Dried fruits or dry fruits are those fruits that were dried to get rid of their natural water inside or contain a considerably low percentage of water in their ingredients, which helps them remain fit for human consumption for a long time. Dried fruits are those fruits that have undergone a process of excretion of liquids in order to preserve them.
Drying is the process of removing most of the water content in fruits naturally by drying them in the sun or through the use of dedicated dryers. It has been known since ancient times as a means of storing food, it is based on the idea of extracting water from food as the most damaging factor in order to preserve it for a long time.
In this process, fruits are not damaged, as they absorb water and liquids from fruits, as when the liquid in the fruits dries up, germs and microbes will also dry up, so they are considered edible. Dried fruits are among the most famous food in this context, dry ingredients help in keeping it valid and preserved from germs for as long as possible.
In buying and consuming dried fruits, it is recommended to take into account the quality of dried fruits, the quantity that is consumed, and exactly those fruits that have gone through a drying process without adding preservatives.
It is also advisable to avoid sweetened fruits, and to consume almond and walnut in their natural form without roasting to preserve fatty acids and vitamin B without adding salt.
In addition, it is advisable to consume dried fruits in moderation, and as varied as possible and stay away from consuming bright-coloured dried fruits as they contain artificial additions.
Fruit Drying Methods
As mentioned above, drying fruits is one of the most important methods used in order to preserve fruits for a long time, and they were dried in the past by sunlight and weather factors, but this method is no longer valid at the present time, rather it has evolved and there are more methods followed in drying at the present time, which are as follows:
Sun drying: Industries that depend on drying fruits on solar energy, and the temperature must exceed 35 degrees Celsius, in addition to a low humidity. The process of washing and cutting the fruits well, then stacked and covered with gauze. Then we put a small fan near the place of drying the fruit in order to ensure that there is air circulation in this place. Maintain the proportion of fruits in it.
Oven drying: You can make drying fruits in a regular oven in a simple way. Fruit slices cut into your favorite shape. It is a good idea to put them in a pan in the oven. Flip the fruits on all sides, every few hours, until they are dried well from all sides, when they are done, they become edible and give a delicious crunch.
Drying by electric dryers: to get dried fruits of the highest quality. The electric dryers are available in many sizes and levels to suit all needs and quantities. If you wish to try this method of drying, you should follow the following:
First, care must be taken to place the electric dryer in a safe room, which must be well ventilated. Some types are multiple and can be reused very frequently. Then put the dried fruit and set the temperature to 60°C. Stir the fruit every once in a while, to dry it completely.
Dried Fruits Benefits
Dried fruits contain many important compounds and nutrients that give the body several health benefits, as all types of dried fruits contain a tolerated percentage of fibers and potassium. Among the benefits of dried fruits of various kinds, we mention the following:
Sugar is traditionally found in dried fruits in the form of glucose and fructose, and dried fruits do not naturally contain added sugars that can cause a host of health problems. It is a rich source of insoluble fiber necessary to stimulate digestive motility, and regulate and speed up the passage of food through the intestines.
Each 100 grams of raisins contains more than 3 grams of fibers, of which the insoluble type makes up 70%, and every 100 grams of prunes contains more than 8 grams of fibers, and insoluble fiber makes up 50% of it. It contains a high concentration of vitamins that have an antioxidant effect compared to fresh fruits, as a result of the drying processes these fruits are exposed to, but the levels of vitamin C decrease when the fruits are dried.
Dried fruits vary in nutritional value according to their type. Here are some of the most famous types among them and their benefits:
Plum: or prunes, obtained by drying peaches, and is a rich source of potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin K, and has laxative properties, as it helps to improve the movement of the digestive system because of it is highly rich in fibers and sorbitol.
Plum is one of the sugar alcohols naturally present in some fruits, so it is considered a natural laxative, and it is also a rich source of antioxidants that may prevent the oxidation of harmful cholesterol particles (LDL), and contribute to the prevention of heart disease and cancer.
