Drying is the oldest method of preserving food. The early American settlers dried foods such as corn, apple slices, currants, grapes, and meat. Compared with other methods, drying is quite simple. In fact, you may already have most of the equipment on hand. Dried foods keep well because the moisture content is so low that spoilage organisms cannot grow. Drying will never replace canning and freezing because these methods do a better job of retaining the taste, appearance, and nutritive value of fresh food. But drying is an excellent way to preserve foods that can add variety to meals and provide delicious, nutritious snacks. One of the biggest advantages of dried foods is that they take much less storage space than canned or frozen foods. Recommended methods for canning and freezing have been determined by research and widespread experience. Home drying, however, does not have firmly established procedures. Food can be dried several ways, for example, by the sun if the air is hot and dry enough, or in an oven or dryer if the climate is humid. With the renewed interest in gardening and natural foods and because of the high cost of commercially dried products, drying foods at home is becoming popular again. Drying is not difficult, but it does take time and a lot of attention. Although there are different drying methods, the guidelines remain the same. Although solar drying is a popular and very inexpensive method, Illinois does not have a suitable climate for it. Dependable solar dehydration of foods requires 3 to 5 consecutive days when the temperature is 95 degrees F. and the humidity is very low. The average relative humidity in central Illinois on days with 95 degrees F. temperatures is usually 86 percent. Solar drying is thus not feasible. Drying food in the oven of a kitchen range, on the other hand, can be very expensive. In an electric oven, drying food has been found to be nine to twelve times as costly as canning it. Food dehydrators are less expensive to operate but are only useful for a few months of the year. A convection oven can be the most economical investment if the proper model is chosen. A convection oven that has a controllable temperature starting at 120 degrees F. and a continuous operation feature rather than a timer-controlled one will function quite well as a dehydrator during the gardening months. For the rest of the year it can be used as a tabletop oven.
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AMLA, an edible fruit indigenous to tropical India, has extensive adaptability to grow in diverse climatic and soil conditions. It is a rich source of vitamin C and is used for manufacturing medicines to treat diseases such as diabetes, skin diseases, leprosy, jaundice and in hair oil to prevent greying of hair. A number of processed products such as amla pulp, squash, candy pickle and sauce are also prepared from the fruit. Enhanced demand The growing popularity for alternate medicines and herbal products has enhanced the demand for this fruit. Like other herbs, amla has been in used as a medicine for centuries in India.  Though the trees continue to bear fruits till 60-70 years of age, the fruiting season is short and is usually October to January. The harvested fruits have a short shelf life and cannot be preserved for a long period. Raw fruits are not consumed due to high acid content and astringent taste. Hence processing and storage is essential especially for farmers who are cultivating this crop in an extensive area. Seed removal Usually for most of the value added preparations from amla, the seed has to be manually removed from the fruit and then used. In normal practice, the seed is removed by blanching or by shredding.    But during blanching (immersing the fruits in boiling water), valuable nutrients are lost and by shredding, the flesh of the fruit is damaged and the juice is lost or wasted. Researchers at the Post Harvest Technology Centre of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore, have developed a technology whereby the seeds can be removed without causing any damage to the flesh and at the same time increasing the shelf life of the fruit. Minimum juice loss "The equipment could be utilized for the seed removal from the fresh fruit with minimum loss of juice and the whole seedless fruit can be used for preparation of value added products, The hand-operated seed removing equipment consists of a fruit-punching rod, fruit resting seat, handle with extension and a frame to hold all the important movable parts. The fruit, which is to be destoned, is kept on the seat on the platform, which has hole at the centre of the seat. A rod connected to the handle punches the fruit with a shock load, which makes the seed portion of the fruit to move down through the hole provided at the centre of the seat.   After every punching the seed is removed and the fruit has a hole at the centre. Specification: Made up of stainless steel Base platform 3 mm thickness  and size is 220mm x 160mm Main post is 35 mm diameter with 2 mm thickness and height 250 mm Maximum amla size is 40mm diameter approximately. Total weight is 2.8 Kg. Removes seed from about 17 kg of amla per hour
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