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  • Karel Schmiedberger

Freeze-dried apricots


Meruňky před vypeckováním a vložením do lyofilizátoru

Although nature has not been kind to farmers, the apricot season is here and sellers can be seen on every road. If you are considering buying a freeze-drier for drying apricots, the following lines are for you.


Note: This test was performed on an earlier model of the AMARU lyophilizer. We have made several improvements since then and today the capacity would be higher and the process faster.

Preparation

If you have properly ripened apricots, it is not that difficult to pit them. I deliberately tried filling several trays in AMAR with apricots cut into slices - 8 slices of each apricot. I managed to make some of them quite thick, so I filled the remaining product trays with diced apricots - I cut half of the apricot into quarters, and then cut them across about 5 times.

Marigolds before loading into AMARU freeze dryer
Sliced apricots

Apricots before loading into AMARU freeze dryer
Diced apricots

Freezing

Although I had the impression that I was filling AMARU to the brim with apricots, after subtracting the stones and the remaining apricots, it turned out that the load was less than 6 kg. Nevertheless, because of some of the larger pieces, I set the freezing time to 14 hours. This turned out to be the ideal value, as the apricots in the machine had just reached -25°C.

Drying

As with freezing, I expected a longer drying process. So I set it to 40 hours, with the option to interrupt the process at any time and see the result so far.

I finally got to the AMAR after 35,5 hours and it turned out to be a sufficient time.


Result

I admit that I expected to have to extend the process a few more hours. After all, I did manage to put pieces over 1 cm thick on some of the shelves. I broke a number of thick pieces on different trays and they all had beautifully dry centres, with no sign of any cold spots or even frozen centres. The video below shows this in detail:

Rehydration

Apricots have the advantage of belonging to a group of foods that can be eaten dried as well as simply rehydrated with water and used fresh.

Uses

As mentioned above, freeze-dried apricots can be crunched in front of the TV or rehydrated and used to make fruit dumplings or jam. They have the advantage of liquid absorbency, so they don't have to stretch just water, but can work just as well in yoghurt, milk, or "soaked" in some alcohol.

The last surprise the apricots gave me was when they were minced. I expected that the peel and their dense texture would not allow grinding to a complete powder, but the opposite is true. What to do with the powder that is actually 100% apricots I leave up to you. I have tried it sprinkled on fruit dumplings instead of sugar and can only recommend it.

Lyofilizované meruňky


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