Dried plums are known for their laxative properties, due to their richness in fibers and a special type of sugars. Fighting constipation, some researchers even suggest that its benefits in this regard outweigh many other natural constipation recipes. Reducing the chances of developing cancer and heart disease due to its high content of antioxidants. Fighting osteoporosis, because it contains boron. It helps to feel full and does not cause the blood sugar level to rise.
Raisins: contain good amounts of dietary fiber, as eating half a cup of raisins can cover approximately 10 to 24% of the recommended daily intake of fiber useful for digestion, and it also contributes to relieving constipation and increasing the feeling of satiety, and raisins also contain Many nutrients, such as copper and iron, as well as potassium, vitamin C, zinc, and selenium, side by side with antioxidant compounds in order to protect the body from free radicals.
Raisins helps in lowering blood pressure, reducing the level of sugar in the blood, improve cholesterol levels in the body, increasing the feeling of satiety and curbing the appetite, reducing the chances of developing type 2 diabetes, and reducing the chances of heart disease.
Raisins have many benefits, which include treating constipation, fever, anemia, weight problems, strengthening eyesight, promoting bone health, and others thanks to its nutritional value.
Half a cup of raisins contains about 216 calories and 42 grams of sugar. So raisins are not low in calories, or sugar, thus, can be called nature’s candy. Also, raisins are ideal for athletes and endurance athletes, as they can be a quick source of carbohydrates and energy that help improve performance.
Whoever aims to lose weight or maintain it is advised to avoid it or eat small amounts of it, while whoever aims to gain weight and get rid of thinness should eat it, as small amounts of it give a high amount of calories.
Half a cup of raisins contains 2.7 grams of fibers, or about 6 to 12% of your daily needs, depending on your age and gender. Fibers aids in digestion by softening and increasing stool volume, making them easier to pass and preventing constipation.
Fibers also help fill the stomach, thus increasing the feeling of satiety. If you’re trying to lose weight, eating high-fiber foods wisely will help. Fibers also play a role in lowering cholesterol levels, by reducing levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in the blood.
Raisins are a good source of iron. Half a cup of raisins contains 1.4 mg of iron, which is about 7 percent of the recommended daily allowance for most adult females, and 17 percent for adult men.
Iron is important for making red blood cells and helping to transport oxygen to the cells of the body, and eating it in sufficient quantities helps prevent anemia caused by iron deficiency.
Each half cup of raisins contains about 36 mg of calcium. This is approximately 5% of the daily needs. In addition, raisins contain a high amount of boron, which works with vitamin D and calcium to maintain healthy bones and joints and prevent osteoporosis.
Therefore, post-menopausal women may be advised to eat raisins as a snack rich in calcium, which helps prevent the development of osteoporosis, to which they may be prone.
Raisins are a great source of natural chemicals known as Phytonutrients, such as phenols and polyphenols. These types of nutrients act as antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to help remove free radicals from the blood and may prevent damage to cells and DNA. Its occurrence can lead to some diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Studies have shown that raisins contain phytochemicals that can promote healthy teeth and gums. The phytochemicals present in raisins, including oleanolic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid contribute to fighting bacteria in the mouth and maintaining healthy teeth. So, raisins can be eaten in place of sugary snack foods to keep your smile healthy.
Dates: rich source of fiber, potassium, iron, and many plant compounds. They are considered one of the richest dried fruits with antioxidants that contribute to reducing oxidative damage in the body. They also contain magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous, in addition to containing small amounts of vitamin C. and some B vitamins.
It is very rich in antioxidants. Eating dates in a moderate amount does not cause a significant increase in blood sugar levels. Eating dates regularly in the last weeks of pregnancy facilitates natural childbirth and reduces the need to induce labor. Eating dates helps treat male infertility, but studies in this regard are still in their infancy.
