How is fig dried for commercial export?Javid Amin
A plate of dried figs straight from the Kashmir valley– lip-smacking Isn’t it? Not only are they palatable, but they also prove to be highly beneficial for weight loss, regulating the level of blood pressure, and many more health benefits. All such features have made it globally popular, and people from every corner of the world are consuming it. However, the high-quality authentic figs with all the nutrients and vitamins intact are confined to the Kashmir region of India.
Commonly known as Anjeer, it’s a delicious dry fruit from the Mulberry family having a juicy, soft outer coat and crunchy seeds within. Dried figs have a copper-brown upper, making it look appealing. If you want to buy organic sun dried figs, you should order from a site that brings figs straight from the Kashmiri producers. In this guide, we’ll give a brief description of how these figs are dried and what methods are commonly used by the manufacturers to dry them before exporting.
Being highly perishable, figs can’t be stored for longer periods, which limits the potential markets. So, to expand the market of figs, they are dried and stored. Some of the popular methods of drying figs are mentioned below.
The traditional system of drying
This age-old method of drying figs is still used by most of the Indian manufacturers so that there’s no harm to its nutritional value. First of all, figs are collected, gently washed, and dabbed using a clean towel to get rid of the excess water. In the second step, the figs are placed over a wooden tray in a layer. Away from potential infection sources and dirt, these figs are kept in an open yard that receives direct rays of the sun.
During the process, the figs kept over the trays are tossed from one side to side until the water content is reduced to 18 to 22 percent. Considering the weather, the entire process usually takes around three to five days to complete. And it’s made available in the market for you to buy organic sun dried figs.
Since not every day is a sunny day, there has to be an alternative to keep the process going. Here, industrial equipment comes to the rescue. Several benefits are associated with this method, such as fast process, low labor, better sanitization, controllable, and uniform technological parameters.
Within just seven hours, the figs get ready for selling in the market. To provide microbiological stability, a preservative named potassium sorbate is applied to it. The result you get after drying up the figs using the 120 hours traditional method has the same quality as that of dried figs obtained from mechanical drying. So, there is no quality issue here.
Though solar drying might sound similar to the traditional method of drying, there are several differences between the two. This method is more sophisticated and speeds up the process of dehydration. Accelerating the process has other benefits like, it’s energy-efficient, and limits environment contact and reduces contamination.
Solar dryers are used as an alternative to direct sun rays and are conducted inside a glass or plastic covered space. Also, it makes the process two to three times speedier. Both samples of solar-dried and sundried figs were considered positive. No matter which method has been used to dry them up, you buy organic sun dried figs if you’ve ordered from a reputed site.
Osmatic dehydration has been combined with the methods of drying to reduce the need for energy while enhancing the quality of food. In this process, water is removed from the figs partially by impregnating the hypertonic solution. It removes water at reduced temperatures and also is quite energy-efficient.
Texture, aroma, and color are preserved because of osmotic dehydration. Not just that, it also extends the shelf life by lowering the water activity. At the initial stage of osmotic dehydration, vacuum impregnation is being applied, and the process is referred to as PVOD or pulsed vacuum osmotic dehydration. This hydrodynamic mechanism introduces the osmotic solution into pores of the product.
Regular consumption of dried figs helps to prevent menopause, breast cancer, and other issues faced by women. Apart from that, figs also promise a smooth, healthy, and glowing skin by removing whiteheads, acne, aging effects, blackheads, and scars. If you buy organic sun dried figs, you can consume it daily as an evening snack. The absence of cholesterol, fat, or sodium will help you meet the Dietary Guidelines, which is set up by the US Department of Agriculture.
Naturally occurring fiber in figs might help in reducing obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. People suffering from anemia, weakness, or fatigue are highly recommended to intake dried figs to deliver a boost of energy and enhance their condition. Apart from that, the presence of potassium makes it beneficial for people dealing with blood pressure. Usually, health experts recommend that everyone should eat around three to five figs a day to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
If you ask, I’d say fig is the king of the dry fruit community, which will rule forever. Packed with all the nutrients, they come in several colors of yellow, purple, and green. Kashmiri figs are usually purple and green in color, being excellent in taste as well as health value. Gone are the days when the benefits of figs were limited to a certain season! Now, figs are dried and stored so that they can be consumed all year long. While you buy organic sun dried figs, you can relish the exotic fruit throughout the year. Also, you can add charm to any boring recipe by adding figs to it. For instance, your regular sandwiches can be made delectable by adding dried figs to it. Since children and adults both like the sweet taste of figs alike, the domestic, as well as the international market of fig, is expanding rapidly
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