Dried or freeze-dried fruits are often found in products such as porridge, muesli and mixes for sweet bowls. But what does that actually mean? What is the difference between dried and freeze-dried? We will look at all this and the health aspects in this article.
What are freeze-dried fruits?
Fresh, untreated fruits are rarely used in breakfast products. These would spoil quickly and make the product inedible. Therefore, many food manufacturers resort to preservation methods. These are intended to make the fruits contained longer edible and durable.
One popular method is drying. In this process, the selected types of fruit are first pitted and then dried in an oven or special dehydrators under low heat. Grapes are turned into sultanas, plums into prunes. However, there is a difference of opinion when it comes to dried fruits – some love them, others can’t do anything with them.
Fortunately, there is another process in which the fruits retain their original taste and structure as far as possible. We are talking about freeze-drying. Let’s take a look at what this preservation process involves and how exactly it works.
How is freeze-dried fruit produced?
The production of freeze-dried fruits is quite complicated and elaborate in detail – but we will go through it in the simplified version so that it is easy to understand.
Freeze-drying fruit is a gentle preservation process. This means that both the original structure and the nutrients are retained and the fruit is still preserved. 1.
1. At the beginning, the ripe fruits are harvested. The fresh fruit is now still in its normal state and contains plenty of water. Strawberries, for example, have a pure water content of around 90%. Now it is important to freeze the fresh fruit as quickly as possible to preserve the valuable nutrients.
2.In the next step, the harvested fruit is placed in a special container. This is now closed and a vacuum is created inside. This happens because air is extracted from the closed container and thus a negative pressure is created – a so-called vacuum.
3.Step by step, water escapes from the fruit due to the resulting pressure. This process is called sublimation in technical jargon.
Sublimation: Sublimation describes the process by which something changes from a solid to a gaseous state – in this case water. In short, the water contained in the fruit first becomes frozen and thus solid. Then, due to the pressure conditions, it gradually becomes water vapour – and thus gaseous.
The end products of the production
What remains after freeze-drying are small versions of the original fruits. Due to the removal of water, the fruits retain their basic structure and appearance, but in a reduced form.
What remains, however, are the nutrients. So don’t be fooled if a package contains “only” three to six grams of freeze-dried strawberries. This amount corresponds to the nutritional value of about 30 to 60 grams of fresh strawberries. The difference is mainly due to the loss of water, while the nutrients and aromas remain in the fruit.
Freeze-dried fruits are so healthy
The great advantage of freeze-drying, apart from preservation, however, is not necessarily that the structure is preserved. While this may be important for freeze-dried flowers, it is secondary for food processing. Often, the freeze-dried fruit is ground into powder so that it can be better integrated into the product.
The actual advantage of the preservation process lies (literally) somewhat below the surface. For example, the aromatic substances that are so important for the taste remain contained. Due to the removal of water, the taste of the fruit is even concentrated – the taste is thus even more fruity and intense.
In addition, the colour also remains consistent. This gives the breakfast product a fruity appearance. In addition, important secondary plant compounds and othermicronutrients are retained. Freeze-dried fruits are thus true vitaminand mineral bombs and have a positive effect on health.
Vitamin C and selenium, for example, ensure a well-functioning immune system, the vitamins of the B-complex (including B1, B6, B12) support the energy metabolism and reduce fatigue. Vitamin E and copper protect against oxidative stress. Iron, zinc and iodine promote concentration. Thus, micronutrients are extremely important in a healthy diet.
How to recognise products with freeze-dried fruits?
The bottom line is that freeze-dried fruits are very healthy. But how can you tell where they are and in what quantities?
If it’s not immediately obvious from the pack, a look at the ingredients list often helps. Let’s take the Verival Strawberry-Raspberry Porrdige Smoothie Bowl as an illustrative example.
If you look at the ingredients list, you can find the word “strawberry powder” in third place. In this case, the strawberry powder is nothing more than freeze-dried strawberries that have then been ground.
The proportion of strawberries in the bowl is 6% – this can also be found in the list of ingredients. This means that there are 6 grams of freeze-dried strawberries in 100 grams of bowl.
This may not sound like much at first – but the impression is deceptive. In fact, the nutritional content of six grams of freeze-dried strawberries is equivalent to 60 grams of fresh strawberries. As a reminder, freeze-drying removes water. This reduces the total weight, but the nutrients remain.
So six grams of freeze-dried strawberries actually gives the body the same amount of micronutrients as 60 grams offresh strawberries.
Breakfast with freeze-dried fruit
In our Verival breakfast products, we mainly use freeze-dried fruit. This makes the Strawberry-Raspberry Porrdige Smoothie Bowl the rule rather than the exception. The reasons for this are many; at the same time, they are also a brief summary of what we have discussed.
For one, freeze-dried ones are considered healthy. They contain plenty of healthy micronutrients in concentrated form, making them a perfect companion for a healthy breakfast.
In addition, as we all know, it is not only with the mouth but also with the eyes. The fact that freeze-drying preserves or even intensifies both the taste and the colour is another advantage of the gentle preservation process.
All in all, freeze-dried fruits are an excellent way to enhance the taste and health of breakfast products such as porridges, mueslis and crunchies. Not only do the taste buds enjoy it, but also the immune system!
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