Can Freeze-Dried Fruit Compete With Fresh?

If someone held out a freshly-picked fruit in one hand and a freeze-dried fruit in the other, which one would you select?

I think there is a natural tendency for us to choose the freshly-picked fruit. It might look more appetizing, and there’s just something about the word “fresh” that stimulates our taste buds.

But let me counter with two things. One, when it comes to a survival situation, it’s very unlikely someone will hand you a freshly-picked fruit.  Or that you’ll be able to find one waiting for you in a store.

Two, freeze-dried fruit is much tastier than many people think. And its shelf life under proper conditions is light years ahead of fresh fruit.

More nutrient-dense

One registered dietician believes freeze-dried fruit is healthier for people than some fruit that’s called “fresh.”

“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,” RD Lindsey Kane said.

Freeze-dried fruit maintains a vast majority of its nutrients and its natural flavor. It does not need to be injected with additives or extra sugar.

Despite the steps freeze-dried fruit goes through, it is still bursting with great flavor. Those steps include being frozen, then placed in a vacuum under very low pressure. That causes ice crystals to rapidly sublime, turning them from solid ice into water vapor.

Superior shelf life

Of course, the biggest advantage to freeze-dried fruit over its “competitors” is shelf life. Assuming it is kept away from heat, moisture and light, it can last for years.

Because 99 percent of the moisture has been removed from freeze-dried fruit, it travels well. It’s very lightweight, portable and takes up little room.

Versatility is another plus for freeze-dried fruit. It can be eaten plain or added to a variety of dishes in just about every meal or dessert.

If there is any drawback to freeze-dried fruit, it’s that people want to keep eating it. Eating too much freeze-dried fruit could give you more sugar than you need.

Convenient, nutritious and tasty

So, what more can I say about freeze-dried fruit? One, it’s very convenient. Grab it, pop it in your mouth and enjoy. Whether you’re hunkering down at home or bugging out. Or toss it in a smoothie or salad, as is.

Two, it’s very nutritious. A salty or sugary snack won’t do your body much good. But freeze-dried fruit will.

Among the many fruits that can be freeze-dried without losing nutrition or taste are blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

Plus bananas, apples and cherries. As well as pineapples, peaches and pears. These fruits and others will provide you with much-needed calories and natural sugars.

Frozen at the peak of freshness

As I touched on earlier, freeze-dried fruits are picked and flash-frozen at the peak of ripeness. This process seals in vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

The same is not usually true with fresh fruit. It often continues to ripen after being picked, so its nutritional value diminishes over time.     

I can’t say enough about the shelf life of freeze-dried fruit. Some can stay good for up to 25 years. That’s incredible if you think about it.

And, of course, the reason for its longevity is that nearly all the moisture is eliminated prior to storage. Moisture is where bacteria can grow. So, getting rid of the moisture gets rid of the potential for bacteria growth.

Varying levels of sugar

What about sugar? Some folks will tell you that fruit is not as good for you as some claim, due to its sugar content.

That sugar content can vary greatly. Mango, for example, contains 14 percent sugar, while jackfruit contains 19 percent. But cranberries (3.5 percent) and blackberries (1.5 percent) are much lower in sugar.

In most fruit, fructose makes up most of the sugar. Usually between 40 and 55 percent. Sucrose makes up most of the remainder.

You’ll also get plenty of fiber with freeze-dried fruit. Which can help regulate your digestive system and keep cholesterol levels low.

Don’t leave home without it

During a crisis, you don’t want to have to go without fruit for any length of time.

You’ll need the nutrition it provides and the great taste will help you deal with the problems you’ll encounter.

But fresh fruit is not likely to be available in an emergency situation. Make sure you have plenty of freeze-dried fruit stockpiled.

It will carry you through rough times.   

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