Looking for a way to bring more fruit to the table this winter? Consider dried fruit. Although some dried fruit looks different from the fruit from which it is derived, dried fruit is still rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Two dried fruit options are dehydrated and freeze dried. Both processes involve the removal of water to lengthen shelf life. Dehydration involves the application of heat to remove water by evaporation. Sometimes different agents such as sugar, sulfur dioxide, oil, and citric acid are applied to maintain flavor and/or color. Freeze drying involves the removal of heat and application of pressure to cause water molecules within the fruit to change from a solid to a gas phase. Freeze dried fruit tends to maintain its shape much better than dehydrated fruit.
Dried fruit makes healthy snacks and gifts. It can be added to granola, popcorn mixtures, dipped in chocolate, and added to quick bread mixes to add flavor. If giving dried fruit as a gift be careful to watch for preservatives in the dried fruit. As mentioned earlier, dehydrated fruit may contain extra sugar which may not be desirable for those watching their simple sugar intake or sulfur which may cause an allergic type reaction in some people. Dried fruit is a wonderful way to bring back the flavors of the fruit of another season.