If you are running a food manufacturing business, a restaurant, or any other business which is related to the food industry, then you know very well how important it is to choose the right products and ingredients. The ingredients you use can make a very big difference in the satisfaction of your customers, and you have to strike the right balance between price and quality as well. Whilst there are many ingredients which you may need for your business, one particular ingredient has to be chosen with care: dried fruit. Here’s how to properly choose dried fruit for your food business or restaurant.
Know how it’s made
Dried fruit is just dried fruit, right? Well, yes. The process of drying fruit is pretty elementary – the fruit is simply placed on top of sheets and dried under the sun. But today, thanks to technology and large-scale demands, fruit is also dried mechanically in an oven. Another process which is being done today is referred to as ‘osmotic drying’ and this is where the fruit is soaked in a solution comprised mainly of sugar and then drained before it is fully dried. This process can effectively draw the water from the fruit, and the sugar essentially ‘replaces’ the water which has been drawn out, making the fruit taste more flavourful and inhibiting the growth of bacteria as well. Cranberries, for instance, often undergo the ‘osmotic drying’ process, although there are still companies which dry cranberries the traditional way – that is, in a lake, which many say is better.
Know what’s in it
Some dried fruit, particularly apricots and apples, can also be dried and processed with sulfites. A sulfite is a special substance which prevents the fruit from turning a brown colour when it is drying out. Some dried fruit producers make use of vitamin C, however, which can also prevent the fruit from turning brown. If fruit is dried without the use of sulfites or vitamin C, it will often look darker and browner than dried fruit with the sulfite substance or vitamin C. Some of your customers may be sensitive to the sulfite substance, so it may be better to stick to dried fruit without sulfites to be sure about your customers’ safety.
Checking the source
If you are looking for a wholesale dried fruit supplier, it pays to ask them where their dried fruit has been sourced. If they can give you a straightforward answer – meaning they can tell you where their dried apricots have been grown, where their sultanas have been produced, and so on – then this means that they have a good sense of accountability and are more in control of the sourcing of their products.