Ever grab an apple or pear from a fruit bowl—only to discover a soft, mushy brown spot on its side? If only there was a better way to enjoy your favorite fruits, without worrying about them spoiling.
You're in luck! Freeze dried and dehydrated fruits allow you to savor the sweetness and nutrition density of fresh fruits like apples, blueberries, or strawberries—minus the time constraints.
How We Get Dried Fruits
You may notice that dried fruit looks a bit different than fresh fruit. That's because it goes through a drying process that removes the majority of its water. And without moisture for bacteria to feed on, dried fruit has a longer shelf life.
In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, dried fruits, such as apricots, prunes, or raisins can keep their quality flavors for as long as six months!
Freeze-Dried Fruit vs. Dehydrated Fruit
It's not unusual to see these words get used interchangeably, but it's important to understand how they differ in terms of drying, texture, and storage.
What Is Freeze-Dried Fruit?
You may have guessed that the process of freeze-drying fruit requires the assistance of below-freezing temperatures. Once the fruit is frozen and covered in ice, it is then placed into a vacuum chamber. Using freezing temperatures (below -40° F), the ice doesn't have a chance to turn into a liquid. Instead, it transforms into a gas that dissipates from the food, leaving the shape of the fruit intact.
In terms of texture, freeze-dried fruit is light, airy, and crunchy. This is due to the fact that the fruit is void of any real moisture, as the process removes up to 98% of its water.
What Is Dehydrated Fruit?
Drying fruit can be performed in one of two ways: (1) sun drying or (2) machine drying.
While freeze drying involves much lower temperatures, drying requires hotter conditions (125° F to 140° F) to effectively remove water from each fruit.
Because dehydrated fruit still contains about 20% of its moisture, it has a chewier texture.
Fun facts about dehydrating fruit
- Prior to refrigeration, dehydrating food was one of the earliest forms of food preservation.
- Though certain nutrientsare often broken down during the cooking process, dehydrating fruit can help you retain key nutrients and sweetness that you would otherwise lose from excessive heat.
- Fruits aren't the only ones undergoing dehydration these days. Popular veggies like sweet potatoes and green beans are quickly becoming tasty, on-the-go snacks, too!
- Finally, both dehydrated (and freeze-dried) fruit contain the same amount of nutrients as fresh fruit, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals. This means fruits that are nutrient rich and have little impact on blood sugar (like blueberries and apples) won't lose their nutritional value in dried form. Just remember to skip any dried fruit options that contain added sugars or other calorie-dense ingredients.
Storing Dried Fruits
Although freeze dried and dried fruits have a longer shelf life than fresh fruit, they do require proper storage to maintain their quality flavors and textures.
Storing Freeze-Dried Fruit
It estimated that unopened, freeze-dried fruit has a shelf life of up to 30 years! Once opened, they can last up to one year, if stored under proper conditions.
It recommended storing them in a cool, dry place that isn't exposed to direct sunlight, such as a pantry. If you purchased a bag of freeze-dried fruit from your local grocer, be sure to keep it stored in its original air-tight packaging to help preserve its quality.
Storing Dried Fruit
Most dried fruits can be stored in the pantry or refrigerator to extend its freshness. As with freeze-dried fruit, be sure to keep the fruit sealed inside its original air-tight container and left in a cool, dry place that is out of reach from the sun.
Looking for more nutrient-dense snack ideas for your pantry? Did you know that Good Measure bars contain many of the nutrient-rich ingredients you love, including almonds and dried blueberries? Explore this and other delicious flavors online, or find Good Measure at a store near you!
Check out our blog regularly for more ideas, recipes, and nutritional information.
We'd also love for you to share how you like to mix dried fruit into your favorite recipes on our Instagram page!