How Does Dried Foods Work?

Dry foods are those that can be stored without being cooked or preserved by the addition of air or moisture. These types of foods have less water content and therefore do not retain moisture and do not require any refrigeration. Food drying is a common technique of food preservation where food is dried without any heating. Drying slows the growth of fungi, yeasts, and bacteria through the elimination of excess water from the food. Many foods are naturally dry but may be dried to preserve them for longer storage.

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Dried foods include nuts such as almonds, plums, prunes, dates, and cranberries; leaves such as basil, parsley, and dill; seeds such as sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, black currant seeds, pistachios, and pine nuts; and even meat such as beef, lamb, goat, chicken, turkey and duck. Dried fruits are dried whole fruits that have been processed to remove water from the skin and core. Dried fruits can be kept for up to 3 years. Other examples of dried foods include dried meats such as jerky and salami; dried vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, peas, cauliflower, mushrooms; dried fruits and ice cream soft dried mango.

Dried fruits are best stored in air-tight containers. To achieve the best outcome, these should be placed in their original containers before being placed into the storage trays. Moisture will be retained if the fruits or vegetables are placed on top of a container with no air.

Dried plums, pears, gooseberries, blueberries, blackberries, prunes, and hazelnuts come in different shades, colors, and textures. Popular types of dried plums and pears are the sweeter plums that are more like raisins; blueberries that are blue, purple, red, or green in color; and prunes that are red, brown, or black in color. Blueberries and prunes can be used as an inexpensive, delicious dessert.

The water content in blueberries and prunes is quite low. This low water content makes the product moisture free so it can be stored for a very long time. Once they are picked and dried, it is best to store them in the refrigerator.

Sun drying works well with fruits and vegetables that retain enough moisture for long storage. Fruits that retain moisture include apricots, banana peels, apples, dates, figs, grapes, kale, melons, oranges, pears, peaches, prunes, and strawberries. Fruits that do not retain moisture include cherries, limequats, pears, prunes, raisins, pineapples, raspberries, and strawberries. Sun drying also works well with dried products that are high in sugar, as it will prevent spoilage and preserve their flavor.

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