To keep the nuts longer they should be dried well. And you can do it in several different ways. Learn all the options and learn the features of the process.
Why dry the nuts?
Why do nuts, in general, be dried? After collection, they contain a certain percentage of moisture and a fairly large amount of oils. High humidity is an excellent medium for the propagation of pathogenic microorganisms, including mold-forming fungi. And oils with long storage and exposure to oxygen can be oxidized and become less useful (in some cases even harmful), and also unpleasant to taste and bitter. Drying will preserve all the useful properties of the product and its taste, extend its shelf life.
Methods of drying
How to dry nuts? There are several ways, and each is worth considering separately:
- The most obvious, but available is not always the way – it's a natural drying in the fresh air. But the weather must necessarily be sunny or at least dry, as high humidity, first, slow down the process, and secondly, it increases the risks of mold formation. The drying time will depend on the climatic conditions: in the hot summer it can be five to seven days, and in the autumn the process will stretch for two or three weeks. To carry out the workpiece, place all the nuts in one flat layer on a dense fabric or tarpaulin, cover with gauze to protect it from insects. And that the kernels are dried evenly, periodically mix and turn them.
- A simpler and faster option is drying in the oven, all the more so. Warm it up to about 40 or 45 degrees. Put the nuts on a baking sheet so that they lie in one layer, and there is free space between them. The drying process in this way will take about three hours, and the oven door should be kept ajar to circulate the air, and the moisture evaporates immediately. Then the temperature rises to 65-70 degrees, and the nuts are dried for about half an hour. During the whole procedure, it is possible several times to stop and turn over the products so that they are dried evenly.
- If you have a special dryer, then use it. Set the appropriate temperature (about 60-70 degrees), spread the nuts on trays in one layer (do not put them too tightly) and dry for about five or six hours.
- Try using a microwave oven. In it, a flat container with nuts spread out on it is placed for about seven minutes, if the power of the device is about 700-750 watts. But the process is greatly stretched, since the drying is necessary in portions, and the volume of the microwave is small. In addition, the method is very costly, taking into account the electricity consumption.
A few tips that will achieve the best results and improve the quality of the finished product:
- Before drying, be sure to go through the nuts to select the best quality and best. If the shell is damaged, pathogenic microorganisms can penetrate through it, so it is better to immediately eat such specimens and not store them. And if there are spots on the surface, it signals a pest infestation, which could well reach the core (and when dried they will move to other nuts, spoiling most of the crop).
- Dry the ripe nuts better, but they should not stay on the ground for long, since high humidity is undesirable. Walnuts become fully mature when the shell covering the shell is cracked by itself. If it is whole, then the process is not yet complete.
- It is best to store dried nuts in boxes, cardboard boxes or in canvas bags for six months or a year. In any case, the container must let in air. And if it is in a non-residential space, it is advisable to choose a closed one that provides protection from rodents.
- Almonds and other nuts can be dried not only in the shell, but also without it. But remember that this method reduces the storage time to two to three months, since the kernels are deprived of natural protection.
- It is not necessary to raise the temperature when processing in a dryer or oven: in this case, the nuts are not dried, but are practically fried and lose some of the useful properties.
- To find out if the nuts are dried enough, split one of them and try to break the core: if this happens without effort, the process is complete. If the structure is dense, the process should be continued.
Having dried the nuts correctly, you can not only extend the shelf life of their nuts, but also extract the maximum benefit from them, and also enjoy the taste.