Fruit is often considered a healthy dessert. It contains natural sugars as well as vitamins and nutrients that make it nutritious. However, certain types of fruits are only available during certain seasons. Thankfully, freeze-drying is one way to ensure they’re available throughout the year. But is freeze-dried fruit healthy?
In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about freeze-dried fruits, from their nutritional profile to how they compare to fresh fruits and more.
What is Freeze-Dried Fruit?
Freeze-dried fruit is any fruit that has gone through freeze-drying, a process that involves freezing, sublimation, and adsorption. Essentially, food items like fruit are frozen individually after which solid ice evaporates to remove moisture content. The secondary drying phase, called adsorption, further removes the rest of the moisture in the fruit, preserving it effectively.
Many fruits are good candidates for freeze-drying, including:
- Berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries)
Note that whole fruits can be freeze-dried as long as they’re small, such as blueberries. Larger whole fruits like mangoes need to sliced before freeze drying.
Is Freeze-Dried Fruit Healthy?
Because fruits undergo a freezing process, it’s normal to ask, “Is freeze-dried fruit healthy?” The short answer is yes. Freeze-dried fruits are chockfull of nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin K potassium, and magnesium, among others.
Freeze-Dried Fruit Nutrition
While fresh fruit is still the most ideal option, freeze-dried fruits are the next best thing. In fact, research shows that more antioxidants and nutrients may be preserved during the process [*].
This is because fruits are harvested while in season and immediately freeze-dried to lock in all the nutrients while they are in the best condition. The same nutrient preservation applies to other foods that can be freeze-dried, such as meats and vegetables.
Here are some freeze-dried fruit nutrition facts versus their fresh counterparts:
- Freeze-dried strawberries (34 grams): 120 calories and 15 grams of sugar
- Fresh strawberries (34 grams): 11 calories and 1.7 grams of sugar
- Freeze-dried bananas (40 grams): 150 calories and 30 grams of glucose
- Fresh bananas (40 grams): 36 calories and 5 grams of sugar
- Freeze-dried raspberries (34 grams): 130 calories and 13 grams of sugar
- Fresh raspberries (34 grams): 18 calories and 1.5 grams of sugar
- Freeze-dried peaches (34 grams): 130 calories and 24 grams of sugar
- Fresh peaches (34 grams): 14 calories and 3 grams of sugar
- Freeze-dried pineapples (100 grams): 70 calories and 14 grams of sugar
- Fresh pineapples (100 grams): 50 calories and 10 grams of sugar
Although it may seem like the freeze-dried options are less healthy because of their higher calorie and sugar content, this information shows us how well freeze-drying can preserve foods to be more nutrient-dense, which can be more advantageous.
The Benefits of Freeze-Dried Fruits
Freeze-dried fruits have many benefits. Here are the ones you can enjoy the most:
Longer shelf life
Freeze-dried ingredients can be stored for years. This means that you can store freeze-dried fruits in your pantry or freezer while saving space. Aside from that, you will not have to worry about fruit going bad. Freeze-dried fruits are always readily available when you’re looking for something nutritious and delicious.
The convenience of freeze-dried fruit is that it lasts for a very long time and is lightweight and portable. Most freeze-dried fruits are ready to eat and enjoyed as a snack, regardless of the time and place.
Packing fruits for a trip can be cumbersome. They don’t typically keep well on long drives, and they often take up plenty of space in your backpack or cooler. Freeze-dried fruits are a much easier alternative that takes up less space and is delicious and fun to enjoy. They’re also versatile. You can eat them out of the bag, sprinkle them over a smoothie or oatmeal, or even create smoothies on the go.
There’s a common misconception that freeze-dried fruits lack flavor because of the freezing process. Contrary to popular belief, they are jam-packed with flavor and can be enjoyed in very much the same way as fresh fruit — just minus the juiciness.
As mentioned earlier, the nutritional value of freeze-dried fruit does not diminish over time, unlike fresh fruit that continues ripening. Fruits are frozen at the peak of ripeness, which ensures that vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are trapped inside. Plenty of the nutritional content remains inside the fruit after it has been freeze-dried.
Below are frequently asked questions on the nutritional benefits of freeze-dried fruit:
Is freeze-dried fruit better than dried?
Freeze-dried fruits are better than dried fruits in that they are much closer to fresh fruits in terms of nutrients, shape, and flavor. Freeze-dried fruits also take less time to rehydrate.
Are freeze-dried fruits good for weight loss?
When eaten in moderation, freeze-dried fruits are an excellent snack that can aid weight loss. There are some freeze-dried fruits that contain just about 80 calories in a 20-gram serving, such as strawberries [*]. If you have a sweet tooth, then freeze-dried fruits can be low-calorie options.
Is freeze-dried fruit high in sugar?
Yes, the process of freeze drying tends to increase the fruit’s sugar content since the removal of moisture concentrates the sugar in fruit. Additionally, freeze-dried options are easier to consume in larger quantities, so it’s possible to overeat them. Be mindful of your portions when you snack on freeze-dried fruit.
Can you eat too much freeze-dried fruit?
As with anything, moderation is key. It is possible to eat too much freeze-dried fruit, so practice controlling your intake.
Are freeze-dried fruits healthy? They certainly are, given that they retain nutrition. Eating them in moderation and in combination with a well-rounded diet makes it a healthy option.
They’re convenient and taste great! Anyone who loves fruit won’t have to worry about over-softening and spoilage.
If your business is looking to freeze-dry fruit and other foods, you’ll need the right professionals. Feel free to reach out to us at Empire Freezing & Drying by calling 973-649-9800 or emailing email@example.com for your needs!