This article presents experimental studies on drying kinetics and quality effects of red beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) after convective drying with a preliminary osmotic pretreatment. The effects of the osmotic agent (NaCl) concentration and the osmotic bath time on the product colour and nutrient content preservation, the water activity, and rehydration ability after drying were analysed. Osmotic dehydration curves and Solid Gain (SG), Water Loss (WL), Weight Reduction (WR) were determined. It was proved that drying of beetroot with osmotic pretreatment contributes to shorter drying time, smaller water activity, higher retention of betanin, better colour preservation, and a greater degree of water resorption.
Effects of infrared power output and sample mass on drying behaviour, colour parameters, ascorbic acid degradation, rehydration characteristics and some sensory scores of spinach leaves were investigated. Within both of the range of the infrared power outputs, 300–500 W, and sample amounts, 15–60 g, moisture content of the leaves was reduced from 6.0 to 0.1±(0.01) kg water/kg dry base value. It was recorded that drying times of the spinach leaves varied between 3.5–10 min for constant sample amount, and 4–16.5 min for constant power output. Experimental drying data obtained were successfully investigated by using artificial neural network methodology. Some changes were recorded in the quality parameters of the dried leaves, and acceptable sensory scores for the dried leaves were observed in all of the experimental conditions.