Tree Top transforms fruit into numerous dried ingredients for the food industry. Drying is one of the oldest preservation technologies and continues to be a successful practice. Originally, drying was performed in order to keep foodstuffs for a longer period of time and to smooth out the period between feasts and famines. Not only does drying allow us to enjoy fruit year round, but it has also been helpful to manage moisture levels, influence the appearance of fruit in applications, and made it economical to ship fruits worldwide.
Tree Top dries apples to several different moisture levels. Evaporated apples have been dried to 12-26% moisture. Low moisture apples are air dried to less than 4% moisture. When an item falls between evaporated and low moisture, it is called intermediate moisture. These differences in moisture content have an enormous effect on texture. Evaporated products are soft and chewy whereas low moisture is crunchy. Often when speaking to a food scientist about our products water activity is brought up. The water activity of low moisture pieces is less than 0.2. For evaporated pieces, the water activity ranges from 0.5-0.75. A water activity of less than 0.65 is usually considered shelf stable. Evaporated apples that are above 0.65 have sulfites applied, which work as an antimicrobial and allow the apples to be shelf stable at a higher water activity. Because apples contain sugars, they are hygroscopic. This combination of lower moisture fruit with sugars makes them a great option to help rein in water in a formulation.
Dried fruit comes in an array of sizes and shapes, which allow a developer to choose the perfect piece for their product. Air dried apples can be made into dices, slices, wedges, granules, chips, or can be rolled into flakes to allow for quick re-hydration. Air dried pieces range from as small as an 8 mesh granule up to a wedge. As pieces get smaller there is a higher piece count per pound that may be advantageous in some applications. There is also the option to leave the peel on or take it off depending on the desired outcome. Additionally, fruit purees may be drum dried to produce a powder ranging from 20 mesh up to 4 mesh. Drum dried powders are a great way to add fruit to a whole range of applications. Both drum dried powders and granules are a fantastic way to add fruit pieces in a topical application.
Apples are approximately 85% water when they are picked from the tree. Through the drying process water is greatly reduced. This increases the shelf life up to 48 months depending on the final moisture content and storage temperature. This reduction in moisture also makes it economical to ship more apples more places. As an example, 100 lbs. of fresh apple dices will dry down to a little over 15 lbs. of low moisture. That is a lot of water you don’t have to ship.
Drying continues to be an important process to transform fruit into more forms that extends into more possibilities.
Tree Top’s dried fruit products provide excellent piece identity, great texture, and are shelf stable in a variety of applications. Explore all our dried fruit products and let us create the perfect ingredient for your next application formulation.