Thursday, November 29, 2007

Enjoying Dried Foods

You can eat dried fruits plain or mix them with nuts and seeds for a healthy mixed snack. Use chopped dried fruit or whole dried berries or cranberries instead of raisins or nuts in cakes, quick breads, and cookies. Dried vegetables make excellent additions to homemade soups and stews. Generally you should soak root crops such as beets, carrots, and potatoes before adding them to a soup, stew, or casserole. Most other dried vegetables can be added directly. (You may need to increase cooking time and add extra liquid to be sure the vegetables are tender.) Dried leafy vegetables can be powdered in a blender or food processor then stirred into soups or purées.

To prepare a dried soup mixture, cut fresh vegetables into small pieces then dry them according to the directions for each vegetable. After drying, combine and store them. Cabbage, carrots, celery, corn, onions, and peas make tasty combinations. Rice, dry beans, split peas, and meat stock are usually added at the time of cooking

Plumping and Rehydrating Fruits and Vegetables Fruits.

To plump or soften dried fruit to make it more chewable, cover it with boiling water, let it stand for 5 minutes, and drain. Vegetables. When you soak or rehydrate dried vegetables, they should plump to nearly the same size they were when fresh. Start with 11/2 to 2 cups cold water for each cup of dried vegetable. Keep the vegetables covered with water during soaking by adding more water, if necessary. Rehydrating root vegetables takes about 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the pieces. If you are adding dried vegetables to a soup or stew, don’t worry about rehydrating them; just toss them in.

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