Before the drying process
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CTA. 2008. Before the drying process. Rural Radio Resource Pack 08/1. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57368
Low-cost ways to ensure hygiene and obtain longer shelf life
Before the drying process Cue: Whether it?s sun drying or solar drying that you want to practise, there are certain things you should do before you dry foods. In Zimbabwe, Sylvia Jiyane discovered some good tips for improving the drying process. The process of steam blanching allows the fruit or vegetable to retain its colour during the drying process, and importantly, enhances the shelf life because it reduces the process of decay. But first, find out where to start. Before you do anything else, select your fruit or vegetables. And don?t be tempted to pick ripe fruits that have fallen from the trees! They are often over-ripe and will not allow you to cut them properly. Here is Tinashe Chikowore, from Environment Africa in Zimababwe, with some advice. IN: ?Select those that are still firm?? OUT: ?actually much sweeter.? DUR?N: 4?52? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: So dried fruits such as mangoes, and vegetables like cabbage, can retain plenty of vitamins and minerals when they are dried ? and they can keep for longer. That was Sylvia Jiyane talking to Tinashe Chikowore. The interview comes from a resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Chikowore Select those that are still firm but that have ripened. So after selecting these mangoes you then have to wash the mangoes. We then have to wash our hands so that we can then proceed to cut our mangoes. So when you are peeling your mangoes we just have to remove the skin. We then have to cut, slice into portions just similar to those like of fresh fried chips. We add also a little bit of lemon juice so as to minimise the loss of the colour and then press them in the dryer or do the drying process. Jiyane So for how long can somebody be enjoying mangoes after they have dried them the way you explained? Chikowore Yes you can enjoy your mangoes well for up to three months or even more but also it depends with the manner in which you store your mangoes. Your mangoes, since they have been dried they can quickly catch some water from the surroundings and quickly get bad. So what you need to do is to keep them in an airtight container and this airtight container should also not allow light in so that even the nutrients that are inside are not damaged by the light. Jiyane So can one dry any type of mango? Chikowore Yes you can dry any variety or type of mango. You need to take caution that it is not juicy because if it is very juicy it implies that you won?t even be able to cut it into nice manageable pieces. Any variety that is ripe and still firm that can be dried. So you need to separate the area or the place that you will be doing the selection with the place that you do the cutting before we then proceed to dry the mangoes. Why do we separate these areas? We want to minimise the transfer of the bacteria or the micro-organisms that will then spoil our end product. Jiyane So from the preservation methods that I have seen here is it something that a smallholder farmer can do? Chikowore Yes any smallholder farmer can do the drying. Jiyane And moving on to cabbage, what is crucial in drying cabbages? Chikowore Ok, it is also similar to mangoes. We also start with the selection process. We have to select the healthiest cabbage because we want to keep this cabbage for quite a long time. So after selecting that cabbage we should first also wash it and also separate the area where we will be doing the washing. So we just cut the cabbage in a similar way as we would want to when we are preparing maybe a cabbage relish. Then after doing that we need to blanch these vegetables because vegetables are different from fruits, they have actually enzymes that are inside which actually can proceed to work on the vegetables. So we need to inactivate these enzymes so that we can keep the vegetable for quite a long time. Jiyane You have been mentioning traditional methods, this is the conventional methods and according to you the idea is to maintain some level of nutrients in the dried product? Chikowore The dried products, they have a lot of concentrated nutrients minerals, proteins and even a large portion of the carbohydrates. It is just traditional that people would have to first pre-cook the vegetables but this is a disadvantage because during the pre-cooking we will actually lose a lot of nutrients that are water soluble. So to minimise this, what we can do is do this blanching. We can actually collect a rack that can be placed inside the pot, then we place water under that rack, then we actually use the steam to inactivate the enzymes that are inside these vegetables. What we are just trying to urge our communities to move from the traditional methods of boiling vegetables for quite a long time so that they loose the nutrients. Jiyane Finally what are the cost implications of all these drying methods? Chikowore Maybe the major problem is only the marketing side. We need to work much more on the standards so that if we develop suitable standards that can actually promote the marketing of our vegetables because maybe the people are actually worried about the hygienic status of the food. Jiyane Would I be right to say that selling mangoes, dried or even cabbages as we discussed in the programme dried would be much more profitable than selling them in their raw form? Chikowore Actually selling the dried products is more profitable. For example, people would actually want, they will prefer much dried mangoes as opposed to fresh mangoes. The advantage being that the mangoes they are not sticky and they are actually much sweeter. End of track