That is a wonderful question since many of us don't include dried fruits in our everyday eating routine. We should find ways to incorporate them into our meals since they are powerhouses of nutrition.
Dried fruits—apples, apricots, dates, figs, peaches, prunes, cherries, cranberries and raisins—provide a wealth of nutritional benefits. They are packed with nutrients including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber and antioxidants.
Drying fruits is a way to preserve in season fruits by evaporating a majority of the water content. It allows us to use fruits throughout the year when they aren't growing. Because the sugar content is now concentrated they can be more caloric than their fresh counterpart ounce for ounce, so pay attention to the serving sizes if you are watching your weight. Read the label if you are buying them dried for those without additional sugar added. You can avoid additional ingredients when you dry your own fresh fruits either using a dehydrator or your oven.
Tips for Adding Dried Fruits into Your Meals:
Dried fruits are available all year long and can be added to just about anything you cook.
- Add raisins, craisins, or apricots to your salads.
- Make a trail mix using your choice of dried fruits with cereal and nuts to have a healthy snack on hand for the whole familly.
- Use dried fruits in muffins, quick breads and cookies to punch up the nutrition.
- Eat them from the package for a quick sweet treat.
- Use in casseroles or vegetable side dishes.
- Add figs or raisins to stuffing.
- Use in protein portion of the meal, for example dried apricots in the sauce for pork roast or chops, chopped into chutney for a fish dish or chopped figs in a meatloaf to add some sweetness.
Get creative and reap the benefits.
What foods or recipes do you add dried fruits to?