Fruits are delicious and sweetened with natural sugars, which make them not only delicious but also nutritious. Nutrients like vitamins, fiber and minerals can be found in them. They also have low-calorie content. No wonder they are considered to be nature’s healthy candy.
Freeze-drying techniques are a bit more advanced nowadays. Because of this, many food brands use this method to preserve meals without losing the nutrients. Freeze drying is different from dehydration, which involves removing only a third of moisture which can lead to bacterial growth and molds. The freeze-drying method removes 98% of the moisture from fruits and vegetables.
Foods that are products of freeze-drying can be restored to their original form once added with water. Because freeze-drying completely depletes food of moisture, there is very little need to add preservatives to keep bacteria away. By utilizing the proper packaging and storage methods, freeze-dried foods can last for a long time.
What is Freeze Dried Fruit?
Freeze dried fruits, as well as other freeze dried foods, have been around for decades and were developed to make eating and transporting food easier for an on-the-go lifestyle. All of the moisture is taken out of fresh fruit, leaving it in its purest form. What’s left is 100% fruit that’s crispy and slightly sweet for you to enjoy.
Although it may not be so obvious, freeze dried fruit can be a much healthier option than regular dried fruit. Without using the freeze dried process to keep fruit fresh for an extended period of time, most dried fruit snacks have added sugars and preservatives to keep them from going bad. Wondering what else makes freeze dried fruit so great? Read on to find out!
How does freeze-dried fruit compare nutritionally to frozen and dried fruits?
While fresh fruit is obviously the ideal choice, freeze-dried and frozen fruits are actually your next best bet in terms of nutrition. In fact, frozen and freeze-dried fruit are often more nutrient-dense than their fresh counterparts because they are harvested while in-season and immediately flash-frozen or freeze-dried to lock in all of its good-for-you nutrients.
What’s more, compared to dried fruit that only removes about 75-95% of moisture through simple dehydration which is often associated with a loss of vitamins A and C, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin,freeze-dried fruit maintains most of its nutrients, save for fiber and vitamin C, as fiber is contained in the cell walls and skin of fruit, while vitamin C is water-soluble and quickly broken down. Plus, freeze-dried fruit is bursting with natural flavor, so it doesn’t need to be sprinkled with additives or extra sugar to please your taste buds.
How To Freeze-Dry Fruit?
The freeze-drying process offers the flexibility to remove moisture content and preserve almost any fruit or vegetable.
But apart from sheer variety, the major advantage of freeze-drying lies in the ability to produce clean, whole and nutritious food ingredients with a highly prolonged shelf life, making food products versatile, accessible and convenient.
The process of freeze drying fruit takes place in three steps that, appropriately enough, begins with freezing the fruit.
The process begins with selecting top-quality fresh fruit, sourced from certified, carefully-selected growers who undergo a stringent audit review process. The fruit is then frozen to below 0°F.
In the next step, the fruit is placed in a vacuum chamber under low heat. In the vacuum chamber, a process called “sublimation” occurs when frozen water crystals evaporate directly from ice to water vapor. The fruit then undergoes one more session of drying under slightly higher temperatures to remove any remaining water molecules.
During the final step, the freeze dried fruit slices are collected and inspected. Qualified fruit slices are packaged into moisture-proof and air-proof packages to preserve nutrition, flavor, and freshness.
How Healthy Is Freeze-Dried Fruit?
Low In Calories
Some brands of freeze-dried fruit contain less than 40 calories per 10-gram serving. Other brands may differ in calorie count, but most will be reasonable. If you are trying to lose weight, low-calorie foods, including freeze-dried fruit, will satisfy your sweet tooth.
High in Fiber
Fiber is an important nutrient because it promotes regularity in your digestion and helps keep your cholesterol levels low, which reduces your risk of heart disease. Getting adequate fiber in your diet also lowers your chance of developing colon cancer. Freeze-dried fruit contains up to 2 g of fiber per 1/2 cup. Eating fiber controls your appetite and prevents you from reaching for unhealthy snacks between meals. In most cases, freeze-dried fruit is similar in fiber content to dried fruit. However, if you are trying to increase your fiber intake, eating fresh fruit could be a better option.
Freeze drying fruit concentrates the antioxidants it contains, which means a bigger impact on your health. Antioxidants are compounds found in most plant foods, and they work by fighting free radical damage in your body that comes from the environment and unhealthy foods. Eating foods high in antioxidants helps your body fight illnesses that include heart disease and cancer. Just 2 tbsp. of freeze-dried black raspberries offer as many antioxidants as an entire cup of fresh ones.
In contrast to dried fruit, freeze-dried fruit is not made with added sugar. Its natural sweetness makes it a healthy alternative to dried fruit when preparing muffins or bread. Having no added sugar means that freeze dried fruit contains fewer calories. If you have diabetes or are at risk of developing it, choosing foods that are low in sugar could protect you from health complications that often accompany the disease.
Freeze-dried fruit contains similar amounts of nutrients when compared with fresh fruit. Some are lost during the freeze-drying process, but you still increase your intake for vitamins A and C, iron and potassium when you eat it. These vitamins and minerals protect your immunity, help your blood stay adequately oxygenated and regulate your blood pressure. Freeze-dried fruit is lighter in weight than fresh fruit, making it a good choice to carry along on a hike or marathon.
Do processed fruits actually have more sugar than fresh fruit?
Freeze-dried fruit or unsweetened dried fruit, just like any other processed foods are believed to be filled with unhealthy sugar. Do they have more sugar than fresh fruit? Here’s the answer.
It’s not about the amount of sugar; it’s about your portions. During the process of freeze-drying the fruits, they shrink in size while the moisture is being removed. This is done to easily consume them without losing their original nutritional content, including sugar. It’s just like trying to eat 20 grapes versus trying to eat 20 raisins. Twenty grapes is a handful, right? If you eat 20 grapes, you will feel relatively full; which limits your consumption. But when you eat 20 raisins, you will consume it in a shorter time without feeling full.
Freeze-dried fruit doesn’t have higher sugar content than fresh fruit. They are just easier to consume in larger quantities. And since it’s easier to digest, you need to be mindful of your portions. You can consume freeze-dried fruits together with some protein and healthy fats, like almonds, for a better-rounded meal.