Drying

Pasta drying is an excellent example of a process in which a relatively small amount of microwave energy is needed to generate maximum benefits. This process is accomplished in three stages: conventional hot air drying of the freshly extruded pasta followed by a microwave-hot air stage and a temperature equalization stage. The fresh pasta enters the first stage at about 30% moisture where it is exposed to hot air at 71-82°C. Rapid moisture loss to about 23% occurs in minutes and drying is continued for a total of about 35 min to reduce the moisture to about 18%. The product then falls by gravity into one end of the microwave thermal dryer where the combination of microwave energy at 915 MHz and hot air (82-93°C, 15-20% RH, 30.5 mpm) lowers the moisture level to 13-13.5% in about 12 min. The product finally falls once again by grav-

Table 3. Energy Requirement to Thaw Frozen Beef

J/g

°C

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