Choosing the Right Oven For Drying Foods
Food drying is an alternative method of food preserving where food is dried for later consumption. Dried foods are used mainly for foods that spoil easily, such as dried meat and dried fruits. Dried food products also serve as an emergency food supply for people who have lost their homes and other properties due to natural disasters. Dried foods are also preferred by some for health reasons.
There are three common ways of drying foods: air-drying, cold-flower and microwave air-drying. All of these methods preserve the food for a certain period of time but vary according to food quality. Air-dried food products are those dried using low heat or air pressure methods. Microwave air-dried foods are those dried using microwaves which are known to be very high temperatures. The food quality of dried fruits, such as dried pineapple, is not affected if placed in a microwave. Therefore, they are good options for food storage.
However, there are several factors that need to be considered when choosing an oven or ovens to dry foods. These factors include choosing a suitable cooking medium, appropriate drying temperature, appropriate ventilation, cleanliness, and suitable drying method. Cooking mediums should be appropriate for the intended usage. For example, a thin ceramic plate is better than a metal or stainless steel plate in ovens where high heat is required. Air circulation should also be appropriate; dry food products require more air circulation than wet ones to prevent spoilage soft dried coconut.
Dried fruits, such as dried pineapple, are good options for drying foods in low oven temperatures. These products do not require high oven temperatures for drying. However, the moisture content of dried fruits is low which affects the crispiness of the product. Aside from being a good option for low-heat drying, dried foods with a high moisture content can be kept for months, years, or even decades at low temperatures.
Dried foods with a low moisture content require longer baking times. One advantage of using dehydrated fruit is the longer time it takes for dehydrated food products to brown. Dried fish and meat are good examples of dehydrated food products that take longer to brown than dried fruit slices. Using an airtight covering to pack the food prior to sealing it in an oven will improve browsing speed and improve browning quality.
Prior to sealing the dried foods in containers, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water to remove any surface dirt and food particles. Good quality plastic containers should be used for storing dehydrated fruit slices or other food products that take longer to brown. However, it is best to use good quality plastic containers that can be washed and reused for storing purposes.