Dried fruit

Dried fruit or dried fruit . Dried fruits not only prolong the flavor of summer but also provide us with a different sweetness. The drying or dehydration to which some fresh fruits are subjected is an operation aimed at reducing to the maximum the content of water in the constitution of the fruit, in order to paralyze the action of the germs that need humidity to live. To achieve this purpose, natural heat (exposure to the sun) or artificial heat (combustion of wood or coal, gas or electricity) is used.

Summary

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  • 1 Types of drying
  • 2 Origin and varieties
  • 3 How to choose and keep them?
  • 4 Nutritional properties
  • 5 Fiber
  • 6 Rich in minerals
  • 7 Keep in mind
  • 8 Sources

Types of drying

Polyethylene for drying plums

Natural drying in the sun

The fruits are left to dry in the open air, so this process can only be carried out in regions that are highly favored by the climate. This procedure gives excellent results and preserves all the flavor and qualities of the fruit.

Food dehydrator

Desiccation by artificial heat

Both the oven and the microwave guarantee good results, because it allows to regulate the evaporation progressively. It starts at a low temperature, from 45 to 50 degrees, which gradually rises to 65 or 70, depending on the type of fruit treated. With artificial drying the operation is completed in 8 or 10 hours; in the microwave, depending on the fruit, from 30 minutes to 1 hour, while in the open air it is necessary to have 6 or 8 days or more.

Origin and varieties

Dried fruits such as apricot apricots , peaches , plums, raisins and dried figs were part of the traditional cuisine of many countries as early as the Middle Ages. In Europe at that time, veal cakes with plums and dates were tasted, pickled fish was accompanied with raisins and figs and ducks with fruit. The large empanadas contained a mixture of beef, chicken , eggs , dates, plums and raisins, generously spiced and enhanced with saffron . In Turkey , Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the countries of North Africa traditionally remains the lamb with prunes, apricots, almonds, honey and spices, and the chicken is still cooked with prunes, quinces, dates or raisins .

The most appreciated raisins are obtained from the seedless varieties, with low acidity and rich in sugars. Similar raisins are currently produced in different parts of the world, especially in California . The small currants from Corinth come from black seedless grapes, native to the surroundings of the city of the same name in Greece. They are identified by their dark color, their pronounced aroma, they lack pips and are much smaller than the rest. The most recognized raisins sultanas are obtained from the white seedless grapes that grow in the surroundings of the city of Izmir, in Turkey. They are light-colored, seedless and extraordinarily sweet raisins, making them the most widely used in pastry and pastry. Although both varieties are produced today in many other places, they still prevail with their old denominations. In Spain , Malaga grapes have Designation of Origin, are of high quality, come from the Moscatel grape and are large, sweet and seedy.

How to choose and keep them?

When acquiring dried fruits, care must be taken that their appearance and color are uniform and do not have too many wrinkles. Some dried fruits, such as plums and grapes , can be purchased whole, pitted or pitted, so before buying they are interested in knowing how they will be used to make the correct choice.

To achieve a perfect preservation and prevent them from drying out excessively, the dried fruits must be stored in tightly closed glass jars and in a cool, dry place, protected from light and insects. They stay that way for months. They should not be kept in plastic bags, as they would end up moldy.

Nutritional properties

During the drying of fresh fruit, its water content is reduced, which results in the concentration of nutrients. The calorific value of dried fruit is high (from 163 calories per 100 grams of dried plums to 264 calories of the raisins) for the abundance of carbohydrates carbon simple. They are an excellent source of potassium , calcium , iron and provitamin A (beta-carotene) and niacin or B3. The vitamin CIn greater quantity, they are lost during drying in fresh fruits. They are a quintessential source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which gives it healthy properties to improve intestinal transit. The use of calcium from these foods is worse than that from dairy or other foods that are a good source of this mineral.

Potassium is necessary for the transmission and generation of the nervous impulse, for normal muscular activity and it intervenes in the balance of water inside and outside the cell. Beta-carotene is transformed into vitamin A in our body as it needs it. This vitamin is essential for vision, the good condition of the skin, hair, mucosa, bones and for the proper functioning of the immune system, in addition to having antioxidant properties. Magnesium is related to the functioning of the intestine, nerves and muscles, is part of bones and teeth, improves immunity and has a mild laxative effect. The vitamin B3 or niacin involved in various stages of metabolism and utilization of carbohydrates carbon, fatty acids and amino acids among other substances. Dried fruits combine very well with breakfast cereals and enrich it with vitamins, minerals and fiber, which can be an interesting alternative for people of all ages, with the idea of ​​making this first meal of the day attractive, varied and with new flavors.

