Merits of Freezing Dried Fruits and Vegetables
Here are a few merits that will help you choose frozen dried fruits and vegetables as a source of nutrition.
Reduced Food Mass: Any fresh fruit or vegetable is known to contain almost 90% water. When these fruits and vegetables are dried, they lose 90% of their weight without actually losing out on their colors, textures, tastes and nutritional value.
Preserves Food Longer: It is agreed that there is no comparison with consuming fresh fruits and vegetables. However, freezing and drying methods help to preserve food for longer. Drying methods take away all the moisture from the food which makes it less susceptible to degradation by bacteria. Similarly freezing keeps a tab on the temperature of fruits and vegetables. The two process in combination help to preserve the quality of food for longer. Some such foods even last as long as one year.
Rehydration Possible: For frozen and dried foods, it is always possible to turn them back into their original form. All you need to do is unfreeze the food by allowing them to thaw. Then boil or steam the fruits and vegetables to get them rehydrated. An option to this method is just thawing the frozen food and using them at room temperature. These foods will absorb the moisture present in the other ingredients of the dish you wish to prepare.
Healthier and Tastier: It is often said that frozen and dried foods tastes better than their original form. A common example is that of dried fruits consumed by us. However, there are a few exceptions to the nutrition and health factors of dried fruits and vegetables. If the drying process takes place in a natural way, the fruits are first boiled and then dried thoroughly using solar heat. This removes the water content of fruits as well as traces of any micro-organisms in the fruit. The output is just as healthy as a fresh fruit. On the other hand, if drying process is done using chemicals like sulfur dioxide, then it is best to stay away from such foods.
Reduction in Price: Frozen and dried foods are often cheaper than fresh fruits and vegetables due to reduction in their weight.
Round the Year Nourishment: It is said that you should get all parts of nutrition all round the year to stay healthy. Eating frozen food will help you do just that. And who knows, by freezing food, you might get a chance to eat a rare seasonal fruit at the most unexpected time of the year!
Drying and Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
The logical order towards this preservation technique is first drying or dehydrating fruits and vegetables and then freezing them at controlled temperatures.
- It is first essential to choose the best quality and ripe fruits and vegetables. Raw fruits and vegetables may not seem very tasty in the long run while overripe fruits and vegetables might be too mushy. Foods should be checked for any undetected fungal growth before the process is started.
- Chosen fruits and vegetables should be soaked in a solution of water and sodium bisulfite for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from the solution and dry them immediately. This process helps to preserve the natural food colors and flavors.
- Now expose the food to sulfuring process by using fumes of the flaming sulfur. This treatment helps avoid release of vitamins A and C from the food.
- The next step involves chopping and slicing fruits and vegetables into even sized pieces. You may or may not peel the fruits and vegetables.
- Now arrange the fruits and vegetables on a clean tray. Ideally use a try that allows a good air circulation. Do not overcrowd the tray with many pieces.
- You may now use natural solar radiations or a state-of-the-art dehydrator to dry the fruits and vegetables. Other common methods are solar and oven dryers. Monitor the drying process at regular intervals.
- You can check for completion of drying process by understanding the expected food textures. Dried fruits usually tend to be leathery while many dried vegetables turn hard and brittle. They just tend to break when bent.
- When satisfied with the drying process, you can fill the fruits and vegetables in clean and dry airtight bags or containers. Use a vaccumizer if required.
- Now store the packed bags and containers in your refrigerator. Take care to maintain a good freezing temperature in your refrigerator all round the year.