable Drying Guide

All vegetables except onions and peppers,and mushrooms should be washed, sliced, and blanched. Dry vegetables in single layers on trays. Depending of drying conditions, drying times make take longer. Dry vegetables at 130-degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Beans, green: Stem and break beans into 1-inch pieces.Blanch. Dry 6-12 hours until brittle.
  • Beets: Cook and peel beets. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces. Dry 3-10 hours until leathery.
  • Broccoli: Cut and dry 4-10 hours.
  • Carrots: Peel, slice or shred. Dry 6-12 hours until almost brittle.
  • Cauliflower: Cut and dry 6-14 hours.
  • Corn: Cut corn off cob after blanching and dry 6-12 hours until brittle.
  • Mushrooms: Brush off, don’t wash. Dry at 90 degrees for 3 hours, and then 125 degrees for the remaining drying time. Dry 4-10 hours until brittle.
  • Onions: Slice 1/4-inch thick. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
  • Peas: Dry 5-14 hours until brittle.
  • Peppers, sweet: Remove seeds and chop. Dry 5-12 hours until leathery.
  • Potatoes: Slice 1/8-inch thick. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
  • Tomatoes: Dip in boiling water to loosen skins, peel,slice or quarter. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
  • Zucchini: Slice 1/8-inch thick and dry 5-10 hours until brittle.

Fruit Drying Guide

All fruit should be washed,pitted and sliced. Arrange in single layers on trays. Dry fruit at 135 degrees Fahrenheit. You may wish to pretreat your fruit with lemon juice or ascorbic acid or it won’t darken while you are preparing it for drying. Just slice the fruit into the solution and soak for 5 minutes.

  • Apples: Peel, core and slice into 3/8-inch rings, or cut into 1/4-inch slices. Pretreat and dry 6-12 hours until pliable.
  • Apricots: Cut in half and turn inside out to dry. Pretreat and dry 8-20 hours until pliable.
  • Bananas: Peel, cut into 1/4-inch slices and pretreat. Dry 8-16 hours until plialbe or almost crisp.
  • Blueberries: Dry 10-20 hours until leathery.
  • Cherries: Cut in half and dry 18-26 hours until leathery and slightly sticky.

  • Peaches: Peel, halve or quarter. Pretreat and dry 6-20 hours until pliable.

  • Pears: Peel, cut into 1/4-inch slices, and pretreat. Dry 6-20 hours until leathery.
  • Pineapple: Core and slice 1/4-inch thick. Dry 6-16 hours until leathery and not sticky.
  • Strawberries: Halve or cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Dry 6-16 hours until pliable and almost crisp.

a_clockwork_orange_by_lisalyn

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