These foods constitute an ideal restorative supplement to the diet and, due to their extra contribution in sugars and calories, they are particularly appropriate when practicing long-term sports or intense physical exertion, so it should always be part of the mountaineers’ and hikers. Its consumption is not recommended in case of overweight and obesity, since its caloric content is four to six times higher than that of the fresh fruit of origin, and must be taken into account by people with diabetes and hypertriglyceridemia, due to its concentration in simple sugars.

Fiber

Its fiber content makes dried fruits interesting foods in different situations or diseases. Soluble fiber abounds in its composition, which has the capacity to form viscous gels that fix fat and cholesterol , thereby reducing the absorption of these substances; reason why moderate consumption of dried fruits is positive in case of hypercholesterolemia, if it is not associated with excess weight.

Plums and dried figs, in particular, for their large amount of insoluble fiber, are very effective foods to treat constipation. Insoluble fiber increases the speed of intestinal transit and with it the evacuation of faeces (laxative effect); It sequesters bile acids, which are eliminated in the faeces, which forces the body to synthesize more acids from cholesterol, and as a consequence it lowers total cholesterol. Insoluble fiber carries cholesterol and carcinogens; they spend less time in contact with the mucosa, thus reducing the risk of hypercholesterolemia and bowel cancer.

Dried fruits, being dehydrated, are foods concentrated in nutrients, including iron, so its consumption is indicated in case of iron deficiency anemia. To promote the absorption of iron, these fruits must be combined with foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus or its juice, kiwi , tropical fruits, etc. The apricot apricots, peach and dried figs stand out above the rest for their iron content. Apricot and peach apricots are an excellent source of beta-carotene or provitamin A, with antioxidant activity, therefore it has a preventive action in degenerative, cardiovascular and cancer diseases. Organic acids: (0.5% – 6%): they influence the taste and aroma of fruits. Citric Acid ( Citrus, Strawberry , Pear …), enhances the action of vitamin C and exerts a disinfecting and alkalinizing action on urine. Other organic acids in fruits are malic ( apples , cherries, plums, apricots) and salicylic (strawberries and strawberries), the latter with an anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory action.

Phytochemical elements (colorants, aromas and phenolic compounds): despite being present in very low concentrations, they decisively influence the acceptance and appetite for fruits, and many of them are also antioxidants that contribute to reducing the risk of degenerative diseases , cardiovascular and even Cancer .

Rich in minerals

Dried fruits are one of the foods with the highest concentration of potassium, so its consumption is especially recommended for those who take diuretics that eliminate potassium and for people with bulimia, since large amounts of this mineral are lost due to self-induced vomiting. However, for people with kidney failure who require controlled diets of potassium, the consumption of dried fruits is contraindicated. The magnesium richness of these fruits makes them interesting in situations where the needs for this mineral are increased. : chronic intestinal malabsorption, alcoholism, treatment with certain medications. Likewise, diets rich in refined foods (white bread, white rice, sugar, pasta …), usually have a lower magnesium content than those rich invegetables and whole grains. The mineral is lost during the refinement of cereals, such as wheat flour and rice, and food processing, such as sugar, and is not added as part of cereal enrichment.

Must take into account

Regular consumption of dried fruits can favor the appearance of dental caries. The sticky consistency of dried fruits makes them adhere to the denture, so it is advisable to brush your teeth after consuming them. During the industrial drying process of these fruits, liquid paraffin is usually used or sulfur dioxide is added to prevent them from drying out excessively, although they can transmit their flavor and contaminate the taste of the fruit, so it is preferable to purchase dried fruits organic as far as possible. In addition, sulfites cause asthma attacks in some allergic individuals or allergic reactions in sensitive people.

Dried fruits are more indigestible than the fresh ones from which they come, so their consumption is not recommended for those who suffer from digestive problems (slow and heavy digestion, flatulence, delicate stomach …), although they can be taken in the form of compote . Dates contain tyramine, a substance that causes constriction of blood vessels, which can cause migraine in prone people. The oxalic acid contained in dried figs can form salts with certain minerals such as calcium and form calcium oxalate, so consumption should be avoided if you suffer from this type of kidney stone, as this could aggravate the situation.

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