Dates help in the prevention of some intestinal disorders, such as improving bowel movement by preventing constipation and treating diarrhea.
Date help in the prevention of intestinal and colon infections as a result of its antibacterial properties, and its role in stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine. It prevents of hemorrhoids and gastrointestinal cancers.
Dates are an excellent source of many minerals, including iron, which makes dates play a good role in treating anemia caused by iron deficiency. Iron also helps to supply the body with energy and get rid of fatigue caused by anemia.
Dates contain a high percentage of carbohydrates and natural sugars, such as glucose, sucrose, and fructose, all of which provide the body with energy, raise blood sugar levels. The high content of glucose is necessary for the brain to function as the main source of energy. In addition, the components of dates work to increase alertness, speed of intuition, and reaction to various stimuli.
Dates are very useful for heart health, as they are a source of potassium and magnesium that are important for the heart’s work, and the richness of dates in dietary fiber plays a role in lowering levels of harmful cholesterol (LDL) in the body, which plays a role in preventing strokes and seizures. Cardiovascular, atherosclerosis.
One of the benefits of dates is that they are rich in magnesium, sulfur, and antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory effects. Dates are a rich source of potassium, which is an important element for maintaining fluid balance in the body and controlling blood pressure, in addition to magnesium, which helps lower blood pressure.
Dates have many benefits on bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis and osteoporosis because dates contain important elements for bone growth and maintenance, such as: selenium, copper, and manganese.
Dates are a soft, easy-to-digest food rich in fiber and nutrients that are beneficial for the child. It can be used during weaning the child and in the early stages of teething due to its freshness, but attention should be paid to the need to clean the child’s teeth well after eating it so that he does not suffer from tooth decay.
Figs: Each 56 grams of dried figs contain 6 grams of fibers that can help relieve constipation, increase the feeling of satiety for a longer period, reduce cholesterol and blood sugar, and is considered the best vegetable source of calcium that can help prevent osteoporosis. Bones, in addition to containing vitamin K necessary for the normal blood clotting process, and high-quality antioxidants that reduce free radical damage to body cells.
Figs helps maintain the balance of salts in the body, especially in the event of a high amount of sodium. Dried figs Maintain a healthy digestive system, as they contain a good amount of fiber, in addition to containing nutrients useful for beneficial bacteria in the intestine, which may have a role in maintaining the health of the digestive system.
Dried figs contain a good amount of elements that greatly help in strengthening the bones and maintaining their density, including: potassium, and calcium. With age, the body begins to take a percentage of the elements it needs from the bones, which reduces the strength and density of bones, which may cause joint pain and increase the chances of osteoporosis.
One of the benefits of dried figs is that it helps supply the body with a good percentage of your daily need of iron, as each cup of dried figs contains 3 mg of iron. Because of the high concentration of sugars in dried figs, it must be taken into account that it should not be eaten in large quantities by diabetics in particular.
Several studies have found that the large amount of fiber contained in dried figs helps reduce the levels of cholesterol accumulated in the blood vessels. The high content of dried figs of antioxidants makes it an important factor that helps protect against diseases caused by free radicals, such as: rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease.
Berries: Dried berries contain large amounts of potassium, dietary fiber, and antioxidants. However, some types of berries, such as blueberries, lose amounts of antioxidants during drying processes.
Dried berries contain antioxidant compounds that may have many benefits on human health, the most important of which is their role in repairing damage to body cells caused by free radicals, and this in turn helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases as well.
Another benefit of dried berries is that they contain a high percentage of anthocyanins, which give berries their dark red color. Studies have shown that this substance may have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects along with its various health benefits.
There has been a lot of research focused on how berry supplements and juice help prevent urinary tract infections. Various studies have shown that the majority of doctors request eating dried berries, from women with urinary tract infections, and even children, to eat berries of all kinds and forms.
