When we attended Korea’s biggest agricultural mechanization expo recently, we did not only see all kinds of machines, big and small, for working in the field. We also saw gadgets that could be useful in the home.
One such machine is a mini dryer for fruits, vegetables and other materials for human consumption. We tasted some of the finished products and we really liked them. The dried mango, for instance, is very chewy because it is not bone-dry. It has a moistness that is very desirable. Same with the dried persimmons.
We started figuring out what we could dry with the machine in the Philippines. And we came out with a list that includes jackfruit, mango, durian, santol, imported makopa, chico, saba banana and more. In the case of vegetables, we initially listed carrots, tomato, eggplant, onion, garlic, ginger, ampalaya, radish, sitao, squash, mushroom, okra, sweet and hot peppers, camote, kundol and others.
Then we came to think of nutritious leafy crops that could be dried and converted into powder. The powder could be used to fortify food products like soups, cooked rice, ice cream, noodles, baked products and many others. The leafy plants for making into powder include saluyot, malunggay, alugbati, kangkong, camote and ampalaya tops,
The dried fruits and vegetables could be considered healthy foods because they are dried without any preservatives, and especially if the raw materials are produced without chemical pesticides. The mini dryer is perfect for urban gardeners who produce their own fruits and vegetables under very hygienic conditions.
The use of dryers is one way of adding value to surplus harvests that would otherwise be thrown away or fed to the pigs. It is one way of preserving foods for the so-called rainy day.
In Korea, we are told that only dried fruits and vegetables that are dried in mechanical dryers are allowed to be sold commercially. And that is the reason why there are so many dryers in the Korean market. We saw a lot of sizes that can dry commercial volumes. But then, we were more fascinated by the mini dryer.
Incidentally, our friend Eugene T. Gabriel who was with us and who heads Agri Components Corporation in Cauayan City, Isabela, has a better idea in mind. He is already placing an order for his own family’s use as well as for sale to interested persons. And that could include us.