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Drying Foods

The questions from this weeks class comes from a very nice power point that was put together by Jananne Finck, from the University of Illinois and can be found Here. Enjoy!

  1. Why is drying a good preservation choice for chefs?

It is an alternative to canning and freezing, that is simple, safe and easy to learn. You can also dry foods year round and don’t need extra refrigeration space. If you have a blank space on the shelf then you have space to store the dried item.

  1. What is the optimum temperature for drying?

The optimum temperature for drying foods is 140 degrees F. If you go much higher than this you are cooking foods instead of drying them, and anything lower then this you need to worry about food safety.  When drying you want to have low humidity and a good flow of air around the item so that it helps speed up drying because of removing air around the items.

  1. What is case hardening?

Case Hardening is when the food item has dried on the outside but traps moisture inside and can result in mold.

  1. What are two ways to “pasteurize” dried foods?

The first way is the freezer method, where you seal food in freezer plastic bags and freeze them for at least 48 hours. The second way to pasteurize food is to use an oven. By placing food in a single layer of a shallow pan and “pasteurize” in a preheated oven at 160 degrees F for 30 minutes.

  1. Why is a dehydrator a better option for drying over a traditional oven?

A traditional oven takes much longer then a dehydrator unless it is a convection oven, which has a fan. A traditional oven is also going to use more energy as it can take up to 2 times longer to dry foods in an oven. New Dehydrators also have many features that make them more reasonable choice because they are made to dry foods safe and quickly.

  1. What does pre-treating fruit do?

Pre-treating helps keep light-colored fruits from darkening during drying and storage and it speeds the drying of fruits with tough skins, such as grapes and cherries. There are many ways that you can pre-treat fruit including: Sulfuring, Ascorbic Acid, Fruit Juice Dip, Honey Dip, Syrup Blanching, and Steam Blanching.

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One Comment on “Drying Foods”

  1. Tori June 7, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    We need a dehydrator! I want to make dried fruits and try making beef jerky. Also we can dry herbs when we start our herb garden. 🙂

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