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Some Focussed Food Based Reports – Free online Information

Over the past view weeks I have come across several rather focussed processing reports which I thought it was worhgwhile to share here in a simple form. I believe the image tells you what its about and clicking will open the document. The documents I link will generally be technology heavy although there will be there industry issues covered in detail. 

click an image below to view the relevant paper

IITA report on Cassava enterprises in West Africa


Small Scale Palm Oil Processing in Africa


Www iita org c document library get file p l id 786671 folderId 1074647 name DLFE 5910 pdf

Low cost sustainable cassava drying technologies pdf



Some Good Data on Sun and Solar Drying

I have always been a promoter of sun and solar drying, because they allow people to convert perishable fruit, often available at low or no cost during the season, into a stable product that can be stored until the next season at almost no or low cost.

This article provides some good information on the drying process, that helps in deciding how to actually dry.

The article is an in depth one and gives some really interesting data on drying rates. It compares theoretical with measured rates and is then able to model the progress of drying with this data. The graph below is a really clear indication of the main difficulty of solar powered systems – they only work for a part of the day.

This is particularly important in drying, were it means that sun drying carries on for 3 days. This is because, as the graph shows, drying actually only carries on for a fraction of the day. This fraction depends on the location. This is obvious, but for me only really became clear when I saw this graph!

This has implications for how you run your drying. First of all, it's no good having a nice social day picking, transporting, washing, selecting and preparing your fruit and getting it out into the sun in the late morning or even worse the afternoon. If you do you are going to need four days to dry. More importantly the fruit will be wetter at the end of drying on the first day and therefore more likely to spoil overnight. So rise early and get the fruit ready for the moment when drying can start. Secondly, because the whole drying period until your fruit is shelf stable is many times longer, the cleanliness and hygiene of the plant become more important to avoid spoilage and loss.

The two images in this post are from the online journal at http://www.ajfand.net/Volume12/No7/Mercer11020.pdf


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.


Solar Drying of Trop[ical Fruits – Free Online information.

Heres a short, only 20 pages long, and very practical “recipe book” for the drying of tropical fruit.

Solar drying in Nicaragua

from: University of California, Davis
(click image for full story online)

It is from a project run by University of California, Davis in Tanzania and Nicaragua on the introduction of a Concentrated Solar Power Dryer for the drying of vegetables.

The book carefully explains the steps, starting from a potentially soiled fruit, through preparation, pretreatment, drying and packaging for Tomatoes, Mangoes, Banana, Pineapple, Sapote and Pity (Dragon Fruit).

Simple and clear – its easy to recommend this book.

Intermediate Moisture Peaches – Free Online Information.

This short manual from the Technologies and Practices for Small Agricultural Producers (TEAC) website of the FAO describes a simple process for the production of intermediate moisture dried peaches.

 click the image to download the manual

The manual is only a few pages long but the process is well explained with a set of photographs of small scale production. There are many other recipes available which I will probably be posting in the future.

The Manual on Home-based Fruit and Vegetable Processing – Free Online Information

This is probably the best technical information I have seen aimed at the training of small scale vegetable and fruit processors. The first book covers the principles of post-harvest handling, storage and processing of fruits and vegetables while the second provides recipes and guidance to put these principles into practice.

 click image for free acces to these books

The books We’re developed for trainers working with household processors in Afghanistan, but the information is so comprehensive that it will be useful for a range of users including the new small scale food processing enterprise.

The first book of 85 pages covers the following in detail, using a clear and simple style supported by many photographs and drawings.





