If you could use another convenient way to add fruits and vegetables to your day, then freeze-dried produce may be a good choice for you. It’s light and airy, convenient, and doesn’t need added preservatives. Remember that when it comes to fruits and veggies, all forms count … and more matters.
The 2 biggest convenience benefits of freeze-dried fruits & veggies …
- Shelf Life. Because freeze-drying removes more than 99% of water, spoilage bacteria don’t have the water they need to survive, which means food takes much longer to spoil. Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables are shelf-stable without needing added preservatives.
- Light-Weight Portability. Most fruits and vegetables are upwards of 80%-90% water, so removing the water makes it significantly lighter and smaller – both are great characteristics for portability.
Nutritional benefits are also pretty decent, though there are caveats. Studies on nutrients in freeze-dried fruits and vegetables show that they retain nearly all the nutrients of fresh, with comparable levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. They do, however, understandably contain less of the water-soluble nutrients that are sensitive to heat and light such as vitamin C.
The flip side is that you’ll want to make sure to hydrate in other ways, and that there’s potential to overdo it on portions, and therefore, calories. The note on calories may be especially true for fruit, so it may be helpful to think of freeze-dried fruit as a healthier sweet treat for your family. Below are some family-friendly ideas for enjoying freeze-dried fruits and veggies.
Family-Friendly Snacks & Meal Ideas
- Space-Age Trail Mix. Freeze-dried apples and strawberries, almonds, and mini dark chocolate chips (go heavier on the fruit and nuts, and lighter on the dark chocolate to keep saturated fat low).
- Veggie Finger Foods Grab Bag. Let your kids choose what goes into their snack bag from a variety of freeze-dried vegetables. Some ideas are carrots, peas, tomatoes, and corn. They’ll appreciate being involved, and may have so much fun eating them in freeze-dried form that the kids will love eating their veggies.
- Empty Fridge Omelet. Running low on fresh produce shouldn’t stop you from including fruits and vegetables in every meal. Keep your pantry stocked with freeze-dried veggies, then let the kids choose a variety of them as omelet mix-ins (e.g. sweet corn, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes). Let the kids touch, smell, and taste the freeze-dried ingredients before they go into the omelet and then ask them what they notice is different in the cooked omelet.
- Baker’s Friend. Add freeze-dried fruits and vegetables to sweet or savory muffins to increase nutrients, flavors, and textures.
The Bottom Line
Consider freeze-dried fruits and vegetables as one of many ways to increase your fruit and vegetable intake because more matters! Just remember that a good rule of thumb is to seek variety in life – try different forms of a range of fruits and veggies to see what works best for your lifestyle. Fresh, frozen, dried, canned, 100% juice, and now … freeze-dried, too!