There are many myths and legends about dried fruit, most of them caused by the total lack of knowledge we have about this type of food and the technique used to obtain it.
Dried fruit is nothing more than fruit that, through a special treatment, the water it contains is extracted.
After the drying process, the fruit not only loses water but also becomes sweeter and has a different texture than usual, but is it still a healthy food?
In this post we will try to clear up all the doubts about dried fruits, their benefits and how to incorporate this kind of food in your daily diet.
Step by step to make dried fruit at home
Dehydration of fruit is a process that was born in Mesopotamia. In those days it was used as a way to preserve the fruit, and by applying this method they managed to extend the life of their favorite fruits.
To make the dried fruit at home, first go to the fruit shop you trust and buy the fruit you are going to work with. Generally, the most common ones are strawberries, apples, grapes, peaches, bananas and oranges.
However, this does not mean that you should limit yourself to these fruits, there are also dried coconut, mango, kiwi, pear, pineapple, in other words, any fruit can be subjected to this process.
Wash them very well and cut them into slices, this way the drying process will be easier. It is not necessary to remove the skin.
After you finish cutting the fruit and have it all ready for drying, you have several options to fulfill the next step:
This is the traditional way of drying fruit.
It is ideal for people who live in hot and dry climates, the temperature should be around 40º centigrade.
Place the fruit slices on trays and leave them exposed to the sun. At night, put them away to prevent the dew from rehydrating them. The next day, turn them over and place them back in the sun.
Repeat the process until you get the desired result and the fruit has dried out as you expected.
There are homemade dehydrators that can be used to place the fruit in the sun, make better use of the heat generated and also protect the fruit during the whole drying process.
Although this way of preparing dehydrated fruit includes the use of the oven, so it is less ecological than the previous one, it is an option for those who do not live in a hot climate.
To obtain dehydrated fruit in the oven, turn it on at about 60º centigrade and wait a few minutes for it to heat up.
Open the oven door and place the tray of fruit slices inside. Do not close the door completely, so that the moisture from the fruit is quickly released.
Every 10 minutes, turn the fruit slices over for even drying.
How do you know when it is ready?
Everyone has their own tastes and ways of eating, dried fruits are no exception to this rule.
However, in order to know how they should look, you only need to take one of the slices, check that it is dry, but they can still be bent without breaking. That’s your fair point.
Now, as we told you, everyone has their own preference.
Benefits of dried fruit
When talking about dehydrated fruit, many people dismiss it, thinking that because of its appearance it is not a healthy food and that is far from the truth.
To dispel those myths, we mention the most outstanding benefits of eating dried fruit on a regular basis.
Excellent source of energy
Consumption in large portions, up to 50 grams of dehydrated fruit, provides vital energy for our normal functioning.
For this reason, it is recommended that they be consumed by people who are physically active, women who are breastfeeding or pregnant, children and young students.
In addition, because it does not significantly alter the amount of calories you should consume daily, it is recommended that you eat them during weight loss diets.
During the process of dehydration of the fruit, the micronutrients raise its concentration up to 5 times more than fresh fruit.
This means that regular consumption of dried fruit will give you, simply and naturally, the micronutrients you need, especially when you practice long-distance sports such as marathons.
The micronutrients regularly found in dried fruits are: potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, magnesium and vitamins B, K, A and E, among others.
Great for fighting anxiety
It is known that dehydrated fruit has the capacity to produce a sensation of satiety, that is why it is ideal to consume it during slimming diets and when suffering anxiety attacks.
To help you in both cases, it is ideal to eat dried fruit between meals, as a snack, it is a perfect snack that will not generate any weight gain or interfere with your diet.
With a few grams of dried fruit you will satisfy your hunger and not add unnecessary calories to your body.
Ideal treatment for anemia
Anemia is low blood iron. People who suffer from anemia find dehydrated fruits an excellent ally.
It is estimated that in 100 g of dried apricot there are about 7 g of iron, a not insignificant figure for those who suffer from anemia and want to raise their iron levels.
On average, it is believed that 100 g of dehydrated fruit provides 12 g of fibre to your body.
For this reason, eating dried fruit has a laxative effect that will naturally allow you to regulate the functioning of your intestine.
The best choices, if you suffer from constipation, are dates and plums.
Antioxidants prevent cardiovascular diseases and improve the elimination of liquids and sodium, since they promote diuresis or urine secretion.
Dehydrated fruits are a great source of antioxidants because of their high concentration in antioxidant vegetables such as polyphenols and carotenoids.
Right for diabetics
Despite what is believed, dried fruits can be eaten by people with diabetes.
They are sweet foods, but the sugars they contain are simple, for this reason they do not promote a growth in blood sugar levels.
Although it is advisable to eat them under medical supervision, due to their condition, it is known that dehydrated fruits are suitable for consumption by diabetics.
Recipes with dried fruit
Dried fruit is usually eaten as a snack.
However, we have the option of preparing a good number of recipes where dried fruit is the star ingredient.
Here are some ideas for incorporating the consumption of this delicious food into your daily diet in a different way.
Appetizers with dehydrated fruit
Dried fruits have a very characteristic sweet taste, that taste combines perfectly with strong cheeses, such as Roquefort or goat cheese.
Spread a piece of bread with the strong cheese of your choice and place a small piece of dried fruit on top of the cheese. You will give your guests a burst of flavor.
Dried fruit in the filling
Puff pastry fillings or baked goods can go a different way when a small amount of dried fruit is added.
For example, when we make puff pastry with caramelized apple filling, you can add some raisins to it. We also fill cakes with prunes.
Be sure you will get a dessert that will please all your relatives or guests at a nice dinner.
But you don’t have to stay in the field of sweet preparations.
You can also season the stuffing of the chicken or turkey that you are preparing in the oven. It will undoubtedly give a sweet touch to any of your preparations.
Give another level to that dough
This comes from Italian cuisine.
When you cook pasta, you add a little olive oil of the best quality you can afford, garlic and parmesan cheese.
Now, if you add a few grapes or prunes, you’ll have a real treat.
When you prepare your sauces for a baked pork loin or a beef tenderloin, you can give it a more gourmet touch by adding some dehydrated fries.
For example, figs and raisins are excellent options to add that touch to your preparations, as they add flavor but are not invasive.
Don’t be afraid to add a few sweet touches to your next sauce and surprise all your guests with your cooking skills.