Dried fruits are trendy. Available everywhere and very practical, they are often used for recipes, desserts or snack time. For example, one serving of dried fruit is about ¼ cup, that is to say, 2-3 dates or 4-5 dried apricots.
Is this a "healthy" choice?
Dried fruit, obtained by dehydration, contains all the fibre and nutrients of the original product. For that matter, the sugar content is "naturally" increased by the product's water loss. However, the fibre content varies from one product to another. Dates, prunes, apricots and figs have higher amounts of fibre compared to grapes and cranberries.
Sugar content also varies from product to product. Indeed, some dried fruits have sugar added (e.g. cranberries) to reduce their bitterness. Mangoes, grapes, dates, apricots or figs generally do not have any. It is possible to choose fruits sweetened with fruit juice or versions with less added sugar to reduce the added sugar content.
Also, we recommend you to choose products that are not coated with oil and are sulphite free. These last additives are used to avoid browning due to oxidation of the fruit. Sulphite-free fruit will be browner but tastier!
Many products have added vitamin C. Vitamin C is used to restore the content lost during processing and is also a preservative. To optimize their shelf life, leave dried fruit in a closed, airtight container in a dark, cool place.
Very versatile, dried fruit can be added to many recipes and meals such as cereals, oatmeal, nuts, yogurt, pancakes, soft bars and muffins. An increasingly popular trend is to replace refined sugar with fruit purées such as date purée. This alternative adds fibre as a bonus compared to traditional sugars (maple syrup, honey, white sugar, brown sugar). Thus, you can reduce the amount of sugar or fat added to traditional recipes by adding fruit purées. Madame Labriski is a chef who has popularized date purée for many uses (http://madamelabriski.com).
Discover some recipes which require dried fruit at the following links:
You now have all the tools to make good dried fruit choices!
Dried fruits, candied fruits, and company. Ricardo [online] [https://www.ricardocuisine.com/chroniques/chimie-alimentaire/517-fruits-seches-confits-et-compagnie]
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