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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 128



Thoughts: Earth Diet reader Nick Dale suggested I do some research on food dehydration!!! Wooo wooo :)

Dehydration of food is one of the oldest methods of preserving food for later use. It can either be an alternative to canning and freezing or a compliment to these methods. With modern food dehydrators, drying food is simple, safe and easy to learn. Dried food is great in traditional cooking recipes and can save you a lot of time in the kitchen during meal preparation time. Dried foods are also ideal for camping and backpacking as they take up little weight or space and do not require refrigeration. Kids really love fruit leathers too, which make a healthy nutritious snack food. It sounds like a good idea for somewhere like where I am now, in Florence, Alabama USA (filming The Man In The Maze). It is cold weather so there aren't as many fruits and vegetables in season and the supermarkets are importing fruits and vegetables. So if they dried fruits in the summer, they could still eat them in the winter.

Drying is a method of food preservation that works by removing water from the food, which inhibits the growth of microorganisms and hinders quality decay. Drying food using sun and wind to prevent spoilage has been practised since ancient times. Water is usually removed by evaporation (air drying, sun drying, smoking or wind drying) but, in the case of freeze-drying, food is first frozen and then the water is removed by sublimation. Bacteria yeasts and moulds need the water in the food to grow. Drying effectively prevents them from surviving in the food. There is, however, a loss of vitamin A and C in dried foods due to heat and air. It usually takes vegetables 6-16 hours to dry, and fruit 12-48 hours. One can dry fruit and vegetables, and make jerky and fruit leather.

You can dry: (for a full list visit the link below)
-seeds
-herbs
-fruits (you can make banana chips)
-meats (jerky)
-seeds
-popcorn
-vegetables

How do I dry?
-Choose Which Drying Method is Right For You
Sun Drying This is rather difficult because you need three to four sunny days of at least 100 degrees in a row.

Oven Drying Oven drying is an acceptable method of drying food, but it isn't very energy efficient, and foods aren't very flavorful in the end. If your oven cannot obtain temperatures below 200 degrees farenheit, use another method for food dehydration. You will need to prop open the oven door to maintain air circulation during the drying process.

Electric Dehydrating This is the best method of dehydrating food. An electric dehydrator is energy efficient and can be operated at low temperatures needed to maintain nutritive values in the food. Your electric food dehydrator should have some sort of heat control and a fan to maintain air circulation during the drying process.

What are other uses of a food dehydrator?
Besides being used during peak season to preserve food, a food dehydrator can be used for proofing breads, making yogurt or cheese, drying seeds, curing nuts, de-crystallizing honey and drying crafts.



For a whole list of fruits and vegetables that you can dry and how to do it for each individual item go to http://www.canningpantry.com/dehydration-of-food.html

For a recipe to make a fruit leather see below. (mmm mmm yummy snack!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drying_(food)
http://www.canningpantry.com/dehydration-of-food.html
http://farmgal.tripod.com/Dehydrate.html

Challenges: No challenges today on the Earth Diet :)

Triumphs: Sophia a beautiful princess working on "The Man In The Maze" and she came back from set today and told me that she ate a salad today instead of her usual lunch. She said it's only a little change, and I said A LITTLE CHANGE IT A BIG CHANGE!!! Love it :) Good on you girlfriend! ;)

What I Ate Today:

Breakfast: Orange. 1 avocado.

Lunch: Indian, rice with spices, tumeric, onion, potato, corriander. 1 avocado.

Dinnner: A salad with green lettuce leaves, spinach, avocado, alfalfa sprouts and a squeeze of lemon.

Dessert: chocolate balls with brazil nuts and walnuts.

Snacks: 2 apples.

Recipe: Fruit Leather is easy to make if you have a blender of food processor. The fruit leather is like a "fruit roll-up" and is made out of pureed fruit. Applesauce works great for fruit leather since it is already in puree form. Overripe fruits can also be used since these are easily pureed. For an added flare, you can add coconut,raisins,poppy seeds,seasame seeds, or sunflower seeds to the fruit leather. If you add any type of garnish to your fruit leather however, you will have to store them in the freezer or refrigerator. Otherwise, you can store fruit leather in an airtight container. Just roll up the fruit leather into a roll after it has dried, wrap in plastic, and store them altogether in an appropriate container.

To make fruit leather, puree your fruit. Apples, pears, peaches, and nectarines should be cooked before pureeing. Pour the fruit puree about 1/4-inch deep on special fruit leather drying sheets, or drying trays that have been lined with plastic wrap. Since the center does not dry as quickly as the edges, Only pour the puree 1/8-inch deep towards the center.Dry at 135 degrees Fahrenheit until pliable and leathery. The center should also be dry and have no wet or sticky spots.



Exercise: 50 minute spin class and 20 minutes working on abs and then in the steam room to sweat it out and stretch it out :) Yes I have a day off filming today and am loving warming my core at the gym ;)

237 days to go!!!

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