HYDERABAD: For those who love their food to be local, health and inexpensive, there is a new concept of solar dried food. The All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) was on a mission to promote the usage of these solar dried products in homes at an event at Hotel Baseraa in Secunderabad recently. AIWC joined hands with Ohris Group of Restaurants to prepare different dishes using their Solar Dried food products, such as Solar Dried pasta, Solar Dried Tomatoes, onions, bhindi, methi leaves, Palak etc. Chef Amey, Chef Amar and Chef Archit took the lead in helping the guests understand the concept and the making.
The programme was attended by women from various NGOs that are partner organizations of AIWC in the City. Sunita Bhagwat, Commissioner, Tourism, Telangana state, was the guest of the day. Three other organizations displayed their Solar dried foods, and two experts Dr Bamji Mahtab, Retd NIN officer and Nutrition scientist and Dr Srinivas Chakravarthy, Physicist who manufactures solar driers, spoke about the promotion of Solar Dried products in the market. Supriya Bhalerao, Secretary of AIWC conceived the idea and executed it. The President Farida Hussain and other committee members explained the need for such products.
“Usage of Solar Energy in general, has become the necessity for the countries of the World. A lot of effort is going into generating power using solar energy. Women can use solar cookers and driers for cooking.They can dry vegetable and fruits, also different foods, in solar driers on a small or a big scale. They are dried in a scientific and hygienic manner to store in homes. The purpose is to have it available in our kitchen in an emergency, or in off-season, or for quick cooking,” they elaborated.
Drying in these gadgets not only preserves the nutrients in food, but also restores the flavour and its taste. Thus, as compared to the food that is dried directly under the sun on the terrace, solar dried food is more hygienic, dust free and tastier, the session concluded. These products can be soaked in warm water for 30 minutes to rehydrate and put to use for making various dishes.
AIWC, a 90-year-old organisation working for the upliftment of the women and children, having its head office in New Delhi, trains women in solar drying, helps them make the products and market them. Currently, no grocery stores stock solar dried products and there is a need for more women to come forward, get trained and start this as a business that has future.
All participants concurred with this and showed willingness to do whatever is required for the promotion of Solar Drying. It was also agreed upon that the representatives of different organisations will come together and form a group which will work towards the objective of producing popularising the solar dried products.
The branch in Hyderabad runs a Working Women’s hostel for the women from AP and Telangana and a free primary school for the children of the under-privileged parents. The centre has a vocational training centre, a low-cost sanitary napkin production unit in Chevella and a solar dried product unit in Hyderabad.