Pretreating Fruit With Sodium Bisulfite (Sulfuring)

Sulfuring is the best antioxidant treatment for preserving color. This method is very effective. It will reduce vitamin loss, flavor loss, browning, and deterioration during storage. It is not a preservative in itself, but it discourages insects and microbes, which can cause spoilage. There are 2 methods of sulfuring, each with its own advantages and disadvantages: 

1. Using sulfur fumes
Sulfur fumes are more effective than sulfur solutions, but this method takes more time and special equipment. Fruits sulfured by this method should not be dried indoors because the odor of the fumes is unpleasant.

2. Sulfite Solution Method:
Soaking fruit in a sulfite solution is easy. Prepare a solution of 1 tablespoon sodium bisulfite, or 2 tablespoons sodium sulfite, or use 4 tablespoons of sodium metabisulfite to a gallon of water. Soak slices of fruit for about 5 minutes and halves of fruit for 15 minutes. When process is complete, remove fruit, rinse lightly under cold tap water and place the fruit on the drying trays or absorbent towels. With this method the pieces of fruit are, however, less thoroughly sulfured than they are by fumes. Because of the soaking involved, the fruit absorbs some water, so the drying time is lengthened. Fruit that is sulfured by this method may be dried indoors or out.

WARNING - Sulfite-sensitive individuals should not use this method and should not eat food treated with sulfur.
It is estimated that 5% of asthmatics are sensitive to sulfites, and an unknown number of nonasthmatics. The symptoms are sudden attacks of asthma, nausea, difficult breathing, diarrhea and even death. 

Note: Sodium bisulfite is usually available at drugstores and some health food stores. Sodium sulfite and sodium metabisulfite, available at wine-making shops, may also be used.

Steam Blanching
Steam blanching fruit is an alternative to sulfuring, but it is not as effective and more vitamins are lost and drying takes longer. For these reasons steam blanching is not recommended.

Real Cooking

Did You Know?

For curing the meat on traditional way farmers usually used pickling salt, salt peter (sodium nitrate), white or brown sugar or molasses. These were the necessary preservatives.

The others such as boracic acid, borax and soda were often used for sweetening the brine and to keep it from spoiling but they are not absolutely essential.

The salt extracts moisture and acts as a preservative. The sugar or molasses imparts a nice flavor and has a tendency to keep the muscle tissue soft in contrast to the salt, which has a tendency to make it hard and dry. So the salt and sugar have two distinct functions to perform, the one to harden and preserve, the other to soften and sweeten. FREE Recipes