Wondering if dried fruit is better for you than regular produce? In some ways it can be, but fresh fruit is superior overall — except when it comes to questions of convenience and accessibility, portability and storage. Here are some of the differences, and what type of fruit is best to try.
Fresh fruit is arguably the most delicious food that comes straight from nature’s bounty, and it needs no preparation or cooking to be enjoyed. The benefits of fresh fruit are wonderful — fruit is packed full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and energy (typically in the form of fructose, or fruit sugar).
Oddly, though, dried blueberries have more antioxidants than their fresh counterparts.
Drying and freeze drying are two of the ways to preserve fresh, ripe fruit for eating long after the harvest is over. These processes prevent spoilage and make fruits available all year, even those whose season is quite short.
Conventional fruit drying processes almost always include additives, especially sulphur dioxide, to preserve the color and freshness of the fruit. However, the dried fruit is still a far better alternative than most snack options, such as sugary candy bars and trans-fat-laden potato chips.
Freeze dried fruit does not usually contain additives, as the freeze drying process actually preserves the fruit better than conventional drying does.
Because fresh produce can be difficult to store effectively, and is not as practical to carry on hiking expeditions, camping trips and outdoor excursions, the freeze dried stuff is a wonderful way to get the benefits of fruit without the fuss and muss of heavy fresh fruit.
Freeze dried fruits and regularly-dried fruit contain sugars in a more concentrated form than you find with fresh produce, since the water has been mostly or entirely removed from the strawberries, peaches, apples, grapes, plums, or whatever fruit is in question. Thus it is important to remember that about 1/4 or 1/2 a cup of dried fruit equals a cup or so of fresh fruit as far as calories are concerned.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are better than dried items because they contain live enzymes and no additives and most of their vitamins and minerals are available in higher percentages. They also have lots of water, which fills you up more quickly and thus helps you to not consume too many calories while enjoying your fruit.
However, keeping a stash of freeze dried fruit is a good idea to ensure you can always have your daily recommended fruit servings, even when fresh produce is not available to you.