*  Exported from  MasterCook  *
                    Drying And Preserving Foods Part One
 Recipe By     : Ya got it from Lisa
 Serving Size  : 1    Preparation Time :0:00
 Categories    : Preserving
   Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
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                         How Drying Preserves Food
 Food drying is one of the oldest methods of preserving food for later use. It
 can either be an alternative to canning and freezing or compliment these
 methods. Drying food is simple, safe and easy to learn. With modern food
 dehydrators fruit leathers, banana chips, pumpkin seeds and beef jerky can all
 be dried year-round at home. Dried foods are ideal for backpacking and
 camping. They are lightweight, take up little space and do not require
 refrigeration. Meat jerky, dried nuts and seeds are good sources of protein
 for a snack or a meal. The fruit leathers and dried fruit chips provide plenty
 of quick energy Dried vegetables can be prepared separately or combined to
 make a soup. While camp is being set up, add water to the dried foods to allow
 sufficient time (1 to 2 hours) to reconstitute them. To retain vitamins, use
 the soaking water for cooking.
  ***** How Drying Preserves Food
  Drying removes the moisture from the food so that bacteria, yeasts and molds
 cannot grow and spoil the food. It also slows down the action of enzymes, but
 does not inactivate them. Because drying removes moisture, the food becomes
 smaller and lighter in weight. When the food is ready for use, the water is
 added back and the food returns to its original shape. The optimum temperature
 for drying food is 140ºF. If higher temperatures are used, the food will cook
 instead of drying. When the food cooks on the outside and the moisture cannot
 escape, “case hardening” can occur. The food will eventually mold. Thus, the
 drying process should never be hurried by raising the drying temperature. Low
 humidity aids the drying process. Food contains a lot of water. To dry food,
 the water must move from the food to the surrounding air. If the surrounding
 air is humid, then drying will be slowed down. Increasing the air current
 speeds up drying by moving the surrounding moist air away from the food. To
 speed the drying time, increase the air flow. Foods can be dried in the sun,
 in an oven or in a food dehydrator by using the right combination of warm
 temperatures, low humidity and air current. Drying Foods Out-of-Doors Sun
 Drying The high sugar and acid content of fruits make them safe to dry out-of-
 doors when conditions are favorable for drying. Vegetables (with the exception
 of vine dried beans) and meats are not recommended for out-of-doors drying.
 Vegetables are low in sugar and acid. This increases the risks for food
 spoilage. Meats are high in protein making them ideal for microbial growth
 when heat and humidity can't be controlled. It is best to dry meats and
 vegetables indoors using controlled conditions of an oven or food dehydrator.
 Sun-dried raisins are the best known of all dried foods. California produces
 much of the world’s supply of raisins. In the San Joaquin Valley warm
 temperatures, low humidity and a constant breeze are ideal conditions for
 drying grapes. To dry fruits out-of-doors hot, dry breezy days are best. A
 minimum temperature of 85ºF is needed with higher temperatures being better.
 It takes several days to dry foods out-of-doors. Because the weather is
 uncontrollable, drying fruits out-of-doors can be risky If it rains in
 California while the grapes are drying, the entire supply of raisins can be
 destroyed. High humidity in the South is a problem for drying fruits out-of-
 doors. A humidity below 60 percent is best. Often these ideal conditions are
 not available when the fruit ripens and other alternatives to dry the food are
 needed. Fruits dried out-of-doors must be covered or brought under shelter at
 night. The cool night air condenses and could add moisture back to the food,
 thus slowing down the drying process. Equipment Racks or screens placed on
 blocks allow for better air movement around the food. Because the ground may
 be moist, it is best to place the racks or screens on a concrete driveway or
 if possible over a sheet of aluminum or tin. The reflection of the sun on the
 metal increases the drying temperature. Screens need to be safe for contact
 with food. The best screens are stainless steel, teflon-coated fiberglass and
 plastiDehydrofreezing is not freeze-drying. Freeze drying is a commercial
 technique that forms a vacuum while the food is freezing. Freeze drying is a
 costly process which can't be done in the home.
  Dehydrofreezing is not freeze-drying. Freeze drying is a commercial technique
 that forms a vacuum while the food is freezing. Freeze drying is a costly
 process which can't be done in the home.
 Compiled By Lisa Owner Fabfood Posted To Fabfood 5-15-98
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