It was also shown in a study conducted on a group of people with urinary tract infection that taking dried cranberry extracts in capsules twice daily helped reduce inflammation significantly. It has been shown that berries can help improve levels of good bacteria in the gut, especially in people who eat meat. One of the benefits of dried cranberries is that it helps reduce the secretion of bile acids in the gut, which are linked to colon cancer.
One of the benefits of dried or fresh berries is that it helps control harmful acids in the mouth, as it reduces the amount of acid you make and prevents it from sticking to the teeth, which helps reduce the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and even oral cancer.
Dried berries contain a group of powerful antioxidants, which protect and promote heart health, in addition to their role in reducing the risk of various cancers.
Apples: Dried apple contains about 52 calories and 1.75 grams of fiber per 50 grams, and it is considered low in calories compared to other dry fruits. It is consumed fresh as a fruit, and it is also made into jam, and it is also used in the manufacture of some juices.
Dried apples help in lowering blood pressure, reducing the level of sugar in the blood, improve cholesterol levels in the body, increasing the feeling of satiety and curbing the appetite
Cherry: is a fruit rich in vitamins and minerals, and dried cherry is one of the natural sources that can provide the body with abundant amounts of potassium and energy. Cherry blossoms are very beautiful and in Japan the cherry blossom season is celebrated.
Cherries provide 68 kilo calories per 100 grams, in addition to containing vitamin C and vitamin A. Cherry is consumed fresh as a fruit, and it is also made into jam, and it is also used in the manufacture of some juices. Cherries can reduce the risk of recurrent gout attacks and relieve symptoms.
Cherries contain melatonin, a hormone that regulates the body’s biological clock, and therefore, eating cherries helps to sleep and get rid of insomnia. Cherries contain potassium and quercetin, two elements that help lower high blood pressure.
Apricots: Dried apricots contain good amounts of vitamin A, which is important for the health of eyesight and skin, and 100 grams of it contains approximately 25% of the recommended daily intake of potassium, in addition to containing iron, dietary fiber and antioxidants, making it a healthy snack.
It is also rich in iron, as it contains 42% of the daily rate needed by the body in order to produce energy and carry out the vital functions necessary for the body. In addition, it contains dietary fibers that helps relieve constipation and maintains the health of the digestive system. Dried apricots are also a source of calcium, which helps in bone growth and preservation from fragility.
Chenpi, or chimpi: a Chinese sun-dried tangerines peel, it is used as a traditional spice in Chinese cooking and traditional medicine. It ripens by storing it dry. The taste is a little sweet at first, but the taste is pungent and bitter. According to Chinese herbal medicine, its nature is warm.
Before consumption, the chinpe soaked and rinsed in cold water until soft; It is recommended that soaking time should not exceed half an hour in order to preserve its flavour. Then, scrape the white pulp gently from the soft shell.
Some tong sui desserts, such as red bean soup, use this ingredient occasionally. The chenpi is used to make the Hunanese Orange Chicken. It can also be used for other types of food and drinks such as porridge, duck, pigeon, moon cake, green bean soup, jam and wine. Infused tea can also be prepared by steeping chenpi.
Chenpi is a popular ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is believed to strengthen the spleen, remove moisture, improve flatulence, promote digestion, and reduce phlegm. The powder is used for heart disorders. Traditional Chinese medicine urges caution when using chenpi when red symptoms, such as red tongue or facial flushing appear.
Coconut: can be dried whole, halves or slices, then grate the desiccated coconut. Coconut has many benefits, including that it is a treatment for kidney disease, because the water a person drinks from coconut washes the kidneys and urinary tract, and it is also a treatment for asthma.
In addition, the inner peel is used after its fragmentation in cooking recipes and in making sweets or placing them on them, types of chocolate, and others. Coconut is usually added to biscuits or cakes, and coconut balls can be prepared after mixing it with milk.
