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HOW TO: Remove preservatives from dried fruit

How to reduce or remove the Sulphur Dioxide preservative from dried fruit.

The use of SO2 (Sulphur Dioxide) has made it possible to preserve many delicate dried fruits. The SO2 suppresses bacterial growth in the fruit. With the use of SO2 we get affordable dried fruits with a long shelf life which also retain much of their original colour and eye appeal. 

Fruits dried without SO2 are much darker in colour, often bordering on black, as well as having to be much drier to prevent the growth of mould and bacteria. This could make for a less enjoyable eating experience.

Should you wish to reduce or get rid of the SO2, whether it is because you are allergic or you just want to minimize ingestion, the following options may be of use:

1.    If you want to reduce the SO2, remove only the fruit to be eaten that day from the packaging. Place it on a cookie rack for several hours of “breathing”. 

Eat some. If you don't smell the SO2 and do not react adversely, then all should be well. 

2.    If you do react to it, then make a 1% lemon juice water solution. Soak the fruit in the solution for an hour. If you don't like the flavour imparted by the lemon solution, rinse the fruit with water when you remove it from the lemon solution. Pat with towels, and let breathe on a cookie rack for an hour.

Eat some. Do you react to it? 

3.    If "yes" then boil the fruit in the lemon solution for 5-10 minutes. The solution is acidic, which accelerates the expulsion of the SO2, and the vitamin C from the lemon juice inhibits oxidation of chemicals responsible for fruit flavours. 

If you don't like the flavour imparted by lemon solution, rinse the fruit with water. Pat dry and let breathe on a rack for an hour. 

Eat some. Do you still react to it?

If "yes", you are one of the extremely small fraction of people who should not eat dried fruit which has been dried with the use of SO2.  

Be aware that each step to reduce SO2 may also reduce quality of taste and texture of the fruit.

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