Traditional Dried Fruit
The earliest recorded mention of dried fruits can be found in Mesopotamian tablets dating to about 1700 B.C., which contain what are probably the oldest known written recipes. Traditional dried fruits are types of dried fruits that are either sun-dried or dehydrated in wind tunnels. Traditional dried fruit do not include dried fruits infused with a sweetener (e.g. sucrose solution), candied dried fruit or dehydrated fruits with very low moisture content. Dried fruit has a long history of food safety. The high drying and processing temperatures, the intrinsic low pH of the fruit, the low water activity (moisture content) and the presence of natural antimicrobial compounds in dried fruit make them a remarkable stable food. There is no known incident of a food-borne illness related to dried fruit.
The Way We Do It
When we planted our orchards in 1983 we choose varieties of fruit that are the best tasting to eat, we did not choose for shipping requirements, or long shelf life possibilities, flavor was the first and only requirement. For fresh and dried use our fruit is hand picked, hand sorted, hand cut and hand packaged.
The methods to dry the fruit are age old from the beginning of time, using only the sun and redwood drying trays. We do not use sulfur in any part of the process. The fruit stays in the sun until completely dry; all moisture has been removed by the heat of our Central Valley sun. Once the fruit gets to this point it is removed by hand from the drying trays and stored.
To ensure that the fruit stays insect free we place a pound of dry ice* in the storage container which, when it melts, pushes all the air out of the buckets and creates an environment in which no insects can survive. The fruit will stay this way until we receive an order, then we will hand sort the fruit to make sure that it is up to our quality standards, and then re-moisturize the fruit by adding a small amount of water back to the buckets. It takes about two hours for the fruit to re hydrate and then we pack for shipping. Once re hydrated we store the in our cooler or freezer to ensure that mold will not grow.
Since the beginning of our farming career in 1976 we have only used organic practices in producing our fruits and vegetables, and we are certified organic each year by Stellar Certification Services.
*Dry Ice is frozen carbon dioxide or CO2, the same stuff that animals exhale and plants need to perform photosynthesis. Because of its low temperature, -109.3°F (-78.5°C) when exposed to air, it starts to immediately give off carbon dioxide gas. Dry ice is useful as a coolant and its most common use has to do with the food industry, where it's used to preserve perishable items and also prevents the growth of bacteria, so it can be used to preserve dry seeds, grains, and flour.
Dried fruit and sulfate sensitivity
Sulfur dioxide is used as an antioxidant in some dried fruits to protect their color and flavor. For example, in golden raisins, dried peaches, apples and apricots sulfur dioxide is used to keep them from losing their light color by blocking browning reactions which darkens fruit and alter their flavor. Over the years, sulfur dioxide and sulfates have been used by many populations for a variety of purposes. Sulfur dioxide was first employed as a food additive in 1664, and was later approved for such use in the United States as far back as the 1800s. Sulfur dioxide, while harmless to theoretically healthy individuals, can induce asthma when inhaled or ingested by sensitive people. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that one out of a hundred people is sulfate-sensitive (allergic), and about 5% of asthmatics are also at risk of suffering an adverse reaction.
It is a known fact that sulfur dioxide gas can cause severe, life-threatening injuries if inhaled. Is this something that should be eaten, even in small doses?
Sulfur Dioxide is a product made from fossil fuels or coal. It is not a sustainable product.
GOOD HUMUS DRIED FRUIT
Dried fruit makes an excellent snack for kids and adults!
We have added some dried fruit recipes to or recipe page