SPeeling vegetables is the simplest and most natural process of preserving food, in this way the freshness of the product is preserved by removing water from it. By removing moisture (dehydration) from vegetables, the reproduction and development of microorganisms is prevented.
Vegetables that are dried must be healthy, fresh and of good quality, and the most important thing is that after rehydration, they regain the properties of a fresh product to the greatest extent. The advisor of the Agricultural Advisory and Expert Service of Serbia, Zorica Petkanić, explains how to prepare and dry carrots, onions and garlic.
“The process of processing carrots begins with washing with water under pressure. At the same time, the surface layer is peeled off, followed by another wash to remove the remaining parts of this layer. It is desirable to sort the carrots, usually into two fractions. Both fractions are sent for mechanical cutting of leaves and green parts at the top. On the horizontal belt conveyor, the washing control is performed once again and the darkened areas are cut off by hand or defective roots are removed. Cutting into 3 mm thick rings or 10x10x10 mm cubes is immediately after washing, and then they are blanched with steam for 6-8 minutes and sulfurized. Carrots are dried in tunnel or strip dryers from the initial 95 percent to the final 3.5-4.5 percent humidity. The air temperature for drying in the tunnel at the beginning of the process is 71˚C for seven hours, after which it drops to 60˚C for the next seven hours “, said Zorica Petkanić.
As he adds, such dried carrots are packed in hermetically sealed cans or foils. It is used as an additive in the preparation of ready meals, sauces and soups, as a means of coloring some types of bakery products and pasta, and more.
“The process of preparing onions for drying begins by removing the roots and top ends, then washing them in a strong stream of water and at the same time removing the surface dry leaves. It is cut into rings with a thickness of 024 x 9.5 mm at an angle of 90 ° in relation to the vertical axis by machine. Cutting knives should be sharp to avoid unnecessary crushing of the bulb. Onion rings are arranged in wooden pans and in the tunnel dryer. In the first part of the tunnel where the cross flow, the air temperature is 71-105˚ C, and in the second, the opposite flow, the temperature is 54-60˚ C, which provides a reduction in humidity from 88 percent to 5-7 percent at the exit of the dryer. The dried rolls are carefully removed from the wood. Onions can be successfully dried on belt dryers as well “, said our interlocutor.
Dry rolls are usually immediately packed in cans or hermetically sealed bags. Further processing mainly consists of grinding to obtain flour. For grinding dry onions, well-closed rooms are necessary in which the relative humidity is low, below 30 percent because the grind is hygroscopic.
“Preparation of garlic for drying consists of” breaking “the head into rubber rollers. Dry leaves are usually removed with the help of air current. Washing removes impurities and dry shells, and then the cuttings are cut into leaves and dried in the same way as onions. Usually, the initial humidity of this vegetable is around 70 percent, and 6.5 percent at the exit from the drying device. By passing the dried leaves through the air stream, an additional separation of the dry surface layer that may have remained is performed. By grinding, a powder is obtained which is treated in the same way as with onion “, says Zorica Petkanić.
As he explains, garlic prepared in this way is used as a component in mixtures for ready-made soups and dishes, on its own, as a spice for various salad dressings, and is also widely used in the pharmaceutical industry and the production of pet food.