Jan 26, 2010 at 9:58 pm #1254552
I'm addicted to dehydrated fruit, especially tropicals like mangoes.. I'm a freaking mango fiend.
Anybody have a good source for dehydrated fruit? Obviously the tropicals aren't worth drying yourself, although I do fruit that grows here seasonally..
I buy all the dried organic mangoes I can when earthfare runs them on sale, but they're still like $11/lb..Jan 27, 2010 at 5:00 am #1566703
Andrew WilsonBPL Member
@andrewwLocale: Upper Midwest
I'm afraid I can't answer your question precisely, but I can help you cull possible candidates. I've mostly dried my own for the following reasons.
First, it's most often sulfated—same thing done to white wine, but much stronger tasting. It's a very longstanding and effective preservative, but it's also got a strong taste. In fruit it mostly prevents browning. Any dried fruit that's not quite brown has probably been sulfated. ("white" grapes (sultanas) are always sulfated, or else they don't come out looking that "white".)
The second problem is moisture. Most commercial dried fruit is also not very dry. This is is not too much a problem unless you want to cut your food weight. Moist fruit is actually chewable; really dry stuff requires some time and saliva to really be properly chewed (if you're interested in chewing that much).
The third problem, and it's not really a problem unless you're a health food nut, is that it has often been soaked in sugar syrup. This, too, is a preservative (think jelly). It also helps increase caloric content.
I'm sure other readers can guide you to better commercial options. Quite dry, non-sulfated dried fruit is going to be expensive. $11/lb for dried mangoes isn't exorbitant; consider how much you pay for a pound of the fresh stuff, double it for seed/skin/, then triple that price by taking out 75% moisture, and you're going to be around $11, even without the labor added. Considering as well that an apple is about 80% water; if you remove that then the price/lb will quintuple, or more likely sextuple if you include core/skin waste. Your $1.50 apple is now $9/lb. Of course this is slightly misleading as the shipping costs are of course much lower. But you get the point.Jan 27, 2010 at 5:09 am #1566705
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
The best source is your own kitchen. Not only is the fruit free of sulfates and such but you can also buy organics so that you aren't exposed to pesticides which can often penetrate through the skin of non-organic fruits. It's also more cost effective, especially if you buy fruit in season. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes to cut and prep the fruit and then all you do is plug in your dehydrator. The other benefit is that you can buy local and reduce your carbon footprint. Yes, I hugged my tree this morning… lol.Jan 27, 2010 at 6:55 am #1566725
Gary DunckelBPL Member
Laurie is right, of course. But there is also a good source for freeze dried mango, papaya, kiwi, etc.–Harmony House Foods. They FD nearly all the fruits and berries, and their price isn't all that bad. Check out their web site.Jan 27, 2010 at 6:59 am #1566728
Personally on some fruits I rather prefer freeze dried over dried. Harmony's are excellent.
But! If you have a Trader Joe's nearby, head over! Their dried and freeze dried fruit is excellent. They carry many hard to find types (such as wild Huckleberries and non-crystallized ginger).
I have also found great luck at Costco for high quality and affordable dried fruits.
Most stores use dried fruit as a premium product…hence why you pay so much!Jan 27, 2010 at 8:08 am #1566742
Yeah, I'm definitely in the health food nut camp. I hate sugared dried fruit.. The mangoes I buy at earthfare are organic, and free of any additives..
They also aren't completely dry dry, but I like them this way.. A pound of these really is a big bag though, so I guess the price is real fair.
Thanks guys, I'll keep doing the local berries and such, and try to buy like 40lbs of tropicals when I travel.Jan 27, 2010 at 8:10 am #1566743
The soft mangoes are way worth the money over home dried ones – if you like easy chewing :-D
They are so tasty I agree!Jan 27, 2010 at 12:38 pm #1566848
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I agree, Trader Joe's grocery store has to be my first source for any dried fruit. However, there are only so many fruit types that they stock. As a result, I dehydrate my own fresh fruit such as plums and purchased fresh fruit such as pears.
One local store sells bartlett pears in a #10 can, which is 5/6 of a gallon. Drain it and slice thinly (0.2") onto the layers of an electric food dehydrator. I have a solar electricity source, so it costs me zero to run the thing. After drying, the whole can has become a 15-ounce bowlful and goes into a ziploc bag.
–B.G.–Jan 27, 2010 at 1:09 pm #1566870
Mary DBPL Member
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
You are pretty much stuck with organic dehydrated fruit if you want to avoid the sulfur dioxide (which, IMHO, makes the fruit taste horrible).
For those living in the Pacific Northwest, the bulk bins in the Fred Meyer stores' organic section are, IMHO, the best source. My favorite is the dried Turkish apricots–yummy! They are also cheaper (and, IMHO, taste better) than Trader Joe's (probably because they're sold in bulk, not packaged). However, for trips longer than a night or two, I put them into my dehydrator for about 4 hours to remove more of the moisture. I've seen the identical organic Turkish dried apricots at other stores that carry organic food, such as Whole Foods and the local New Seasons chain, but costing at least $1 per pound more. Unfortunately, though, Fred Meyer's source sugars the mangoes!
For long trips of a week or more, I use freeze-dried fruit which is a lot lighter. Most of it is very tasty, especially the berries which I add to my breakfast cereal. Of course, it's far more expensive!
If you are dehydrating your own fruit and don't want to use sulfur dioxide yet can't stand the sight of brown fruit, you can try dipping the fruit in lemon juice just before putting it into the dehydrator. Of course the fruit will then taste like lemon, but that's a lot better than sulfur dioxide! It won't come out with the original color like the SO2-treated fruit, but it will be a lot less brown than untreated fruit. I personally prefer the untreated, though.Jan 27, 2010 at 1:26 pm #1566882
@cal-ee-for-niaLocale: Central Valley, Lodi-Stockton, CA
Our local Safeway carries a variety of dried fruits, in bulk bins, and, in packages.
They sometimes allow a "mix-an-match" per pound option.Jan 27, 2010 at 2:38 pm #1566918
Living in GA at the moment, so no Safeway, Trader Joes, or anything else..
We've got an earthfare luckily, and a fresh market (which sucks), but regularly make trips to other areas with better selection, so it's not terrible.
I don't like the sulfur dioxide either, I'm in it for the taste, not the appearance.
Anybody do their own freeze drying? (dry ice, not freezer burn) I want to try a bunch of black berries(can pick buckets wild here) and strawberries..Jan 27, 2010 at 3:34 pm #1566951
You might consider mail order via online for some things. For example you can get organic freeze dried items from Just Tomatoes….it can be worth it.Jan 28, 2010 at 9:35 am #1567205
The 5lb price is really good, they also have great prices on the berries they carry..
I haven't ordered from these guys yet, but I'm pretty sure their supplier is the same as earthfare's for this particular stuff.Jan 28, 2010 at 9:49 am #1567210
Most likely – there isn't too many big distributors of organics out there :-)
And remember….you can always take those big bags and seal them into smaller bags if you have or can borrow a Food Vac!Jan 28, 2010 at 6:19 pm #1567421
Wha? Food saver? 5lbs of mangoes will last me like, 2 days. You underestimate my addiction.
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