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Drying (food)

Drying is a method of food preservation that works by removing water from the food, which prevents the growth of microorganisms and decay. Drying food using the sun and wind to prevent spoilage has been known since ancient times. Water is usually removed by evaporation (air drying, sun drying, smoking or wind drying) but, in the case of freeze-drying, food is first frozen and then water is removed by sublimation.

Many different foods are prepared by drying, including Parma ham, bresaola, beef jerky, and even fruits that normally have a high water content, such as prunes, raisins, figs, and dates.

Dried and salted reindeer meat is a traditional Lappish food. First the meat is soused. It is kept in saltwater for a couple of days to guarantee the conservation of the meat. Then the meat is dried in the sun in spring when the air temperature is below zero. The dried meat can be further processed to make soup.

There are many different methods for drying, each with their own advantages for particular applications; these include:

  • Bed dryers
  • Fluidized bed dryers
  • Shelf dryers

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