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Benefits of Drying Food:

Molds, yeast and bacteria need water to grow. When foods are sufficiently dehydrated (dried), microorganisms cannot grow and foods will not spoil. Dried fruits and fruit leathers may be used as snack foods; dried vegetables may be added to soups, stews or casseroles. Campers and hikers value dried foods for their light weight, keeping qualities and ease of preparation.

Nutritional value:

The nutritive value of food is affected by the dehydration process. Vitamins A and C are destroyed by heat and air. Using a sulfite treatment prevents the loss of some vitamins, but causes the destruction of thiamin. Blanching vegetables before drying (to destroy enzymes) results in some loss of Vitamin C, B-complex vitamins and some minerals because these are all water soluble. On the other hand, blanching does reduce loss of vitamins A, C and thiamin during dehydration and storage.

There are more calories in dried foods on a weight-for-weight basis because of the concentration of nutrients. For example, 100 grams of fresh apricots have 51 calories, while 100 grams of dried apricots have 260 calories. In general, dried foods are not a major part of the American diet and nutrient loss is, therefore, not a concern. Nutritive value, as well as flavor and appearance, is best protected by low temperature and low humidity during storage.

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Last Updated on January 12, 2000

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