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An addition to SJ 03. HARVEST - FOOD - DRIED & DELICIOUS

Bijgewerkt op: 31 jan.



Together with other techniques such as pickling or smoking, drying is one of the oldest methods of extending the shelf life of food. It is a process that removes water, dehydrating food so that its properties are not altered. 

If stored properly, dried foods can last several months, which is why they have been part of Asian culture for centuries, especially during the cold winter period.


Chinese cuisine is certainly rich in flavour, colour, taste, and health benefits.  That’s not all — Chinese people also pay special attention to the texture of food. Besides being practical, dried ingredients add texture to the dish, as well as an incredible flavour that creates the umami, or 'savoury' taste for which they are famous. 

Among the typically dried ingredients, the red chilli pepper,  with its strong and extremely spicy flavour, certainly stands out.

It’s used in almost all Chinese cuisines, including Sichuan, Hunan, Beijing, Hubei, and Shaanxi, and is also particularly popular because it is believed that its spiciness helps to dissipate bodily humidity. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, China produces over half of all chilli peppers in the world.

Today, the most advanced agricultural technologies ensure more choice during the winter season. Why, then, continue to use the ancient technique of drying?First of all, drying is an ecological method: it reduces the environmental impact, allowing fruit and vegetables to be ready for use in every season without having to import them from the other side of the world. It’s also an economical method, allowing stocks to be managed, and surplus fresh fruit or vegetables to be transformed into food that can be used throughout the year for the preparation of innovative dishes. In fact, drying, as already mentioned, increases the potential of food, creating textures that can make cooking different and creative. Moreover, it’s healthy: it does not require the addition of preservatives to maintain food over time.

 

The age-old method of drying means seasonal fruit and vegetables are always available, with unchanged nutritional qualities and safety. They save time and money and have a low environmental impact. And the practice transcends cultures, leaving an indelible mark on diverse culinary landscapes worldwide.

Words by Asia Pedron

Photos Linda Loenen - dried vegetables in Huangshan, China



 

 Read more about harvest, craft, art, design, and much more in our issue 03. HARVEST



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