Drying fruits is a process that has been around for a very long time – in fact, it is one of the earliest methods of food preservation known to man. Archaeological sites in Egypt and Mesopotamia show recordings that food has been preserved using sun-drying methods since 1700 B.C (Brothwell D. et al. 1998). The idea, then, began as a way to prevent food from spoiling and make it last longer. So, what does sun-drying really mean and why should we opt for sun-dried fruits in the modern kitchen?
What is sun-drying?
Sun-drying, takes moisture out of fruits by relying completely on the power of the sun, and is the original, most environmentally friendly & only natural drying method. Just as its name suggests, produce is placed on a screen underneath direct sunlight to dry for approximately a duration of 2 weeks, and turned periodically for even moisture evaporation. When they are ready, the fruits appear much smaller, but their natural goodness and nutritional values are still very much intact!
Sun-drying is a slow and steady process resulting in unique and delicious flavors, but this laborious routine requires an intricate climate, low humidity, soft breezes and warm temperatures, making the Aegean town of Izmir’s conditions perfect for the part! The fertile soils and the unique climate of Izmir, Turkey are where Sunny Fruit products are grown lovingly and sun-dried to perfection at just the right time. The slow drying concentrates the fruit’s flavor, resulting in an intense and rich experience. Concentrated flavors mean that no extra sugar needs to be added, in fact there is nothing artificial added, ever!
Not all dry fruits have been sun-dried, however. In places of the world where sun-drying is not practical, producers opt for artificial and mechanized drying methods. As excessive amounts of heat may be used, this doesn’t always result in the most optimum nutritional value. In fact, a research conducted in 2017 observed that fruit dried in the sun has a higher concentration of Vitamin C and boosts the amount of nutrients encountered in its fresh form, compared to oven-drying.
Sun-drying allows us to be able to consume a variety of fruits that retain their natural goodness throughout the year, regardless of whether they are in season or not. Packed with essential nutrients and antioxidants associated with a variety of health benefits, from improved blood flow and lower risk of heart disease to supporting digestive functions with its high fiber content, sun-dried fruits make for a perfect snack and a healthy ingredient in recipes, both savory and sweet!