Some ten years ago, the idea was born to develop an aroma-preserving and natural process for drying fruit, vegetables, and herbs. Today, the Herb.ERT drying oven is already being used successfully in numerous places in Austria and abroad. Eduard Paschiner, who, together with Bernhard Kastner is the driving force behind Herb.ERT, confirms that there is further potential for use in the catering sector in particular.
The Herb.ERT XL (l) and GastroBlock: the process is already being used successfully by herb, fruit, and vegetable farms, mushroom producers, restaurateurs, and delicatessens.
The innovation combines the long-proven condensation technology with so-called cycle control so that drying stress or overdrying is avoided and the valuable nutrients are preserved. "With this technology, we provide a resource-saving alternative to the electricity-guzzling automatic dehydrator or other drying methods. Because with drying times between 6-48 hours and power consumption (400 watts) of only about €2, - per 24 hours, it is one of the most economical systems on the market," Paschiner explained to Freshplaza.
Eduard Paschinger and Bernhard Karstner (r) at the ECO PLUS International field day in the Czech Republic in 2019.
Growing demand for dry products
Originally developed for herbs, multifunctional uses are possible now, for example in drying any type of fruit such as apples, pears, and plums. This is particularly advantageous for both the producer or direct marketer and the consumer. According to Paschinger, "high-quality dried products are enjoying steadily increasing demand, not only in the upscale restaurant trade, but above all among sustainably and ethically minded consumers."
Utilization of surpluses
The next step is to further exploit the potential for use in the food service industry, Paschinger continues. "We now want to make Herb.ERT increasingly interesting for any caterers. Among others, Austria's number 1 on the restaurant scene, Heinz Reitbauer and his team from Steirereck in Vienna, now work with Herb.ERT, something we are very proud of. Based on these experiences, we are developing a Herb.ERT for the kitchen, among other things to combat food waste. Everything that is not eaten can simply be dried, put into jars, and can then - infused with hot water - be ingested as a full-fledged 'fast food'." The market launch of this latest innovation is expected in the near future.