Tag Archives: vegetable

A Comprehensive Solar Drying Manual – Free Online Information

I happened onto this manual just now and it got me to thinking about solar drying again.

click the image to download the manual

The document was prepared as a training manual for a Zimbabwian project funded by the Austrian Embassy titled Establishment of a production, sales and consulting infrastructure for solar thermal plants in Zimbabwe.

Its a comprehensive manual covering many designs and processes which you will see in illustrations from other documents you have read over the years. The 110 page book contains descriptions of many different dryers as well as examples of many different crops and their dryers. It also presents a great deal of technical data on drying but even though the title of the project nothing about markets, packaging and selling.

Solar drying should be all the rage currently giving its potential to impact global food shortage and climate change – but we still seem to be where we were decades ago.


Decanter, Separator and Process Line Food Processes

GEA is an enormous processing equipment group that includes previous independent processors such as Westfalia, Wiegand, APV Kestner and Niro from the days when I still worked in processing.

click the image to visit the website

This website is that of the separator, decanter and process line part of their business. It presents a wealth of general information on many beverage and dairy processes with links to their equipment pamphlets. Each process is described in detail with a process flowsheet.

While you might be tempted to dismiss this as a source of information because of it equipment supplier link, I believe the information is general enough and unbiased to be useful.


Minnie’s Dried Fruit and Vegetables – African Business

Here is a nice story that shows how easy it is to establish an operating fruit and vegetable drying business.

click the image to visit the website

Menar Meebed of Egypt, has used a commercially available solar dryer and a simple Internet blog to set up a business selling dried fruit and vegetables. Her product is of a higher quality than the traditional products because of the fruit she selects and the fact that the solar dryer reduces the drying time.

The commercial success of the business of course depends on how well she sources her produce, whether the market demand for her product is big enough and how she manages the business but the basis is in place.


A COP-17 Inspired Look at Carbon Footprints in Food Chains

With the United Nations and many of the world leaders in climate change on their way to Durban for COP-17, I think it might be worthwhile focussing on some Food Chain and Food Processing Issues that effect the carbon footprint of the food we eat.  
There is no lack of information and discussion in the area, so I will not be trying to give you a full picture, but rather I will present some of the things that interest me and maybe identify places you can go to get information. 
To start if off I suggest you have a look at this paper, that was publicised 5 years ago when the whole let’s not import food from afar was first voiced and seemed to make sense. 

click the image to visit the website

The first think that strikes the reader is the complexity of the analysis necessary to evaluate the carbon impact of a food product sitting on the plate of the consumer. Not only are there a whole range of possibilities but all activities in the Value Chain need to be considered in detail. One of the most complex issues that makes the comparison of data very difficult is where is the boundary drawn within which the carbon foot print is calculated – must the evaluation go back to the mining of the iron ore which was used to make the steel that forms a filler valve? 


What this and a study of the document clearly shows is that it is most likely to make simple comparisons without fully understanding all value chains. even then one may worry that it’s too easy to “pull the wool” over the readers eyes in defining how the carbon footprint is evaluated in any particular case. 


This obviously makes the simple “mines better than yours argument” impossible to make without detail investigation and infant many counter intuitive results have allready been identified by detailed like cycle analyses. 

The conclusion and recommendation of this report, on only a small sector of the food industry, are rather disappointing as they are rather imprecise identifying many valid issues and needing to call for “much more study”. 

An interesting comment in the paper, was that the carbon footprint is probably closely related to the perishibillity of the product. This since cold chain operation, transport and cold storage as well as their effect on waste are all big factors in the emission of green house gasses. 

Finally, for technologists and scientists it’s important to note that reductions is ghg emissions are probably just as likely to come from behavior change as from new technology.

Freshpict, a Zambian Fruit and Vegetable Canner – African Food Processor.

This Zambian company produces a wide range of canned fruit and vegetables.

Suppliers Website

(Click the image to visit the website)


These include a wide range of products using beans, tomatoes, onion, sweet corn, sundried tomatoes, cherry peppers, pineapple, guava, and gooseberries.


Fruit & Vegetable Drying – I

I intend to do a series of posts on fruit and vegetable drying given that this is one of the simplest, safest and cheapest processing technologies. However, as I am always promoting that we need to start at the market side. We also need to define the sector we are working in.

But first a photo to get us thinking away from the shriveled dark brown piece of “banana” that we are used to see.

Flickr Photo Download_ Dried Fruit.jpg

photo by ccarlstead
(Creative Commons License)


This attractive and tasty looking of fruit is on sale in bulk, in a market in Istanbul. While I have seen many markets selling bags of cereals in Sub Saharan African few seem to sell dried fruit which is essentially just as well preserved.

Also of interest in this photo is that the fruit is not simply dried but glazed, dusted and prepared in different ways.

These large quantities of dried fruit could represent fruit that was in excess of the demand for fresh fruit that could have been wasted if not dried and was possibly purchased at a low price. Otherwise it could have been fruit that was purposefully grown to be dried to provide food for use during the winter or even as a supplier to a dried fruit producer.

So there’s lots to think about! which we will be doing over the next while in this series of posts.