how do you sun dry vegetables

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    Sun drying. Drying vegetables in the sun is unpredictable unless temperatures are above 100 °F and the relative humidity is low. If the temperature is too low, humidity too high, or both, souring or molding may occur. Place trays of
    Pretreating For Health & Aesthetics

    Pretreating is a step you should try hard to never skip. The time invested in this step will pay for itself in added visual appeal of the food and in increased nutritional benefits.

    The enzymes in vegetables are responsible for color and flavor changes during ripening. These changes will continue during drying and storage unless the produce is pretreated to slow down enzymatic activity.

    Blanching is the recommended pretreatment for vegetables. It helps save some of the vitamin content, sets the color, and hastens drying by relaxing tissues. Blanching may also prevent undesirable changes in flavor during storage and improve reconstitution during cooking.

    You can blanch by steaming or immersing the vegetable in boiling water. Steaming allows the vegetable to retain more of the water-soluble nutrients, but it takes a little longer than immersing.

    Here are detailed instructions how to do both:

    Steam-blanching. Use a deep kettle that has a tight-fitting lid and a wire basket, colander, or sieve placed so that steam can circulate freely around the vegetables. Layer the vegetables loosely in the basket no more than 2 inches deep. Add 2 inches of water to the kettle and bring to a rolling boil. Place the basket of prepared vegetables in the kettle. The water should not come in contact with the vegetables. Cover tightly with the lid and steam until each piece is heated through and is wilted. Test by removing a piece from the center of the container and pressing it. It should feel soft but not completely cooked. Drain vegetables on paper towels or clean cloths.

    Water-blanching. Use a deep kettle that has a tight-fitting lid. Fill full of water and bring to a vigorous boil. Place the vegetables in a wire basket or colander and submerge them in the boiling water. Work with small quantities only. The water should not stop boiling. Cover tightly with the lid. Remove the vegetables, dip in ice water to cool, and drain on paper towels or clean cloths.

    Place pretreated vegetables in direct sun in a flat or tilted position so that air can circulate underneath them. To keep out insects, cover trays with netting. Raise trays off the ground to protect them from dust, dirt and animals. Stir the vegetables occasionally to help them dry evenly. Bring trays indoors at night to protect the food from dew or rain.

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