You might toss a package of freeze dried fruit into your grocery cart for its on-the-go snacking convenience or its second-to-none shelf life of months or years. What you might not realize as you reach for those freeze dried apples or berries: you’re also making a great choice for your health!
Though some people have concerns that the freeze drying process “throws the baby out with the bathwater,” so to speak, by removing important nutrients along with water, that’s fortunately not the case. Freeze dried fruit is extremely nutritious. In fact, this means of preservation allows fruit to retain nearly all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from its original form.
Here’s a look at the many healthy aspects of freeze dried fruits.
Is Eating Freeze Dried Fruit Healthy?
We’ll be honest: for maximum benefits from fruit, fresh is best. The water in fresh fruit hydrates your cells and helps you reach your daily fluid target. But for reaping the health perks of fruit in a more durable package, freeze dried is a clear runner-up.
When fruits are freeze dried, they’re first frozen at super-low temperature. Then pressure and heat are applied, slowly removing nearly all their moisture.
Though this process extracts fruits’ water content, it leaves their nutrients almost entirely intact. In fact, research into freeze dried food shows that any nutrient losses are minimal, and that freeze dried fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and antioxidants.
So eat up!
Whichever freeze dried food you choose will offer a near equivalent nutrition profile to what it possessed when fresh. (And if you’d really like to enjoy the hydrating benefits of fresh fruit, you can always rehydrate freeze dried fruits by placing them in a bowl of water and letting them soak.)
Benefits of Freeze Dried Fruit
Lightweight & Convenient
Freeze dried fruit allows you to take its plentiful nutrition with you just about anywhere you go. Because it’s typically packaged in slim, easy-to-tote bags, it can fit in a purse, gym bag, briefcase, or even your pocket!
Plus, since freeze dried fruit is usually separated into individual pieces before processing, you won’t have to deal with the mess of banana peels, orange rinds, and apple cores (not to mention fruit juice that can drip or stain).
Extended Shelf Life
Many people also pick freeze dried fruit for its incredible shelf life. Whereas fresh produce may spoil within just days, freeze drying can keep it edible for as long as 30 years, unopened.
Even if you don’t need multiple decades of durability from your fruit, you’ll get up to 12 months of freshness from freeze dried fruit once opened.
Another lesser-known benefit of freeze dried fruit? The produce that undergoes this process is often harvested at the peak of freshness, when nutrient levels and flavor compounds are highest—so you may find the strawberry you shake from a package has far sweeter flavor than a fresh one you grab out of season.
Meanwhile, with their water content removed, fruits naturally shrink in weight. This means that, ounce for ounce, they actually contain more nutrients than fresh.
Is Freeze Dried Fruit High in Sugar?
Freeze dried fruit often gets lumped together with dried fruit (after all, they’re usually sold side-by-side on store shelves). So you may associate this snack with the extra sweetener that’s sometimes added to dried fruit to increase its palatability.
But this is where freeze dried fruit shines. No sugar is needed to boost its sweet flavor, since the freeze drying process doesn’t take away any of its naturally occurring glucose, fructose, or sucrose.
For most people, any fruit makes a healthy snack. However, if you’ve been advised by your doctor to limit fruit due to blood sugar or other health concerns, you may need to limit your consumption of freeze dried fruit, just like you would fresh.
Is Freeze Dried Fruit Better Than Dried?
We may be a little biased, but there’s no denying that freeze dried fruit offers some major advantages over dried fruit. The dehydrating process used for merely drying fruit leaves it with significantly more water than freeze drying—which means it’s more likely to spoil.
Because dried fruit is prone to spoilage, manufacturers often treat it with preservatives (some of which may not be especially health-promoting). Freeze dried fruit, on the other hand, has had nearly all its moisture removed, eliminating the need for added preservatives.
You might also simply prefer the taste and texture of freeze dried fruit over dried. While the dried variety has a tendency to feel leathery, freeze dried fruit comes with an airy, crunchy feel that’s perfect for popping onto salads, adding surprising sweetness to popcorn or trail mix, or using as a cereal topping.
Is Freeze Dried Fruit Good for Weight Loss?
In general, fruit and weight loss go hand in hand. Contrary to the myth that the sugar and carbohydrates in fruit will make you put on pounds, research into the effects of fruit on obesity shows that eating most types of fruit combats obesity. Freeze dried fruit can certainly be part of your delicious daily target.
That said, water is part of the satiation factor of fresh fruit, which plays a role in its weight-reducing effects. (As in, the fuller you feel, the less likely you are to overeat.) So the fact that freeze dried fruit has had nearly all its water removed could be a recipe for accidental over-consumption.
As you sprinkle freeze dried bananas or berries in your morning yogurt or afternoon trail mix, keep in mind that, because they’re a smaller, lower-hydration version of fruit, their serving sizes are smaller, too.
The Bottom Line
We’d all do well to ramp up the fruit in our diets. (Just one in 10 adults gets the recommended 1 ½ to 2 cups per day!) The fiber, vitamins, and minerals this food group provides are essential for good health.
If you’re looking for an easy, tasty way to increase your intake—and enjoy your meals and snacks while you’re at it—consider freeze dried fruit. With its impressive nutrition and total convenience, it might be the secret weapon to boosting your health.