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Old 12th February 2007, 00:23   #1 (permalink)
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Dried Vegetables

From today's ZAMAN newspaper

Health, flavor and convenience rolled into one: dried vegetables
Drying vegetables is a part of the traditional Anatolian kitchen. During the summer every house fills its balcony with the lines of eggplants, string beans, peppers, squash, and okra. When the winter comes these vegetables are used in the kitchen.

People used to can vegetables for the winter, filling their food cellars with jars of all sizes. The proliferation of freezers made canning unnecessary, but drying vegetables continued.
It still continues, and the tradition is expanding beyond Anatolia. In the past few years, city dwellers have started to dry vegetables. Thanks to the growing popularity of healthy greenhouse vegetables during the winter and an increased awareness of the dangers of hormones in food, vegetable drying is becoming a popular alternative.
Kırkambar opened in Beşiktaş in 1999 and is known for selling medicinal herbs and spices. They have recently began to sell dried vegetables as well. Bahri Kılıç, the owner of Kırkambar, said vegetable drying has spread in the last few years and that demand has increased both domestically and abroad.
Some of the biggest reasons for the growing trend are that dry vegetables make cooking easier. Dried eggplant or squash can be cooked, stuffed or boiled, topped with yogurt and served. Preparing a meal with dry okra is much easier and more practical. The best part of dried vegetables is that they are naturally healthy. In addition, dried vegetables can be ground up and used as a garnish for soups, noodles, spaghetti, rice, risotto and similar meals. Kılıç claims he was the first to introduce the 15-vegetable mix to the market.
According to Kılıç, even the best housewife can’t prepare and serve his mixture of beetroot, carrot, tomato, pepper, squash, eggplant, leek, scallion, dry onion, peppermint, dill, parsley, broccoli, celery and garlic. “These vegetables are dried with the latest technology, and they do not lose any natural health benefits,” he said.
How are vegetables dried? They are dried by the sun when hung on balconies and in special furnaces via “shock drying” in factories. Vegetables retain more of their nutritional value when dried in the sun as compared to the factory process.
Technology has found a way to have the best of both worlds. Some companies employ a method of drying that combines the health benefits of solar drying with the efficiency of factory drying. In this method, each different kind of vegetable is dried separately because each type has its own optimal drying temperature. Yenice Gıda is a highly successful company that has been drying vegetables since 1963. Recap İpek, a marketing manager for Yenice Gıda, explains the process: “The product is cleaned after we receive it from the producers, then it is washed in a water pools while avoiding human contact. Next it goes into 40-pan sized electric furnaces on a rail system. Every item is dried at a different temperature to preserve its nutritional value. Tomatoes and eggplant are dried in separate furnaces. After the necessary temperature is reached and the vegetables are dried, the furnace automatically opens and sends them out.
İpek said the demand for dry vegetables has risen domestically but has decreased in foreign markets due to competition from countries like Uzbekistan, Egypt, India and China.
Which vegetables are dried
In Istanbul you can find dried vegetables at the Malatya-Elazığ market every day and in markets in and around the Mısır Çarşı (Egyptian/Spice Bazaar). Some commonly dried vegetables and herbs include tomatoes, squash, eggplant, beans, red peppers, green peppers, parsley, peppermint, dill, basil, onions, red onions and leeks.
Appetizers are indispensable on winter nights. While sipping tea, no one would refuse hazelnuts, pistachios or almonds. Yet these appetizers aren’t advisable for those with acne, weight or cholesterol problems. These appetizers can be replaced with dry fruit available from street vendors or at the Mısır Çarşı. Some popular dried fruits include bananas, kiwis, pistachios and mangos.
Other dried fruits include strawberries, pineapples, apples, melons, plums, huckleberries, ginger, papayas, mangos, kumquats and guavas, which are more exotic additions to standard dry fruit such as mulberries, plums, grapes and figs. Guavas and kumquats are unusual fruit and are imported from the Far East.

12.02.2007
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Old 12th February 2007, 08:40   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Dried Vegetables

I must admit I am really looking forward to moving over and using ALL fresh ingredients as we will hopefully have a lot more time to prepare our meals, especially fruit and veg - it tastes so different in Turkey - like it's supposed to I think.

Thank you for that though it was a very interesting read, I wouldn't have thought for one minute that dried veg would be in demand - you learn something new every day.
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Old 12th February 2007, 08:47   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Dried Vegetables

I dry my own tomato slices and then bottle them in olive oil. The flavour is very intense - much more than fresh and it also gives the olive oil a nice flavour.

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Old 12th February 2007, 09:14   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Dried Vegetables

Ian which method do you use to dry them out? Sounds wonderful.
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Old 12th February 2007, 09:20   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Dried Vegetables

Slice them, place on flat board, put on the balcony under the hot sun for a few days, turning every so often. Stuff them into jars and top off with oil.

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Old 12th February 2007, 09:26   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Dried Vegetables

As easy as that Thanks Ian.
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Old 12th February 2007, 09:26   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Dried Vegetables

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gail
I must admit I am really looking forward to moving over and using ALL fresh ingredients as we will hopefully have a lot more time to prepare our meals, especially fruit and veg - it tastes so different in Turkey - like it's supposed to I think.

Thank you for that though it was a very interesting read, I wouldn't have thought for one minute that dried veg would be in demand - you learn something new every day.
The reason for it tasting better, is because I imagine it is totally Orgasmic, oops ! I mean Organic.(you should see the old biddies face's when I say that in Waitrose's)
We pay through the nose here for Fruit and Veg of the same quality, but we have to remember it does not keep for long, hence drying them.
I must have a go at drying Tomatoes.

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Old 12th February 2007, 09:38   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Dried Vegetables

You can also add other herbs, but DON'T add garlic to oil - quickest route to botulism.

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Old 12th February 2007, 09:58   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Dried Vegetables

great advice ian..ive never tried it but you make it seem so easy. Have you tried anything else.
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Old 12th February 2007, 10:29   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Dried Vegetables

Stringing up peppers and hanging them in the sun is another easy one. Then just hang them in the house until required. I did try putting them in oil too, but it did not give a great result and the oil turned very dark so I threw them out.
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