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News For Dried Fruits and
Dried fruits started the whole convenience-food
When you hear the
words "convenience food," I'll bet you think of things such as prepackaged
entrees or frozen foods. Think dried fruits
They are one of the
oldest and most creative methods of food preservation. How's this for
convenience: They need no peeling, there's nothing left to throw away and they
are easy to carry and store.
Water, water . . . no
where! Simply put, drying makes the fruit live longer. Fresh fruits contain
moisture, which is good for organisms that spoil fruits because the organisms
feed on this moisture.
Dried fruits have most
of the moisture content removed, which is mainly water. The result is a fruit
with flavor galore. The concentrated sugars in dried fruits serve as a natural
preservative, making storage simple.
Drying fruits is a
practice that has been used for centuries. Native Americans used both sun and
smoke techniques to dry fruits. Eastern cultures wrapped fruits in palm leaves,
then buried them in hot sand to dry. All of this was necessary in order to
survive as well as to transport food to different
Today, we get
commercially dried fruits through a much quicker and more consistent method.
Since sun-drying depends completely on sunlight, which is different in various
climates, other methods of drying fruits have evolved, such as drying in an oven
or using the electric dehydrator.
How do I know . . . If
dried fruit has "gone bad?" Manufacturers have made it easy by printing a "best
if used by" date on the package. That doesn't need to be your only
Due to oxidation,
apricots, peaches, apples, tomatoes and other fruits will darken after drying.
You will frequently see this in home dried products. The process is delayed by
the use of sulfur dioxide. So use your eyes, and if darkening is beginning to
take place, use the product quickly. Darkened fruit will not hurt you, but it
looks less appetizing.
Also, natural sugaring
will sometimes occur in figs, dates and prunes as a result of the variables in
the growing season. This condition will be displayed as white granules when the
sugar rises to the surface of the fruit. Again, it will not diminish the taste,
only the appearance of these fruits.
Rehydrating: More than
80% of the moisture is removed when fruit is dried. To make it more like the
fresh fruit it once was, you need to rehydrate or plump the fruit. Rehydrating
is the process of adding back the moisture that was originally
It's easy to do. Just
put the desired amount of dried fruit in a saucepan and completely cover with
liquid. The liquid can be water, wine, juice or cider. Bring the mixture to a
boil, then remove from heat. Cover and let stand for five minutes. Then drain
and use in recipes. n
Tammy T. Algood is
food marketing agent with University of Tennessee
Extension, 834-5162 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Dried fruit
at a glance
Nutrition: The same nutritional boost you get
from fresh fruit is present in the dried form. However, dried fruits are more
calorically dense than their fresh counterparts. It is recommended that you
consume half the serving of dried that you would of fresh.
Storage: Before opening, store dried fruit in a
cool, dry place. After opening, close the bag tightly and store in the
refrigerator. Unopened packages will keep up to eight
Types: There are lots of dried fruit options on
the market. In addition to the common ones, you'll find great dried tropical
fruits, as well as cranberries and cherries.
Dried Kiwi Slices: $ 68.5 / case (22 lbs). Only $ 3.1 per pound
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