Fresh, Frozen or Freeze Dried Fruit: Which One To Choose?

12 Feb.,2022

“Eat more fruit and vegetables” is one of the most common recommendations we hear when we’re encouraged to eat healthily. But when it comes to eating more fruit, we get mixed messages about how healthy fruit really is.

 

“Eat more fruit and vegetables” is one of the most common recommendations we hear when we’re encouraged to eat healthily. But when it comes to eating more fruit, we get mixed messages about how healthy fruit really is.

Some say its sugar content means fruit isn’t as healthy as many experts suggest.

Others suggest fruit is healthy as its sugars are natural and are contained in the fruit’s cells. It’s thought we eat less of sugar contained in fibrous cells as it is more filling; we also absorb it more slowly than “free sugars” found in sugary drinks and processed foods.


Then there’s the range of fruit products you can buy – including traditional dried fruits and the newer freeze-dried products.

So, when it comes to eating healthily, which fruit is best? And how do these fruit products compare?

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Freeze Dried Red Raspberry

What’s in fruit?

The idea that fruit is good for you is largely based on the fact that many fruits have a low energy (calorie) content and are packed with nutrients. Nutrients include vitamins, minerals, fibre and bioactive nutrients (often pigment compounds known as polyphenols and carotenoids).

 

Fruit also contains sugar, and the content can vary considerably. Some are very low in sugar, like cranberries (3.5% sugar) and blackberries (1.5%).

But some tropical fruit contain surprisingly high levels. These include mango (14% sugar) and jackfruit (19%).

The type of sugar in fruit can also vary according to the type of fruit and also how ripe it is. Generally, the most common sugar in fruit is fructose, typically making up 40-55% of the sugar in most fruit. Sucrose (normal table sugar) makes up most of the rest.

While some people say fructose is worse for you than other sugars, there is limited evidence for this.

Freeze Dried Fruits FD Black Currant

Freeze Dried Fruits FD Black Currant

 

How about freeze-drying?

Freeze-drying involves first freezing a fruit and then placing it in a vacuum under very low pressures. Low pressure causes ice crystals to rapidly sublime, turning them straight from solid ice into water vapour. This process removes water much more efficiently than traditional drying.

 

Effectively, the fruit’s water content is reduced but the fruit’s structure is maintained. This makes this method of preserving food particularly suited to soft fruit, like raspberries and strawberries, which are low in sugar.


If you want to get more information about the freeze dried fruits, welcome to contact us today or request a quote.  

 

How does freezing affect fruit?

Freezing tends to involve minimal processing, with only brief heat treatment before freezing to stop enzymes breaking down the fruit that would otherwise lead to spoilage and flavour changes.

Freeze Dried Strawberry

Freeze Dried Strawberry

Freezing generally is a good way to preserve nutrients compared to other methods like canning and refrigeration. This is mainly linked to the relatively short period of heat treatment used to blanch food before freezing compared to longer heat treatments for canning.

Thawing should not lead to significant nutrient loss. However, the effect of ice crystals damaging cells during freezing soft fruit can lead to the fruit turning to a mush and then water soluble vitamins and minerals leaking out.

 

How does drying affect fruit?

Drying (losing water) concentrates the fruit’s sugar dramatically. For example, apricot sugar levels rise from 9.5% when fresh to 54.2% when dried.

 

This is why some have described dried fruits as like sugar bombs. Although the World Health Organisation does not classify dried fruit as something we should limit in the diet.

Dried fruit can also be six times higher in energy than their fresh equivalents, due to a concentration effect through the removal of water. So, if you are trying to watch your weight, it would be sensible to watch your serve sizes of dried fruits.

But it’s not all bad news for dried fruit. Drying increases levels of some vitamins and minerals, again through the effect of concentrating the nutrients when water is lost. This means a 30g serve of dried apricots can contain over 5% the daily recommended intake of iron; you would need to eat 175g of fresh apricots to get the same amount.