Knowing that adding it to foods increases the percentage of calories and fat, since each half a cup of sweetened coconut contains 168 calories and 10 grams of fat, most of which is saturated fat. Coconut is useful for culinary purposes, as its chemical structure does not transform into a chain of fatty acids even when exposed to high temperatures, unlike most other oils; vegetable oils.
Coconut is an effective assistant in losing weight naturally without resorting to a special diet, useful for digestive disorders such as colitis and Crohn’s disease. Coconut is an intestinal antiparasitic, tonic for the metabolism of thyroid patients and raises the average body temperature.
Dried Fruits Disadvantages and Use Precautions
Despite the many benefits of dried fruits, they should be eaten in moderation, and they can cause some problems in some people. Sulfur dioxide is added to some types of dried fruits as a preservative, a substance that can provoke an allergic reaction and cause symptoms similar to those of asthma in some people with sulfite sensitivity.
In this case, you should stay away from these types and choose organic dried fruits, which are It is darker in color and has a slightly different flavour. contain high calories; Dried fruits contain twice the calories while fresh, and some contain more, such as dried berries with sugar, which contain three times the sugar content of fresh berries, so they should be eaten in moderation. the possibility of contamination with mycotoxins.
Dried fruits may be exposed to contamination with aflatoxin and other toxins, depending on the manufacturing and storage processes, and these toxins are a source of concern because they are associated with a number of health problems. Dried fruits are fruits from which most of the water content has been removed using various drying methods, which leads to shrinkage, small size, and high calorie content.
There are other types of dried fruits that are less consumed and widespread, and are sometimes sugar coated, such as mango, pineapple, banana, and apple. Dried fruits can be preserved for a longer period of time than fresh fruits, and they can also be eaten as a snack, especially on long trips where there are no refrigerators nor other cooling facilities.
Recommended Portion of Dried Fruits to Consume
In general, it is recommended to eat 5 portions of various fruits and vegetables for different age groups, and these portions can include eating only one portion of dried fruit due to its high sugar content, and a portion is equivalent to 80 grams of dried fruit.
Dried Fruits Disadvantages
After knowing the benefits of dried fruits, it is important to know the sugar content in dried fruits, as dried fruits contain a large amount of natural sugar, and hereunder is the sugar percentages in different types of dried fruits.
Dried fruits sugar content
Sugar is traditionally found in dried fruits in the form of glucose and fructose; however, dried fruits do not contain added sugars that can cause some health problems. The percentage of sugar in raisins is around 59%, while in dates it ranges between 64%-66%, in plum the percentage is 38%, in apricot it is around %53, and finally the percentage of sugar in fig is 48%.
Most of these sugars are of the fructose type, which can cause some harm, such as: overweight, Type 2 diabetes mellitus, heart disease.
Dried Fruits to Avoid
After knowing the benefits of dried fruits, it is important to know what types of fruits you should avoid. The ones that have been covered with sugar or dried with sugar. Oddly bright and colourful, these often have color-enhancing chemicals added, so choose dried fruits that are slightly brown or paler in colour.
Dried Fruits Guidelines for Diabetics
Diabetes requires a person with diabetes to adhere to a special diet during which the focus is on eating certain food items in exchange for abstaining or reducing some other food items, so where exactly do dried fruits fall into this equation?
Here are the most important tips and guidelines for eating dried fruits for diabetics:
Pay attention to the glycemic index: the glycemic index of foods indicates their ability to raise blood sugar levels, and here it is especially preferable to avoid foods that have a high glycemic index because of their ability to cause a significant increase in blood sugar levels after eating them, and only eat foods with a moderate or low glycemic index.
Avoid dried fruits that are rich in additives: It is preferable for a diabetic to completely avoid dried fruits that have been added to some substances and flavorings, even if these fruits have a low glycemic index.
Some additives may increase the amount of sugar in one serving of these fruits, which may make it a harmful meal for a diabetic. These are some materials that may be added to dried fruits: yoghurt, sugar, chocolate, and some other artificial sweeteners.
