Is Dried Fruit Healthy? Get the Facts about Dried Fruit Snacks
With many dried fruit snacks on the market it’s important to understand that all dried fruits are NOT the same. There are a few methods of drying fruit, and the health benefits of the final product will vary depending on how the fruit is transformed and if any other ingredients are added. Understanding these methods and reading the ingredients on the package will help you determine if a dried fruit snack is healthy. The question, is dried fruit healthy, also depends on what you’re looking for in a product.
Common Types of Dried Fruit Snacks
Dehydrated Fruit Snacks
The dehydration process uses heat to remove water from the fruit. Dehydrated fruit is very common and characterized by a rubbery texture. Typically, sulfur is added to the fruit to prevent browning which leads to higher amounts of sodium in dehydrated fruits. It is also common to see additional ingredients, such as flavorings or sugar, so be sure to check the labels on dehydrated fruit snacks.
Leather Fruit Snacks
In the making of fruit leather, fruit is cooked and pureed into a paste. Sugars and preservatives are generally added, and the fruit paste is rolled out to dry. The end result seems to resemble more of a candy than a snack.
Freeze-Dried Fruit Snacks
In the freeze-drying process, the fresh fruit is flash-frozen and put into a vacuum chamber. There, the fruit is pressurized and the water content turns from a solid to a gas. Most of the water is removed, and the fruit is transformed into a thin, crispy, chip-like snack. The water is removed in such a manner as to leave the cellular structure intact, retaining the nutrition of the fruit. Click here to see the steps.