Early man subsisted on fruit and berried that had dehydrated by the sun during the winter months when other food was not available. While man probably originally gathered this food from the vine where it had grown and the water had evaporated naturally, eventually he discovered the sun could be used to dry fresh fruit so that it could last the entire colder season until they could be gathered again from the next growing season. Preservative free dried fruits help families make better choices in their diet today.
Most manufacturers of these products today use preservatives to enhance color and improve stability on the shelf. Sulfur dioxide is one of the most common preservatives. However, this chemical compound can make fruit more difficult for the human body to digest. It also has other disadvantages.
Apricots are one example of what the preservatives can do. With this addition, the color remains a bright orange expected by the consumer. When prepared without the sulfur dioxide, the fruit will turn brown. While consumers may initially find this color less attractive than that to which they are accustomed, they are often won by the better aroma ant taste that are offered by the darker color of the fruit.
Although preservatives do provide a better color in the finished product and increase its shelf life, the advantages may not outweigh the disadvantages. Those who experience sulfite sensitivities can experience adverse reactions from consuming this type of fruit. Sulfites are also responsible for acute asthma reactions.
The method of drying fruit can affect both flavor and quality. Most products can be dehydrated using only solar power. Sometimes raisins and berries need to be dipped in a small amount of vegetable oil to prevent them from clumping together when they dry. Larger pieces can easily be preserved without using oils or dips.
Some manufacturers add sugar to fruit in the drying process. In most cases, the drying process intensifies the natural sweetness and there is no need for this addition. However, certain berries, such as cranberries are naturally very tart and too sour to eat without some sweetening. If refined sugars are a concern, look for fruit that has been sweetened using organic apple juice.
While many people enjoy eating this type of fruit right out of the package, there may be times that it needs to be rehydrated before eating. Simply place the fruit in a glass or ceramic heat proof bowl and add twice as much water as fruit. Allow to stand for 15-45 minutes and drain the excess liquid. The liquid will have absorbed some of the flavor from the fruit and can be added to hot cereals or baked goods for extra flavor.
Preservative free dried fruits offer an healthy way for the family to snack. By eliminating the preservatives from the diet, it is easier to ensure that foods are safe for the whole family. What these foods lack in looks, they more than compensate for with their superior flavor and aroma.
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Author: William EdgarThis author has published 1 articles so far.