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Substitute salt for ascorbic acid crystals in dehydrating?

Posted by kim0201 (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 8, 08 at 15:12

I have extra pears & was thinking about doing some dehydrating. When I freeze apple slices I usually soak them in cold salted water before freezing. This seems to stop the discoloration during the freezing process. I'm wondering.... could I substitute a salt water soak for the ascorbic acid crystals as pre-treatment which is called for in the dehydration directions?

Thanks for your thoughts.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Substitute salt for ascorbic acid crystals in dehydrating?

Absolutely yes. The salt would not allow the apples to freeze as well. As you may know salt melts ice. A solution of ascorbic acid and water will give much better results and you would need no rinsing afterwards. I would also add a little lemon juice to the dip. I think the ascorbic acid has a measurement printed on the container for a specific amount of water. With ascorbic and lemon added to water you have also the same dip for peaches and many other fruits that tend to oxidize once canned or frozen. I think 2-3 tablespoons of ascorbic to about a quart of water might suffice. Here, I dry potatoes and for them, I use sodium metabisulfate to prevent them from turning black.


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RE: Substitute salt for ascorbic acid crystals in dehydrating?

Hi ksrogers. Thank you for such a fast reply. I don't have much experience dehydrating a variety & always appreciate the wisdom of more experienced harvesters. I'm off to start today's dehydrating.


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RE: Substitute salt for ascorbic acid crystals in dehydrating?

could I substitute a salt water soak for the ascorbic acid crystals as pre-treatment

Not sure I understand which way you are going with this. Ken's reply first says yes you can and then tells you why you should not. ;)

I agree with Ken that you will get much better results using ascorbic acid and/or lemon juice rather than salt when drying foods. Dehydration is very different from freezing and using a salt rinse for food to be dehydrated results in a very salty product.

Dave


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RE: Substitute salt for ascorbic acid crystals in dehydrating?

I wrote the answer to the FIRST question. The question was asking if the use of ascorbic acid could be used instead of a salt water dip. I simply said absolutely yes. I also said that you should not use a salt water dip as salt will not freeze well, as well as leaving a lingering taste that would have to be rinsed off, and would negate the oxidizing protection if it actually had any.

Question: I'm wondering.... could I substitute a salt water soak for the ascorbic acid crystals as pre-treatment which is called for in the dehydration directions?

Answer: Absolutely yes.


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RE: Substitute salt for ascorbic acid crystals in dehydrating?

I can't always find Fresh Fruit and I think it's a bit pricey for how much I have to use. Lately, I've used 3 tbsp. honey plus 1/2 a lemon squeezed, with the skin tossed into the water after I squeezed out the juice. The apples don't look any different with the honey lemon mix than they do with the Fresh Fruit. They taste fine to me, although I did not like it as well when I used only lemons and no honey.

Two tbsp. of honey works fine too, but I found out by accident that I liked three tbsp. better. Yeah, I was tired and a whole 1/4 c. into one of the mixing bowls. That was better yet, but more honey than I wanted to use.

The fresh fruit costs me about $1.00 per pot (using three tbsp. to two quarts of water). I think the honey lemon is about 60 cents (today the lemons cost me about 80 cents each and I get two pots to a lemon). I use my bread mixing bowls and probably about 2.5 quarts of water, so I get a slightly better coverage than when I used Fresh Fruit.


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RE: Substitute salt for ascorbic acid crystals in dehydrating?

I decided to go ahead w/ the fruit fresh. I asked my question before digging into the cupboard & finding a new jar. Oops... So just to be safe, I used the fruit fresh. It makes sense that the salt might come thru too strongly in dried fruits. The honey sounds like another good alternative. Thank you for the advice - the pears are drying as I type.


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RE: Substitute salt for ascorbic acid crystals in dehydrating?

Glad to hear it worked out in the end for you Kim. :)

Ken - yes I can see how the question could be read both ways. Given the title of the post, I interpreted the question to mean can I use salt dip instead of ascorbic acid for drying fruit. You apparently interpreted it just the opposite - can ascorbic acid replace salt dip?

But it all turned out ok in the end. ;)

Dave


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RE: Substitute salt for ascorbic acid crystals in dehydrating?

Ascorbic acid (sodium ascorbate) in a quantity of 3 pounds is $30. Bst price per pound is about $10. Those tiny packages you see as Fruit Fresh are only 4-6 ounces. There are sites offering a pure pharmacutical grade powdered ascorbic, that dissolves faster too. A large 3 lb. purchase like that would last quite a long time, as it has no shelf life loss. I aso use it in making no sugar added apricot preserves, canned peaches, as well as in grape jelly and apple jelly. It has helped keep the proper color for these fruits. Honey can contain a trace of botulism, and is not recommended to babies under 2 years old. Adding lemon juice will make it tart tasting, but for that, the bottled lemon juice would give a more consistant result.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ascorbic acid in bulk


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RE: Substitute salt for ascorbic acid crystals in dehydrating?

ksrogers - thanks! Or better yet, duh! I didn't even think of that. Buying it bulk like that would be much cheaper than using the lemon / honey mix.


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RE: Substitute salt for ascorbic acid crystals in dehydrating?

I do the same for the Ball Pickle Crisp. Its not being offered by Ball anymore, so I buy it from Bulk Foods and its much cheaper there.


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RE: Substitute salt for ascorbic acid crystals in dehydrating?

I freeze apple slices every year. After peeling, I slice them into a bowl that contains a gallon of water and 1 Tbsp salt. When the bowl is full, I drain the slices and pack them into a freezer bag. I do not rinse. I do not have any problems with the slices not freezing. One tablespoon to a gallon of water is not very much. I do not notice a salty flavor and we do sometimes eat the frozen slices as snacks, although mostly I use them in recipes. When I can get pears, I do them the same way. I dehydrated peaches and used the salt water dip for them, too. They retained their color and the flavor was fine -- no detectable salt flavor. I use the same method for freezing peaches and that works fine, too. This year I had to can peaches (not enough room left in the freezer)and used the salt solution. I even used the salt water as the base for my simple syrup, adding maybe a cup of sugar to the pot that would end up producing a 7-quart canner load. Although they are still holding their color in the jar (since July now), I have them in a cabinet where it is dark most of the time as I don't really trust that they would not darken if kept in the light. We've opened a few jars and the flavor is really good with no detectable salt taste. In fact I think the presence of the little bit of salt enhances the flavor.

I have not been using Fruit Fresh because it is just too expensive, although I notice Bulk Foods has it and I may get it in quantity to use next year. While many people do canning because they prefer the taste of home canned (and yes, the taste truly is superior to commercially canned), for me it's all about economy.

Just one more opinion, but yes, it can be done successfully, and no, it doesn't retard freezing. --Ilene


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