(NaturalNews) Many people ingest large quantities of sulphur dioxide on a daily basis, without even being aware of it. This is because the preservative is added to dried fruit, wine, fruit juices, jams, instant coffee and other products. In addition, hydrogenated fats are often added to dried fruit, which contribute to cardiovascular disease and obesity. Fruits can easily be dried at home as a less expensive and healthier option to buying store-bought dried fruit.
Sulphur dioxide is a preservative that is used to make dried fruits look better by preventing fruits from going brown. It helps to keep fruit moist and extends their shelf life. However, sulphur dioxide has been linked to asthma attacks, stomach problems and lower respiratory tract symptoms. Due to its composition, sulphur dioxide is a major air pollutant and has significant impact on human health when breathed in or ingested.
Preservative free, sun-dried fruit
Dried tree fruit such as peaches, apricots, apples, peaches and pears are usually heavily sulphited. If dried fruits are store-bought from organic stores, they are generally expensive. Yet, sun-dried fruits such as banana and mango slices, apples, coconut, tomatoes, peaches, pears and pineapples are so easy to make at home.
For sun-drying, the outside temperature must be hot and dry - 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius. Pick or buy fruits that are firm, ripe and free of blemishes. Simply wash the fruit thoroughly, slice and place on a tray or baking sheet in direct sunlight. Berries or grapes should be dried whole.
Make sure there is netting over the fruit to keep insects and dust off. Turn the fruit daily so that they dry evenly. Once the fruit is dehydrated, pack into airtight containers. Remember, the fruit will not look as good as dried fruit with sulphur dioxide added and they will not store indefinitely. Keep for snacking on or add to chopped nuts for a delicious breakfast muesli.
Oven dried fruit
To dry fruit in the oven, line the oven racks with cheesecloth or parchment paper and place the fruit slices in rows so the pieces don't touch each other. The oven should be as low as possible, around 145 degrees Fahrenheit or 62 degrees Celsius maximum. Keep the oven door open so that the fruit doesn't steam or cook. When dried out, the fruit should have a chewy consistency. If they are crunchy, they've been drying in the oven too long.
Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about natural, healthy living and is currently studying to be a naturopath. She divides her time between writing for Natural News and various other sites, home schooling her children and studying part time.