The prosperity of home farming in Lebanon, which spread due to the quarantine on the one hand, and the economic situation and high prices on the other hand, was accompanied by a boom in industries related to agricultural production, including vegetables, fruits and dried herbs.
People adopt 3 methods in their homes to dry fruits, and some people have shared their experiences with Al-Jazeera Net about the methods they use to obtain dried fruit.
From his garden to the oven
Nabil Hourani, who adopts organic farming in his private garden in the south, grows his balcony in Mount Lebanon using the hydroponic method (i.e. hydroponics), and he dries his fruits in the oven.
Hourani explains the method and states that he first washed the fruits and dried them from the water, then removed the pits from them, and put them in the oven at a temperature not exceeding 120 degrees down to 90 and 70 degrees Celsius, while using the oven fan to distribute the heat evenly.
He says that each type has a duration that differs from the other according to its richness in water, but not less than 5 hours, then he leaves it to cool down, and puts it in bags that draw air from it. He added that his idea was to take advantage of the surplus fruit to be used in the winter as an alternative to fruit or in sweets, or even to use some of them in the Lebanese cuisine, such as prunes, as chicken gives a distinct flavor, as well as adding some to the salads such as dried apricots and chopped into small pieces or Vesalis. Arab countries Al-Harankh.
Hourani often dries peaches, apricots and prunes because he likes the sweet and sour taste at the same time, does not add any sugar, and says that drying them makes them taste more sweet.
Nabil never prefers drying in the sun because insects may bleach in the fruit, and some dust may also enter it, and the oven is more practical, cleaner and time-saving.
Hala Boutros is drying the fruits recently, after she bought a special machine for drying, and although it takes a long time, ie no less than 6 to 8 hours, she gets clean and fresh dried fruits without any preservatives.
After washing it, Hala cuts the fruit and then dries it with a cloth to absorb the largest amount of liquid, then puts it in a machine that works as a hair dryer, i.e. with hot air, and then puts it in glass boxes to prevent the air from being wilted.
Hala dries kiwi, bananas, apples, lemons, manga and all that comes to mind of fruit, and says that the children loved it because it is crunchy, and it is easier for snacks, especially at school.
And she finds that drying in the sun requires a lot of know-how, and she had previously tried, but she needed large strainers, a muslin cloth to prevent insects and dust, and a longer time – at least 3 days – without a guarantee that it was dried properly.
But her aunt dries the figs in the sun after cutting it in two parts, puts it on a white cloth, and covers it with a “mosquito net” to prevent insects, then leaves it in the sun for at least 3 days to dry, and saves it in a bag or jar.
Sun drying machine
For her part, Hawra Odeh says that she is drying the fruits produced by her organic garden in Baalbek, which contains apricots, plums, grapes of all kinds, white, red and black berries, apples, pears, quince, peaches, figs, cherries, pomegranates, hawthorn and persimmons.
As for her drying method, it is according to the seasons, in the summer she benefits from the sun, and she dries the grapes and turns them into raisins after adding olive oil and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and also prefers when making Qamaruddin to take advantage of the sun’s rays after adding black berries to it, and says that she puts it On a large canvas on the roof of the house, and protect it with appropriate fabrics.
Likewise, you prefer to dry the figs in the sun, and after drying it you put it with boiled water and anise to sterilize it and add nuts to it. Dryers are used in food sometimes, so you add raisins, for example, to rice.
Nymph dries the lemon in a dehydration machine, and adds to it chocolate and some nuts such as pistachios, cashews and almonds, and says that the fruit must be ripe in a medium degree to preserve its shape, but if it is very ripe, it turns it into types of Qamar al-Din.
Nymph dries kiwi, pineapple, bananas and other overflowing fruits in the machine, and add to some powdered sugar or granules, as children usually prefer.
She says that the difference between the sun and the machine is that the latter is faster in time and cleaner, but the taste is the same.
Nutritionist Kla Daher says that drying fruits loses between 10 and 80% of their vitamins, especially vitamin C (), and drying in the sun makes them lose more vitamins, compared to freezing.
Fruits also lose their fluids, and when used in any diet, we can replace the dried fruit with the same number and not the weight. A fresh apple corresponds to a dried apple, and a spoonful of raisins equals a portion of fruit.
But you must pay attention completely to the fact that the fruit does not contain added sugar, confirming that some dried fruits sold may contain sulfates to maintain their bright color, and may cause allergies.
She points out that drying fruits concentrates the flavors in them, and allows preserving the fruit for a much longer period, as it is an easy way to consume more fiber despite the loss of vitamins. Dried fruits are completely a healthy food, but you should be careful about added sugars and sulfates, in addition to paying attention to the quantities consumed. .