Food processing and preservation transforms raw foods such as meat, vegetables, fruits and marine products into tasty, nutritious and safe to eat foods. Fruits in particular deteriorate when it has reached its stage of ripeness. In various processing methods employed, dehydration is an intermediate step in turning raw agricultural products into retail products. Dehydration makes the conventional food and pharmaceutical industries possible and profitable (Francis,2000). Dehydration under controlled conditions of temperature and humidity to a specific point and in a given time ensures superior quality of the finished product. Dehydration is one of the oldest processing techniques that offer a means of preserving foods especially fruits in a stable and safe condition. It also provides extended shelf life to fresh fruits. It is estimated that drying costs less than canning and one-fourth as much as freezing.
Dehydration techniques at present either employ solar drying methods or mechanically heated air (Nury,et.al.,1973). The equipment used for dehydration depends to a large extent upon the nature of the product being dried, the desired form of the finished product, economics, operating conditions and the technical know-how of the people doing the process (Hendly, 2000).
The technology in food dehydration can be learned at the secondary level of education and in vocational schools as well. It can be included in the home and technology subject in the Makabayan component of the Restructured Basic Education Curriculum (RBEC). The Makabayan subject in the RBEC is composed of home economics, music, arts and health education. Moreover, food dehydration technology can be offered as a new two-year course in vocational schools to give high school graduates who does not wish to go to college an option to be an entrepreneur in the food business and related field.
The competency based format provides the means for monitoring student progress and intended to be the fundamental guide to schools for program content. The focus of said strand infusion is on food preparation, preservation, processing and related consumer topics as an added entrepreneurial concept.
The proposed teachers’ manual will emphasize full class participation and teamwork as well as individual projects and/or study. The teacher handling the subject is the facilitator and the manager of the classroom environment. The focus will be more on laboratory and project-based instruction designed to enable and inspire students to develop high-level analytical skills. Project-based learning and teaching is an inductive teaching method that begins with an assignment to carry out one or more tasks that lead to the production of a final product – a design, model or device. The culmination of the project is a written or oral report summarizing the procedural steps used to produce the product and presenting the outcome to the whole group.
Aside from modifying the experimental dehydrator through design analysis and modeling, an option window for experimentation can be carried out to come up with a comparative analysis on the quality and economics of a locally fabricated table top dehydrator that can be crafted by the school learners as an output or project.