Do not exceed the allowed daily intake: A diabetic may need to pay attention to the number of calories and carbohydrates he eats daily to keep his condition under control all the time as much as possible. From this point of view, it is preferable to moderate the consumption of dried fruits for diabetics and to only eat specific portions of them.
Replace dry fruits with fresh fruits: In general, it is preferable to eat fresh fruits instead of dried fruits for diabetics, as fresh fruits are characterized by less carbohydrates and sugars, the amount of fiber is higher, especially when eaten with the skins, as the peels are often removed before drying, causing the dried fruit to have less dietary fiber.
Great Dried Fruits Recipes
Dried Fruit Salad
Dried fruits pieces with nuts, cream sauce and orange juice, let’s try it now:
You can replace any type of fruit with another as desired.
Half a cup of chopped dried apricots.
½ cup chopped dried kiwi.
½ cup chopped dried figs.
½ cup of chopped dried strawberries.
½ cup of dried berries.
½ cup chopped dried peaches.
3 tablespoons of blueberry or strawberry juice.
3 tablespoons of orange or lemon juice.
Honey (as desired).
1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
¼ cup chopped and toasted walnut
Quarter cup of roasted pistachio
How to make dried fruit salad:
1. In a bowl, put the dried fruits and mix them well.
2. In another dish, put the sauce ingredients and mix them well.
3. Put the dried fruits on a plate and pour the dressing on top.
4. Sprinkle chopped, roasted walnut and roasted pistachio on top of the salad.
A baked cake mixed with dried fruits pieces, suitable for tea parties, it can be stuffed with raisins. It is suitable for breakfast or for short trips. It is also delicious with a cup of coffee or a cup of tea. This cake should be present on various occasions.
¼ cup of soft butter.
a cup and a half of powdered sugar.
two cups of sifted flour.
¼ teaspoon baking soda.
a cup of chopped dried fruit.
¼ cup of raisins soaked in water for a quarter of an hour and drained well from the water until it becomes somewhat soft.
How to make an English cake:
1. Beat butter with sugar well until it becomes creamy.
2. Gradually add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
3. In another dish, mix the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, dried fruits and raisins.
4. Gradually add the previous ingredients to the butter and egg mixture and continue to beat until all ingredients are mixed.
5. Pour the mixture into a suitable mold greased with vegetable oil and flour.
6. Insert the mold into a hot oven at 180 degrees and place the grille in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes or until cooked.
7. Take out the mold after maturity and wait for it to cool down.
8. Turn the cake over after it cools down completely.
9. Sprinkle fine sugar with a small strainer on the face of the cake.
Chocolate Dried Fruits
Dried fruits (pineapple, apple, dates, figs, papaya, and kiwi).
White and dark melted chocolate.
How to prepare:
- Melt the chocolate on a water bath (a saucepan with water, and a scoop of grated chocolate on top), taking into account that the scoop of chocolate does not come into contact with the water directly.
Or melt in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, in a glass bowl.
- Take into account that the temperature of the chocolate does not exceed 30 or 40 degrees.
- A spoonful of oil is added to the chocolate after melting, to equalize its temperature, and to make the chocolate shine, do not add butter at all because it contains a percentage of water.
- (In this method, no additions are added to the chocolate other than the oil only)
- Dip the dried fruit in the chocolate, wipe its edge so that it is not a base, then place it on butter paper, enter the refrigerator until it holds together, and serve.
- It can be made with fresh fruits, but it is eaten quickly, and this is healthier.
Dried Fruits Snack Ideas
- Whole-grain crackers with a bit of fat-free cheese and a handful of dried fruits of your choice.
- Fruit salad mixed with chopped dates, dried apple and raisins.
- Dried apple and apricot slices with a few slices of fat-free cheese.
- Carrot slices with a dip of peanut butter and a handful of dried fruits.