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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/714

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Dried Vegetables

Will this startling process end high prices for farm produce ?

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��and Cheap Living

��By Leigh Danen

��Illustrations by Universal Film Company •

���A pound of dried mixed vegetables prepared especially for soup, is ^.^iLic^^ui *oi o.xLj, adults. The vegetables are dried and shredded within eight hours after they are picked

��A WONDERFUL method for con- serving vegetables by drying has recently been perfected by three Americans. The new system is based on the fact that the micro-organisms which promote fermentation in vegetable matter, depend upon moisture in order to live and propagate. The problem, therefore, nar- rowed itself down to finding a way of removing as much of the water as possible from the vegetables which were to be pre- served, of "dehydrating" them.

The greatest difficulty encountered was not in abstracting the water from, or drying, the food products, but in preserving intact their cell structure so that their original food value would not be lost. After more than five years of experimentation, this has been ac- complished. It is now possible to reduce the percen- tage of moisture in vegetables to well within twelve per cent ; by which process the devel- opment of bac- teria is prevented.

���The vegetables are sliced and then subjected to the action of heated air currents in ovens

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��The vegetables are first sliced and then brought into contact with heated air. Air at any given temperature can take up a certain definite maximum amount of mois- ture; this, under ordinary conditions, it finds no difficulty in extracting from its surroundings.

Heated air containing less than such maximum amount of moisture is introduced into a chamber where the vegetable matter which is to be dried has been placed. The water-seeking air then dehydrates this material almost completely.

The names of the three men who have developed this process are Waldron Wil- liams, Woodford. Brooks and Dr. F, G. Wiechmann. Not more than fifty per cent of the vegetables grown in the United States ever reach the consumer. From the standpoint of the utilization of foodstuffs, this seems almost criminal. Many must have won- dered whether somedaya method

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