West Virginia fruit producers regularly face production and marketing risk, unable to sell all the fruit grown. Since the cost of production remains the same, whether fruit is sold, or it is left un-harvested or discarded, it is important to convert the surplus into a valuable commodity, such as shelf-stable dried fruit. WVU research indicates that pre-treatments such as fruit firming and/or osmotic dehydration (OD) drying are applicable to small-scale producers. Through OD, fruit is immersed in concentrated juice/sugar solution, resulting in moisture loss and fruit solids gain, improving the overall quality and food safety of the dried fruit products. Additionally, the spent OD solutions are converted into value-added bio-products using hydrothermal treatment, thereby, eliminating regulatory treatment requirements for waste disposal.
Fruit drying research and its industrial applications were first disseminated through a series of Extension hands-on workshops (2011-2013) for educators, agricultural service providers, entrepreneurs, and prospective entrepreneurs. The resulting 6-hour intensive hands-on training workshops focused on various processes and equipment needed for increased fruit food safety, overall quality, yield, improved process efficiency, and utilization of waste for bio-product applications.
This poster provides details about the drying of surplus fruit, a description of fruit drying processes as a business risk management strategy, potential utilization of wastes for value-added bio-product development, and outlines the equipment/labor necessary to add value through drying. After having viewed the poster session, attendees will be able to determine whether similar strategies are needed in their community, and decide whether they need further training on fruit drying.
|Conference||2014 Women in Agriculture Educators National Conference|