Dried foods are those foods that have been completely cooked and they are dried using methods such as air cooling or heating. Food drying is a popular method of food preserving where food is dried by eliminating all air and moisture. Drying hinders the growth of fungi, yeasts, molds, and bacteria through the loss of moisture in food. Foods dried using this method also last longer than those dried using the air method. The drying of foods using high temperatures is called drying to eliminate moisture, therefore it is referred to as “high temperature drying.”
Most dried foods are commonly used for baking and cooking. Apricots are one of the oldest dried foods. It was discovered that drying apricots without destroying the core of the fruit led to greater shelf-life and increased flavor and color. Apricots that had been dried at low temperature for a week were found to retain almost all of their original flavor and color. Low temperature methods can also be used to dry other fruits including apples, dates, raisins, dried plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines, pineapples, mangoes, prunes, persimmons, and even some honey.
Dried herbs are also popular in many recipes. Herbs such as basil, mint, sage, thyme, oregano, summer savory, parsley, bay leaves, marjoram, chervil, fennel, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, cumin, fennel, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and turmeric can be added to a pot of boiling water to dry. Other herbs commonly used for dried foods include dried orange peel, dried pineapple pieces, dried grapefruit, dried grapefruits, dried herbs, dried orange peel, and dried papayas. All of these recipes can be used as gifts, snacks, or in any number of other ways soft dried passionfruit.
Dried fruits can also be used in the same way as the above-mentioned recipes. Dried apricots, cashews, dates, grapes, mangoes, lemons, limes, pineapples, bananas, apples, pears, cherries, dates, and grapefruits can be placed into one of the specially designed airtight plastic airtight canning jars with lids. These can be stored for several months, or sometimes years. Jars with one or two layer water-tight lids work best for drying foods that will be used immediately. Food that needs to be dried in a few days should be placed in a single layer pan in the refrigerator.
Some common brand names of airtight plastic bags for drying foods include Reis, Fina, San Francisco, Eveready, and Smartpack. Airtight canning jars are available from many different manufacturers, including Driscoll, Hamptonware, Clorets, Maytag, and Cuisinart. These brands are available in different sizes, shapes, colors, and airtightness. Plastic bags for drying dry fruits and other products are made of different material from which the containers are made, including fiberglass, aluminum, metal, glass, and plastic.
The quality of airtight canning jars depends on the materials they are made of. High quality jars allow air to flow freely throughout the plastic container, which helps keep it dry. Plastic and aluminum containers have a higher percentage of air permeability, which increases the time it takes to dried foods to pass through them and out of the containers. The shelf life of dried foods prepared in containers with high air permeability is about fifteen years.