Outdoor Food Drying Methods
Important Outdoor Food Drying Methods:
- Sun Drying
- Solar Drying
- Vine Drying
Outdoor Food Drying Method 1 – Sun Drying
Drying food in the sun is a safe and economical way to store food, especially fruits. However, meat and vegetables are low in sugar and acid and cannot be dried outdoors. Fruits are high in sugar and acid, making sun-drying safe and easy. Meat and vegetables are best dried indoors in a controlled oven or dehydrator because temperature and humidity are essential when storing these food groups.
Both warm temperatures and constant winds are needed to dry food in the sun. A minimum temperature of 85 degrees F is essential, but higher temperatures are clearly superior. At higher temperatures, water is extracted and the wind releases it into the surrounding air. Low humidity is also essential for successful sunlight drying. Due to the high humidity in the south, sun drying is difficult. Humidity below 60% is ideal.
Sun-dried raisins are probably the most widely known dried fruit. The sunny parts of California produce most of these raisins for simple reasons. The San Joaquin Valley has warm temperatures, low humidity, and constant wind. These conditions are ideal for drying and storing fruits, especially grapes.
Solar drying is a slow and time-consuming process because the weather is unpredictable and uncontrollable. Furthermore, it is this unpredictability that makes sun drying a dangerous process. In California, for example, sudden rains can ruin the entire supply of raisins. Not only that, achieving the ideal combination of temperature, humidity, and airflow is often difficult, which inspires you to look for other food drying methods.
Fruits that are sun-dried need to be protected from the cold evening air that can return moisture to the fruits. Therefore, fruits should be brought in every night or placed in some form of shelter to protect against night dew.
Outdoor Food Drying Method 2 – Solar Drying
Solar drying is the result of technological advances made in the field of sun drying. Solar drying is the process of drying food using the thermal energy of the sun with a special dehydrator that not only raises the temperature but also improves the airflow. This speeds up the food drying process and reduces the risk of mold and spoilage of the food.
Solar dryers use reflectors such as glass and aluminum to raise the temperature and vents at both ends to improve airflow. The technique and system are fairly simple. Cold air enters the dryer to remove moisture and escape. The surface of the reflector helps raise the heat by 20 ° F to 30 ° F. The plastic cover protects the food, prevents rain and dew from getting wet, and the screen above the vent prevents birds and insects from attacking the fruit.
You may need to change the position of the solar dryer throughout the day to maximize the heat you receive from the sun. Also, the food needs to be agitated several times to ensure even drying.
Solar dehydrators are easily available in many variations. You can also make them at home once you have the necessary instructions.
Outdoor Food Drying Method 3 – Vine Drying
Vine drying is another simple and effective way to dry food outdoors. This method is especially useful for beans and lentils. To dry beans such as kidneys, soybeans, lima, the navy, and lentils, all you need to do is place the bean pods on the vine and let them stand until they rattle. Relatively easy as no food pretreatment is required. When the bean pods are completely dry, pick them and peel them. If necessary, you can further dry by drying in the sun, oven, or a commercial dehydrator.
Outdoor Food Drying Method 4 – Sterilization
It is important to treat sun and vine-dried fruits and beans to kill insects and their eggs. You can use either of these two methods for this purpose. The first is the freezer system. To do so, simply put the dried food in a frozen plastic bag, put it in a freezer set to 0 degrees F or below, and let it sit for at least 48 hours.
The second is the oven method. To do this, place the food in a single layer or shallow pan in a tray, then place the tray or pan in an oven preheated to 160 degrees F for 30 minutes.