*  Exported from  MasterCook  *
                   Drying And Preserving Food Part Three
 Recipe By     : Ya got it from Lisa
 Serving Size  : 1    Preparation Time :0:00
 Categories    : Preserving
   Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
 --------  ------------  --------------------------------
                         Conditioning Fruits
                         Drying Vegetables
                         Pretreating Vegetables
                         Cooling & Drying Prepared Vegetables
 The moisture content of home dried fruit should be about 20 percent. When the
 fruit is taken from the dehydrator, the remaining moisture may not be
 distributed equally among the pieces because of their size or their location
 in the dehydrator. Conditioning is the process used to equalize the moisture.
 It reduces the risk of mold growth. To condition the fruit, take the dried
 fruit that has cooled and pack it loosely in plastic or glass jars. Seal the
 containers and let them stand for 7 to 10 days. The excess moisture in some
 pieces will be absorbed by the drier pieces. Shake the jars daily to separate
 the pieces and check the moisture condensation. If condensation develops in
 the jar, return the fruit to the dehydrator for more drying. After
 conditioning, package and store the fruit.
  ***** Drying Vegetables
  Vegetables can be preserved by drying. For vegetables, drying time is crucial
 to tenderness. The longer the drying time, the less flavorful and poorer the
 product. Drying time can be hastened by drying small, uniformly cut pieces.
 Because they contain less acid than fruits, vegetables are dried until they
 are brittle. At this stage, only 10 percent moisture remains and no
 microorganisms can grow. Preparing Vegetables Dry vegetables immediately after
 harvesting. To prepare them, wash in cool water to remove soil and chemical
 residues. Trim, peel, cut, slice or shred vegetables. Remove any fibrous or
 woody portions and core when necessary removing all decayed and bruised areas.
 Keep pieces uniform in size so they will dry at the same rate. A food slicer
 or food processor can be used. Prepare only as many vegetables as can be dried
 at one time. Holding vegetables, even in the refrigerator, after washing and
 preparation for drying will result in loss of quality and nutrients. 
 ***** Pretreating Vegetables
  Blanching is a necessary step in preparing vegetables for drying. By
 definition, blanching is the process of heating vegetables to a temperature
 high enough to destroy enzymes present in the tissue. It stops the enzyme
 action which causes loss of color and flavor during drying and storage. It
 also sets the color and shortens the drying and rehydration time by relaxing
 the tissue walls so moisture can escape or re-enter more rapidly In water
 blanching, the vegetables are submerged in boiling water. In steam blanching,
 the vegetables are suspended above the boiling water and heated only by the
 steam. Water blanching usually results in a greater loss of nutrients, but it
 takes less time than steam blanching. Not all vegetables require blanching.
 Onions, green peppers and mushrooms can be dried without blanching. Water
 Blanching Fill a large pot two-thirds full of water, cover and bring to a
 rolling boil. Place the vegetables in a wire basket or a colander and submerge
 them in the water. Cover and blanch. If it takes longer than one minute for
 the water to come back to boiling, too many vegetables were added. Reduce the
 amount in the next batch. Steam Blanching Use a deep pot with a close-fitting
 lid and a wire basket, colander or sieve placed so the steam will circulate
 freely around the vegetables. Add water to the pot and bring to a rolling
 boil. Loosely place the vegetables in the basket no more than 2 inches deep.
 Place the basket of vegetables in the pot. Make sure the water does not come
 in contact with the vegetables. Cover and steam.
  ***** Cooling and Drying Prepared Vegetables
  After blanching, dip the vegetables briefly in cold water, only long enough
 to stop the cooking action. Do not cool them to room temperature. When they
 feel only slightly hot to the touch, they will be cooled to about 120ºF Drain
 the vegetables by pouring them directly onto the drying tray held over the
 sink. Wipe the excess water from underneath the tray and arrange the
 vegetables in a single layer. Then place the tray immediately in the
 dehydrator or oven. The heat left in the vegetables from blanching will cause
 the drying process to begin more quickly. Watch the vegetVegetables should be
 dried until they are brittle or “crisp.” Some vegetables would actually
 shatter if hit with a hammer. At this stage, they should contain about 10
 percent moisture. Because they are so dry, they do not need conditioning like
  Vegetables should be dried until they are brittle or “crisp.” Some vegetables
 would actually shatter if hit with a hammer. At this stage, they should
 contain about 10 percent moisture. Because they are so dry, they do not need
 conditioning like fruits.
 Compiled By Lisa Owner Fabfood Posted To Fabfood 5-15-98
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