Out for the day? Think there will be few restaurants and hunger is a concern? Simply fill a baggie with mixed dried fruits, and add some nuts and shredded coconut, if you wish. It won’t spoil, it’s light to carry, it’s an energy booster, it tastes good, it’s good for you and its’ relatively cheap. You are good to go!
Fruit is dried by removing most of its water content by sun drying or dehydrating. Today, pears, dates, apples, prunes, peaches, figs and apricots are considered traditional dried fruits as opposed to many fruits such as cranberries, blueberries, cherries, strawberries and mangos which are dried by infusing with a sweetener. Sulfur dioxide is sometimes added to the fruit to improve its shelf life and color. If you’re allergic to it, you can usually find unsulfured, dried fruit in health food stores.
The earliest occurrence of dried fruit was in Mesopotamia about 1700 BCE. It soon spread to Greece and Italy where the people became very fond of it. Plums, peaches and apricots, however, have their origins in Asia recorded back near 3000 BCE.
In the U.S., people consume a lot of dried fruit. Most of it is grown neat the Joaquin Valley in California. They prefer their dried fruits in this order: raisins, prunes/plums, figs, peaches then dates. All dried fruit is high in fiber and potassium. Raisins and prunes are the only ones with a high percentage of Boron, important for healthy bones and joints.
Store unopened packages of dried fruit in a cool, dry area. Store opened containers in the refrigerator for extended periods. However, one of the largest advantages of dried fruit is its keeping qualities during work and travel. Be sure to pay attention to the package’s “Best if Used by Date.”
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Soak raisins in hot water for five minutes prior to baking with them. They will be plumper and juicier.
- Baked sweets
- Fruit pastes
- Hot cereal
- Juice concentrates
- Lunch boxes
- Mix with nuts
- Plain as snack
- Trail mixes
Below are foodsites with recipes using dried fruit.