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What are freeze-dried fruits and how to use them

Freeze dried fruit is a shelf stable fruit that has nearly all of the moisture removed while retaining flavor and nutrients. It has a dry, crunchy texture and a rich, concentrated berry flavor. Freeze drying of fruit keeps the berries or fruit pieces exactly as they are, minus the liquids. According to the FDA, freeze drying is a process in which water is extracted from a product after it has been frozen and placed in a vacuum. This method allows ice to go directly from solid to vapor without passing through a liquid phase. The fruit keeps the crunchy shell of the fresh version thanks to this treatment. Unopened freeze-dried fruit can last 25 to 30 years (according to some manufacturers) if stored properly. Meanwhile, it retains most of its sugars, so the fruit tastes the same as it did before freezing. Freeze dried fruit can be used in the same way as sun dried and dehydrated fruit. For example, it can be used in baked goods, chocolate bars, and track mixes.

Freeze-dried fruit

Freeze drying of fruit is a method of keeping food fresh so that it can be shelf stable and last longer without the use of preservatives. To preserve the nutritional composition of the fruit, it is freeze-dried. Freeze-dried fruit can be eaten as a healthy snack, used to sweeten recipes, and baked in the oven. Commercial fruit freeze drying involves placing the berries or fruit pieces in a vacuum chamber at a sub-zero temperature. The solid water molecules in the fruit dissipate and form a gas, leaving the food. The fruit and berries remain intact during this procedure, as does much of the nutrition found in fresh fruit. To maintain freshness, freeze-dried fruit should be stored in airtight and moisture-proof packaging after processing.

With the right equipment, it is possible to freeze fruit at home, however, a freeze dryer and accessories could cost thousands of dollars. Fruit that has been frozen uncovered in your home freezer will dry out to some degree, but that’s not the same as freeze drying. Strawberries, peaches, bananas, pineapples, grapes, blackberries, raspberries, apples, blues and dragon fruit are all good selections of freeze drying products.

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Freeze-dried fruit vs dehydrated fruit

Freeze drying and fruit dehydration are also strategies for storing nutritious products for later use. By removing moisture from fruits such as bananas, most berries, apples, dragon fruits, apricots, and pineapples, the food becomes more stable and resistant to mold or rot, both of which plague fresh fruits as they age. Although both dehydration and freeze-drying are excellent methods for fruit preservation, the processes and final products differ. Sub-zero temperatures are used in freeze drying to remove all moisture. This process preserves the shape of the fruit and, according to some, the flavor. Freeze-dried foods can survive for decades while retaining the fruit’s vibrant essence.

Dehydrated fruit has substantial density and distinct chew, but freeze dried fruit is airy, light, and crunchy. Since dehydrated fruit retains about a third of its water content, it is crunchy. Because dehydrated fruits retain some moisture, they often require preservatives to keep the fruit stable, and even with additives, this form of dried fruit doesn’t last as long as freeze-dried fruit. Dehydrated fruit is sweeter due to the moisture level, however, freeze dried fruit is less saccharin and can better show the natural flavor of the fruit.

Uses of freeze-dried fruit

The easiest way to consume freeze dried fruit is to eat it on its own or as part of a snack mix or trail mix. You can also sprinkle freeze-dried fruit on cereal, yogurt, or ice cream. Because it is so light and compact, it is also an excellent choice for hiking, camping and touring. Thanks to its concentrated flavor, freeze dried fruit is a great way to add significant fruit flavor (and often color) to a recipe without adding additional liquids. Because it is so crunchy, it can also be used as a garnish, whole, chopped or powdered, to enhance the texture and aesthetics of a dish. Many uses require freeze-dried fruit to be ground into a fine powder in a blender or food processor. (Before emptying the package contents into the blender, remove the desiccant sachet from the package.) For a coarser crumble, break it up with your hands or mash it with a skillet or rolling pin.