September 22, 2009
I gotta admit that I wasn’t immediately drawn to the freeze dried fruit I recently spied at my local Trader Joe’s. (I think it’s all of those freeze dried ice cream fueled family trips to Cape Canaveral.) But then I got to thinking about all of the breakfast cereals that make use of the space age snack and, in true ChowMama fashion, thought: I can use this to make my own lower sugar cereal in all of 5 seconds. Other ideas quickly followed—check them out after the jump and weigh in with your ideas for how to use freeze dried fruit!
Freeze drying is the process of removing almost all of a fruit’s water content. The benefits? Freeze dried fruit is surprisingly nutritious. Antioxidants found in fresh fruit are maintained through the freeze drying process and freeze dried fruits are often packaged without added sugar. So while freeze dried is no substitute for fresh fruit, it can be a great choice compared to most dried fruit or fruit chips (which tend to be fried). Here are a few ideas for how to use freeze dried fruit:
Substitute for dried fruit or fruit chips (better for early eaters!)…
Dried fruit is delicious and nutritious compared to candy and other processed snacks, but it’s basically concentrated sugar. Even worse, it’s often hard to find dried fruit that hasn’t been processed with added sugar. TreeHugger recently ran this graphic showing that a small box of raisins is equivalent to 7 1/2 sugar cubes! Fruit chips can be even worse if they’re fried. Plus, neither dried fruit nor fruit chips can be fed to kids as early as small bits of freeze dried fruit which practically melts in your mouth! A great early finger food.
Add to cold or hot cereal…
The simplest, healthiest and quickest option is to throw some freeze dried fruit into organic, low sugar O’s or flakes. But there is no reason not to add them to any cereal, or to get fancy by adding them to some homemade granola.
Throw in trail mix…
Freeze dried has replaced dried fruit in my homemade trail mix. Our latest favorite combo: walnuts, freeze dried banana slices and chocolate chips. My monkey… I mean, ChowBaby… can’t get enough.
Mix into pancakes or waffles (or baked goods)?
I haven’t done this yet, but am thinking about tossing some freeze dried blueberries and strawberries in my next batch of muffins or pancakes. Have you done this? How’d it come out?
Other ideas? PLEASE SHARE!!
If you can’t find freeze dried fruit (and veggies, too, by the way) in your local supermarket or natural foods store, order some online. Sensible Foods is available online and claims to have a freeze drying process that maintains the food’s cell structure and nutritional value. Just note that not all of their products are organic. You can find other brands by searching for “freeze dried fruit” on google or Amazon grocery.