Kurtis Bosley asks if dehydration is the sustainable trend we all thought it was

 

Follow Kurtis Bosley, owner of Corretto at Dee Why @cocktailsbykurtis

It’s a Saturday morning, I’ve stepped into the restaurant tired from a Friday night service but excited to start my usual prep shift and chat with the morning team as we sling coffee, mimosas (yes… mimosas! Bring them back I say) and our Spicy Bloody Marys.

I’m cutting old fruit, prepping fresh delivered citrus, herbs and cooking down syrups ready for the long lunches to start. As I placed a tray of citrus wheels into the dehydrator I stopped and questioned what I was really doing.

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Better control… yes. Less waste…. Possibly. Laziness…. definitely.

It’s not a new technique nor is it a game-changing reuse of product in our bars. It has become one of the first shining lights of a sustainable revolution. A personification of mindfulness from the bar team, that they ARE in fact doing their bit for the reduced waste in bars these days.

What has been missed in more recent times is the new conversation around dehydrated fruits and their use as a garnish, as discarded citrus wheels lost of all their delicious liquids are then thrown into the trash anyway after the consumption of such beverage.

What often is overlooked is the fresh fruit bonanza going into dehydrators, bleeding them of their enchanting flavours to then be placed on top of a drink, as it tends to look ‘on-trend’.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a massive benefit to using say a dehydrated citrus wheel for a drinks garnish, if a skillful bartender has cut the wheel coaster thin (hopefully after infusing into something) and has been able to use old fruit that has been destined for the bin, then hats off, you’ve done well.

What often is overlooked is the fresh fruit bonanza going into dehydrators, bleeding them of their enchanting flavours to then be placed on top of a drink, as it tends to look ‘on-trend’.

We can do better.

Next time you dehydrate fruit ask yourself:

‘Can I release this fruit of any of its flavour first?’
‘Does this fruit really need to be dehydrated?’
‘What is the purpose of dehydrating this fruit?’

If you can’t seem to find good answers to the above, move into stage 2 of the dehydrated fruit module.

Now, if you’re unsure of best practice in this field, look no further than to Matt Whiley’s new bar RE in Redfern, with a focus on sustainability BUT also a focus on reduced waste. His belief being that a garnish should add to a drink, either in edible form or by taking you to flavour town.

SUSTAINABILITY = REDUCED WASTE

One such way the dehydrator can come into play, is to create fruit leathers.

HOW TO MAKE FRUIT LEATHER:

  • Make syrup for delicious cocktail
  • Remove any spices or inedible material
  • Put fruits and remaining liquid into the blender, then double the amount of liquid by using last night’s sugar syrup
  • Blend
  • Strain to remove any leftover spices that were missed before
  • Pour liquid onto a non-stick mat and place in dehydrator at 70’ for 24 hours… yes don’t be impatient, this will be the defining moment where you get a crisp fruit leather or a floppy useless moosh
  • Remove, cut and allow your guests to enjoy it used as a garnish

There are so many amazing resources for ways to better dehydrate in your bar, trash tiki has always been a favourite of mine but even better is just talking to your bartender when you enjoy their drinks, you’ll be amazed at what you learn!

 

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