What is Dried Fruit?
Dried fruit is fruit that has been preserved by having all of its moisture removed. Fruit that has been dried typically keeps for a long time. Organisms that thrive on moisture are usually responsible for making fruit spoil. When there is no moisture present in the fruit, these organisms normally cannot survive. If dried fruit is stored properly, it is safe to consume for months.
An oven, a dehydrator, or the sun may be used to dry fruit. When the sun is used, conditions usually have to be ideal for the dehydration process to work. Preferable conditions for solar dehydration are typically low humidity with temperatures above 95°F (35°C) for three to five days in a row. Oven dehydration is often considered the easiest method, but could result in darker fruit with a brittle texture. Using a dehydrator for making dried fruit is probably the best way to guarantee a superior product each time.
Fruits that are chosen for drying are usually ripe but not overly ripe. Any blemishes or bruising present on the outside of the fruit are typically cut off beforehand. Molded fruit is generally not acceptable for preserving. After the fruit is selected, it is usually cut up into small slices. Most people opt for smaller pieces over larger ones because big chunks of fruit may take longer to completely dry out.
Pre-treating fruit is common before preservation because it helps the fruit retain its color. One method of pre-treatment is done by dipping the fruit into a mixture of citrus juices and lukewarm water. Certain vegetables, such as green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and peas, may be blanched in boiling water to preserve their color. Pectin, honey, and ascorbic acid are also sometimes used to pre-treat both fruits and vegetables. Pasteurization after drying may be recommended for fruits that will be stored for a long time to prevent insect eggs from forming on the food.
The length of time dried fruit will keep generally depends on the type. Dried raisins may last for up to one year, and most other varieties could last for at least one month or longer. It is typically recommended to store dried fruit in airtight containers away from direct light. Refrigeration is usually not harmful, but may shorten the shelf life due to moisture in the air. Freezing dried fruit can change the flavor and texture of the food but keeps any existing moisture frozen, thereby lengthening the storage time.
Whenever I take lunch with me to work I always make sure to toss in a handful or two of dried fruit. I find that the natural sugars in the fruit provide me with a lot of energy so I can get through my shift in one piece.
When I go for bike rides, or on hikes I'll also take dried fruit, but I will make sure to mix it with nuts so I can get a really good and healthy snack in. My doctor actually told me that dried fruits can help you keep your energy longer as the natural sugars in them are slower burning. I don't feel sluggish with dried fruit, unlike with things like chocolate bars and candies.
I was reading a bit about dried fruit online and was really curious about the dried fruit mix I have been seeing at my grocery store. It includes banana chips, dried apricots, dried apples and some dried strawberries.
What I found interesting is that dried fruit actually contains more calories than regular fruit, but are loaded with vitamins, so calorie for calorie, they are way better than a package of chips or some cookies. As far as I can tell, apricots are one of the best dried fruits as they contain a ton of iron and vitamin E. Vitamin E is fantastic for your hair and nail health.
My favorite dried fruit comes in a package with coconut, almonds, and dark chocolate bits. It is marketed as an antioxidant mix, and that is fine with me. It tastes great, so if I can get some nutritious benefit from it as well, that’s awesome.
Dried cranberries and raisins make up the bulk of this mix. They go so well with the almonds and chocolate that I think I’m eating a decadent dessert. It’s hard to believe something so good could be good for you, too.
I actually like the fact that the cranberries are dried. I hate biting into a fresh one and having that intensely flavored juice squirt into my mouth. Dried ones taste so much better.
I like dried fruit, but I prefer it to be mixed with nuts or small candies. That’s why I buy trail mix rather than bags of nothing but dried fruit.
The fruit is pretty sweet, but if it has been bagged with salted nuts, the saltiness will either rub off on it a little or take the edge off when I eat a nut and a piece of fruit in the same bite. Fruit with a strong flavor, like cranberries, is good dried, because it retains its punch, which cuts through the sweetness.
Almond slivers and dried mango make a good combination, as do dried apples and pecans. I feel like I’m getting the best of two food groups with trail mix.
Being a lover of chocolate and fruit, I couldn't resist buying a package of chocolate covered dried fruit.
This has become my favorite snack. Eating the fruit makes me feel a little bit better about the chocolate.
Since chocolate and fresh fruit go so well together, it makes sense that chocolate and dried fruit would taste great too.
Once I start eating it I find it hard to stop, but it can be pretty rich so just a few handfuls will usually satisfy.
Dried fruit really make great snacks. They are so easy and portable to carry around with you and don't leave your hands juicy or sticky.
I like to buy organic dried fruit mixes at the health food store. I also have a dehydrator at home and when I have the time, make up my own dried fruit.
The nice part about drying my own fruit is I can control what goes in the mix when I am done drying the fruit.
My favorite is a combination of dried bananas and apricots. I also like to add some nuts to this for a healthy snack that is good any time of the day.
Every fall I make a trip to the apple orchard and come home with more apples than I know what to do with.
One way I use up all the apples is to slice them and dry them in the dehydrator. The house smells so good while these are drying.
Most dried fruit snacks have a lot of sugar in them, but I don't add any sweetener to my dried fruit. I like to sprinkle them with a little bit of cinnamon.
These dried apple slices are great to mix in with granola and other dried fruit.
@ElizaBennett - Stop it! Seriously, you're making me hungry! I've always wanted to try making my own granola and just haven't gotten around to it.
I like dried fruit, too. But with any dried fruit, watch the calories! Taking out the water makes these very calorie-dense foods. On top of that, they're generally sweetened! (I get why you would sweeten dried cranberries, but why would you need to add sugar to dried *cherries*? Aren't they sweet enough?) In fact, they're often sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (yuck!).
But some healthier stores - like maybe the one you shop at - do carry unsweetened dried fruit. I actually order mine online. My favorite is dried pineapple! Delicious.
Mmmm, dried fruit. I like to get bulk dried fruit at my local health food supermarket and I carry it with me all the time so I have something to give my kids if they get hungry!
People think of raisins, but there are so many yummy options. Cherries are my favorite. My son really likes the dried apricots, and my son likes dried blueberries.
They also make nice cereal toppings. It's not raisin bran or nothing - you can get really creative. Sometimes I get really carried away and make my own granola, then add whatever dried fruit I want.
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