Archive for February, 2011

Squeeze On Quinoa Supply?

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Quinoa in Bolivia

We’ve already touched on the surge in demand for quinoa as people, particularly in the west, become educated on the fantastic properties of this tiny seed (yes, technically quinoa is a seed, but it is often referred to as a grain!). It would be fair to say that quinoa is fast becoming a hit in North America as it lands on the shelves of mainstream grocers.

However, times aren’t so great for the world’s main exporter of quinoa. In Bolivia, drought and late freezes have halved output this year. We’ll be following up on this to see if and when it may affect wholesale prices. We source quinoa for food manufacturers from both Bolivia and Peru to help ensure a decent supply of this amazing seed that can be used in a multitude of food applications.

Watch more on the problems in Bolivia from Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Creative Commons License photo credit: einalem

Dehydrated vs. Freeze Dried Fruit: What You Need To Know

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Swell Dried Apples

Both freeze dried and dehydrated fruits are popular because it extends the life of fruit while allowing for all kinds of interesting applications that would simply not be possible with fresh fruit. However, freeze dried and dehydrated fruit are not created equal! While both start with fresh fruit, the process involved is very different. WiseGeek outlines the processes:

Dehydration involves putting the fruit in a warm environment which causes the water to be removed from the fruit over time. Traditionally this is done by laying cut fruit in the sun or on a warm surface. A more modern technique involves the use of equipment designed to remove the water from the fruit. Crucially no chemicals are added to the fruit nor is it necessary to add sugar. When you take the water out of fruits, the natural sugars become concentrated and the dried fruit will be sweeter than usual. Dehydrated fruits usually have a somewhat pliable texture.

Freeze drying is a more complicated procedure. First the fruit is frozen and put into a vacuum that will gradually extract the water content. Heat is applied such that the frozen fruit thaws quickly while the vacuum extracts the water. Freeze dried fruit retains the taste of fresh fruit but with a crispy texture.

Using unique procedures such as a swell drying process, Ingredient Hotline can provide crispy fruit that is not freeze dried, but instead completely natural: no added oil, acrylamide, fat, salt, sugar or other chemicals.  Contact us if you’d like to learn more about this unique product that allows for new and innovative applications using dried fruit.