  • Principles of food preservation 
  • Overview of fruit and vegetable processing techniques
  • Summary of small-scale fruit and vegetable processing techniques
  • Processing pre-treatments for fruit and vegetables 
  • Description of processing methods for fruit and vegetables  



The second book of around 90 pages covers the detail of producing a whole range of products as listed below from the table of contents:


  • Processing outline for dried fruit and vegetable
  • Dried tomato 
  • Dried apricots
  • Dried onions
  • Dried apples


  • Processing outline for Jam and Jelly 
  • Fruit jam or jelly – process details and quality 
  • Apricot jam
  • Carrot and lemon jam
  • Cherry jam
  • Mulberry jam
  • Apple jam
  • Apple jelly


  • Processing outline for sauce and chutney
  • Sauce and chutney – process details and quality assurance
  • Italian style tomato sauce
  • Italian style tomato sauce
  • Tomato paste
  • Tomato sauce or ketchup
  • Tomato puree or simple concentrate
  • Tomato concentrate (non-cook method) 
  • Coriander chutney (chatni gashnizeh)
  • Vegetable chutney
  • Tomato chutney (Chatni Badenjani Romi)
  • Chili chutney (Chatni Morchi Sorkh/Sabz )


  • Processing outline for lactic acid fermented pickles (atchar)
  • Fermented pickles – process details and quality assurance
  • Pickled cucumbers
  • Mixed pickles
  • Pumpkin pickle 


  • Process outline for fruit and vinegar
  • Fruit vinegar – quality assurance and processing notes
  • Tomato vinegar
  • Mulberry vinegar

If you have any interest in processing vegetables and fruit, these books are really highly recommended.

Food Dehydration Options – Free Online Technical Information.

This document, from US Agriculture, is a review of dehydration at a somewhat higher technology level than is often the case on this blog.

The technologies described include batch cabinet dryer, spray dryer and even the freeze dryer. The article also covers business, marketing and regulatory issues and has many link, unfortunately to mainly Amercan information.

ATTRA Dehydration Website

from: ATTRA
(click image for full story online)

The subjects covered by the document are:

  • Types of Dehydration
  • Drying as an On-Farm Added-Value Strategy
  • Product Development and Marketing
  • Regulations
  • References
  • Resources
  • There is an interesting reference to “solar drying” by which they mean drying in the open or what this Blog (and many technologists) terms sun drying. It again raises, this time for a food regulation point of view, the possible contamination of food dried in the open.

    …could not determine how California producers can legally sun-dry in the open or why no one in the health department has “picked up on it yet.” A possible explanation is that existing businesses are sometimes “grandfathered in” when new, tighter restrictions are published.

    I would by the way note that I have not yet managed to get a reply to by query to California Sun Dry about this issue.

    Email me you thoughts and ideas on this and I will publish them in a post!

    Food Drying – An Overview With Good Links

    This is a short 10 page note from The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service . It summarises the various drying technologies applicable to food drying in a concise manner, supporting this with some cost information.



    from: ATTRA
    (click image for full story online)


    It then focusses on the potential of drying as a value addition process on the farm before ending with a lot of information and supplier links.


    Ugandan Study Of The Effect of Drying on Nutritional Content of Vegetables

    This study in the African Journal of Nutrition, Agriculture and Development (AJFAND), clearly shows, as would be expected, the loss in Vitamin A and C was the highest, while the crude protein content measured by a Kjeldahl method fell more than the minerals and fibre which one would not expect to be directly effected by drying.


    from: AJFAND
    (click image for full story online)

    I would have liked to have seen a bit more on the heat sensitive components of the three Amaranthus varieties used as feed and some mass balances to compare the degree of drying with the nutrient changes.

    It is also interesting to note that AJFAND is a free online journal and that is edited by Professor Ruth Oniang’o. A few of the other articles that caught my eye were.

    • Use of dried kapenta (Limnothrissa miodon and Stolothrissa tanganicae) and other products based on wholde fish for complementing maize-based diets.
      Anna Haug et al.



    Tomato Cultivation and Processing – Free Online Technical Manual

    Another document available for free from The ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) through Anancy.



    from: Anancy
    (click image for full story online)


    This uninspiring cover hides the value of the information and misleads on it breadth – it covers processing and business issues in 16 pages of concise and clear information.

    The information covers post harvest handling, quality, hygiene, drying, heat treatment, concentration, pulping and pasting. It includes a very interesting process for the large scale production of paste using muslin bag filtration.