Drying figs

jude31June 27, 2012

I have never dried fruit, or anything, before but I have a fig tree and a friend loaned me her Excalibur dehydrator to try. It's an old model which I don't suppose matters that much, but can I dry them whole? My figs are Brown Turkey, medium size. The instructions, which are not at all clear say to hot water bath, with no explanation of what that is and to cut them in quarters. The only hot water bath I'm familiar with in putting up food is when canning. Can anyone help me out here?

TIA

jude

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coconut_nj

Jude, I'm suspecting that their hot water bath is a quick bath to kill anything on the surface of the fruit. I've seen them home dried done in halves and the link I'm posting seems to have good information. I love figs. Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fig Drying

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 11:44AM
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grainlady_ks

I suggest you follow the information at the National Center for Home Food Preservation, which is:

"Select fully ripe fruit. Wash or clean well with damp towel. Peel dark skinned varieties if desired. Leave whole if small or partly dried on tree; cut large figs in halves or slices. If drying whole figs, crack skins by dipping in
boiling water for 30 seconds. For cut figs, dip in ascorbic acid or other antimicrobial solution for 10 minutes.
Remove and drain well. Arrange in single layers on trays. Dry until leathery and pliable." (This information is linked below.)

There are new standards that nearly always include some sort of acidic bath to help reduce the potential for bacteria growth on home-dried foods (see: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/safefood/newsltr/v8n4s01.html). Blanching (boiling water or steam) is done to halt the enzyme action, much like we do for foods we freeze.

--For faster drying, cut the figs in half or finely chop.

--You can also make "candied" figs. Make a syrup by combining 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 c. water. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Drop whole figs gradually into syrup without stopping the boiling. Cook over low heat until they look transparent, about 40-50 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking. Drain well (use some cooling rack set inside rimmed baking sheets. Put some parchment paper on the bottom of the pan to catch the drips.)

--Drying temperature - 160-degrees F for 1 to 2 hours, then reduce the temperature to 130-degrees F until dry.

--Three pounds of figs = 1-pound dried.

--Wash carefully to remove dirt. Remove stems. Large figs may be halved or quartered. Dry them skin-side down.

--Try to place the same sizes of dates (or pieces) on one tray, or one half of a tray, for better drying. When you mix sizes you risk the small pieces getting over-dried and the largest pieces under-dried. Under-dried figs (or any food) will have too much moisture remaining in them and may mold during storage.

--After the figs (whole or pieces) are completely dry, allow to come to room temperature before packaging. If you pack them while they are still warm there will be enough moisture remaining to potentially cause mold formation. BUT, don't let them sit too long at room temperature because they will reabsorb moisture from the air. Same thing when removing them from the storage container. Don't leave the lid off for a prolonged period of time or the food may reabsorb moisture.

--Conditioning. I suggest placing them in a jar (fill 1/2 to 3/4 full so you have room for movement when you shake them) with a tight-fitting lid. Shake the container daily for a few days and look for moisture or condensation in the jar. If there IS any condensation, place the figs back in the dehydrator and finish drying them, cool and condition again.

--Mold. If any mold develops during storage, destroy the entire contents of the jar because there are mold spores throughout the food, not just the portion that shows mold growing.

-Grainlady

Here is a link that might be useful: Drying Fruits

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 1:38PM
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jude31

Thanks Coconut, they are in the dehydrator now. Apparently the hot water bath was to remove any waxy surface that might be present, and only for 1 minute. I suspect it was also for the reason you stated. I'm excited to be able to preserve them another way besides jam, preserves and such.

jude

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 4:10PM
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