Why dried food?
Is that a question you find yourself asking?
Everyone knows the fresher the food the better. Right?
True- the closer it is to its optimal fresh state the better. However that means within hours of harvest which is almost impossible unless your picking the fruit yourself. As soon as berries are picked the will start loosing their antioxidants. Typically with store bought fresh berries its been picked many days or even weeks early before your getting it. Each day actually loosing key antioxidants. Furthermore it may have never been to full antioxidant capacity in the first place as most fresh berries are picked underripe and let ripen on their way to the store or actually artificially ripened with a chemical process. So unless your picking the berries themselves and eating them right away you would actually be better off going for frozen or dried berries.
Introducing the art of drying.
The process of drying food for preservation is a method that has been embraced by man kind for thousands of years. As early as 12,000 BC inhabitants of what is now the Middle East and regions of Asia are known to have regularly used the hot sun and air to preserve their food.A reason for its wide spread popularity and use around the world is that is an excellent way to preserve and store almost any type of food from meats and fish, to fruits, vegetables and fungi for long periods of time. This was especially useful to get through long winters, poor crops or long journeys, or just enjoying out of season treats. The process of drying involves removing moisture from the food itself, thus inhibiting the growth of bacteria, yeast and mold which are all responsible for the decomposition of food.There are many different ways to accomplish this, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. More traditional methods involve removing the water via evaporation ( air, sun and wind drying, or smoking ). Newer processes involve electric food dehydrators and freeze drying, which are much faster and yield a more consistent result.
Dried Food Fun Facts:
There are many advantages to including dried foods in your diet.
Did you know dried fruit is an excellent way to get an energy kick? With concentrated amounts of natural fruit sugars, dried fruit is a tasty alternative to a candy bar on those days when there is just no time to stop.
Did you know that astronauts eat pouches of Freeze dried food in space? After food is freeze dried it weighs just 10% of its initial weight. An important factor when going to space. It also retains excellent nutritional value, flavor and texture when re-hydrated.
Did you know that coffee was the first product to be freeze dried?
Different popular methods of drying:
Air drying, sun drying and wind drying are longer, more traditional forms of drying that may not be as effective as newer methods. The food is exposed to air, sun or wind and this is what evaporates the moisture within. In modern times some people have started adding preservatives such as potassium metabisulfite, BHA, or BHT to ensure longevity of the food.
The electric food dehydrator is a more modern method of dehydrating food. It uses a heat source and forced air flow to reduce moisture content in the food. This is a highly effective way of drying food. In this process meats are usually heated to around 158'F and fruit's and veggies around 130'F. The only issue with here is that by heating the food to higher temperatures it is causing physical reactions in the food that result in a loss of nutritional value.
Freeze drying is the newest and thus far most effective way of drying ( the most expensive too). It uses a process called lyophilization to lower the temperature of the food to freezing. Next, a high pressure vacuum is used to extract the water in the form of vapor. This vapor collects on a condenser, turns back to ice and is removed. Lastly, a steady temperture rise extracts all remaining 'bound' moisture from the food. This retains the maximum nutritional value and flavor. A highly effective way to healthily preserve food.
Ready to try some delicious, all natural, additive, oil and sugar free dried fruit??
We have both organic and wild dried berries and mushrooms!
Blueberry Almond Bars
- 1/2 pound organic almonds
- Preheat an oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking dish.
- Grind the almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and oats in a food processor until they resemble a coarse meal. Stir the ground mixture in a bowl with the cranberries, blueberries, maple syrup, and cinnamon until evenly combined. Moisten your hands with water and press the mixture into the prepared pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven until toasted, about 1 hour until toasted. Cool completely in the baking dish. Cut into 16 bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
Dried Blueberry Lemon Cake
- Makes 12 servings
- TOTAL TIME
- 45 minutes
- 3 cups self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 1/3 cups dried wild blueberries (about 10 ounces)
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
- Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk self-rising flour and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl. Using fingertips, rub in chilled butter until pieces are size of small peas. Add dried wild blueberries and toss to coat. Mix 1 cup buttermilk and finely grated lemon peel in glass measuring cup. Pour buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients and stir until dough begins to form (some of flour will not be incorporated). Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and gather together. Knead dough briefly, about 5 turns. Divide dough in half. Form each dough half into ball and flatten into 1-inch-thick disk. Cut each disk into 6 wedges.
- Transfer scones to prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Brush tops with remaining 1 tablespoon buttermilk and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until scones are golden brown on top and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.