What do we know about dried fruits? Not that much actually. We know that a dried fruit is a fruit from which the majority of the water has been removed either through natural drying under the sun or due to special means usage (dehydrators).
Did you know that it has started back in the 4th millennium BC? Dried fruits were highly appreciated as for the lack of preservatives it was difficult to store food for a long time. The tradition continues today. Being a natural snack with high nutritive value and prolonged shelf life dried fruit is gaining more and more popularity.
The most consumed as for today are dried apricots, figs, raisins, prunes, and apples. Some fruits that are covered with the sugar syrup before they are dried: cherries, cranberries, mango, strawberries, and blueberries. These fruits take much less space than the fresh ones. You will have a healthy and delicious snack always at hand. But if you’re buying the ready-made ones remember to put them into the warm water for 5-10 minutes and wash thoroughly.
A Source of Vitamins And Minerals
No matter which dried fruits you will choose, they are all very useful as they have a significant portion of vitamins, acids, minerals, and other nutrients, indispensable in your everyday diet. The complex of nutrients differs from one fruit to another but what is in common is the high concentration of glucose, fructose, minerals, organic acids, pectin, vitamins A, B, and P. As to the vitamin C, the most of it is destroyed during the drying process. You will greatly benefit from the minerals in the dried fruits: calcium, potassium, magnesium, iodine, phosphorus, iron, sodium.
Dried apricots have the highest content of vitamin A and potassium. They are also rich in iron, magnesium, calcium, and niacin. Dried cranberries have a lot of calcium and magnesium as well as considerable amounts of phosphorus, pantothenic acid, vitamin E, B6. Dried figs have an extremely huge portion of potassium and iron, like no other fruits. You can also be a source of organic acids, vitamins B, A, C, and many minerals. If you prefer dried cherries your diet will be enriched by vitamin A, pectin, calcium, and iron. Would rather go for dried mango? It will boost your energy with vitamins B, E, D; calcium, iron and phosphorus. As you see, all of them are rich in nutrients which will not only still your hunger but also improve your health.
Health Benefits of Dried Fruit
To get the most benefits for your health out of dried fruit you should combine them, as each dried fruit has a special content of nutrients. It’s not hard to do as they all combine well with each other. To feel the positive effect from the consumption you should have around 200-300 g of dried fruit every day. And it’s better if you don’t eat all this amount at one time but divide it into 2-3 servings per day. These delicacies will boost your energy in the morning, still your hunger during the day and will prevent you from eating too much in the evening. Let’s have a closer look at some of them to see clearly what benefits you’ll get for your body:
It’s a medicine for the heart and vessels. This fruit is irreplaceable in the treatment of hypertension and anemia. By regulating water and salt balance in the body dried apricots lower the blood pressure, stabilize the operation of the cardiovascular system, and reduce swelling. It is useful for people who have thyroid disorders or diabetes. Due to the high content of iron apricots improve blood formation. They are also good for the eyesight.
Help to prevent the inflammation of the urinary system. Consumption of dried cranberries will lower the level of bad cholesterol and helps to prevent atherosclerosis. As there is a considerable amount of proanthocyanidins in these fruits they are good at fighting cancer cells. They are also great for the health of the oral cavity and the immune system.
They are good for diseases of the cardiovascular system, especially for arrhythmia, bronchial asthma. Dried figs are a light diuretic, have anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic, and a mild laxative effect. It also can kill intestinal parasites. Figs have been long known for the ability to counteract the neoplasm. They are also good at the treatment of a cold with a dry cough.
Dried cherries have been known to improve concentration. They help to make blood vessels stronger and reduce the formation of blood clots, which is one of the reasons that heart attacks and strokes take place. Dried cherries are very effective in arthritis pain relief. Consumption of these fruit improves digestion and treat some stomach and nervous system diseases. A handful of dried cherries every day will make your health strong.
These kinds of fruits are good for strengthening the heart muscle, improve digestive system functioning, treatment of hypertension, atherosclerosis, and anemia. It is good in fighting stress, lessen the tension, make you sleep better and even improve your eyesight. Dried mango is well-known for slowing down aging. If you eat it regularly it will normalize the metabolism.
Dehydrating bananas is a great healthy snack that is a great replacement for those junk food choices. They can be crunchy almost like a chip or chewier with a sweet and more concentrated banana taste. Banana chips are 4% water, 58% carbohydrates, 34% fat (29% saturated fat and 2% monounsaturated fat), 2% protein and 8% fiber.
How to Make Dried Fruit
You can buy dried fruits in many stores these days but it’s much better when they homemade. Then you won’t have to overpay for them, get lots of added sugar and sulfur and will have 100% natural product you will be able to use as a snack or as an additional ingredient for your salads, meat dishes, bakery, etc.
You can dry fruits naturally (under the sun), in the oven or using a dehydrator. If you decide to do it in the oven the temperature has to be low (approximately 140 degrees) and the oven door has to be open as air circulation plays an important role in the drying process. Thus, it will take you quite some time and you will have a big waste of energy.
Drying fruits in the dehydrator is much more convenient and simple. All you have to do is to select fruits you want to dry, wash them, and cut into small, equal pieces. Then, spread the fruit in a single layer on the dehydrator trays and turn it on. That’s it! It will take from 6 to 30 hours to dry fruit. For more in-depth detail of fruit drying guidelines, click here. It depends on the quantity, the size, and the juiciness of the fruit. But when you will taste the final product you will immediately feel the difference between the dehydrated fruits and those dried in the oven.
You can find out more about food dehydrators and their qualities here.
As you see the advantages of dried fruits are numerous. And the ones you make yourself will be even more useful as they will be fresh and natural. I hope you have fun experimenting with dehydration of different fruits and flavors. It will bring more variety to your everyday diet and numerous benefits to your health. Enjoy it!