Dried fruits are eaten all over the globe and are a popularly consumed culinary delight especially in the months of winters. They have been in use in since ancient times, dating back to around 4000 BC. The first occurrence of dried fruits has been recorded in the region of present day areas of Turkey, Iran and Syria, known back then as Mesopotamia. Dried fruits have long been known for their high nutritional value, sweet taste and longevity. Dried fruits are made synthetically and are not grown naturally. However, their synthetic production does not mean large scale use of chemicals.
Many people do claim that in order to maintain the good coloration of the fruit, many commercial producers treat dried fruits with sulfur dioxide. This makes a dried fruit bad for health making it dangerous for people who already have problems like asthma. Many people however disregard this blame and claim the drying methods to be very safe and healthy. There are many ways of drying the fruits which include natural as well as synthetic and the usually claimed ways of drying fruits include no chemicals and harmful methodologies. In order to make dried fruits, not all the fruits can be used. Only a very few of them can be used for the purpose as all other, on drying, can become unusable and unfit for consumption.
Some of the most commonly used fruits for this purpose are pears, pruned, dates, peaches, plums, strawberries, apricots, mangoes, blueberries, peaches, figs, cranberries and apples. These fruits, in order to be dried, are either exposed to sun for drying or left to dry out naturally. As far as the synthetic ways of drying are concerned, specialized dehydrators or dryers are used for the purpose. Resins, plums, dates, prunes, pears, figs, apples, apricots and peaches have been classified as the traditional dried fruits while cherries, mangoes, cranberries, strawberries and blueberries are sweetened before they are actually dried. Hence each kind of a dried fruit could use a different method and requirement for drying. Apart from the region known to the ancient people as Mesopotamia, dried fruits have also been widely used centuries ago in Egypt and the Middle East and have been a popular part of the Mediterranean cuisine. One of the common ways, apart from the traditionally used natural and synthetic ones, is to oven dry the candidate fruits. Using some layers of cheese cloth over the fruit, the drying process can be led with the oven door left slightly open and the steam allowed escaping. This method does not require too much of heat and for it to be successful the oven has to be set at the lowest possible temperature. Usually, the highest of 145 degree Fahrenheit is recommended.
Due to their high content of nutrition, dried fruits are recommended by most U.S doctors and world’s leading health agencies. Typically, a dried fruit would contain almost as much nutritional value as a fresh fruit, hence these are considered to be very healthy for consumption. However, the high value of sweet in some of the dried fruits does not allow for too much of their consumption. In addition to providing all the essential nutrients to the body, dried fruits also provide mass immunization from a number of chronic diseases. The great combination of protective bioactive ingredients, healthy nutritional value and a nice taste has now made dried fruits popular all around the globe. However, their high resistance to spoilage and long lasting shelf life has made them a good food item to store and use not only to maintain good health but also use for quick servings when nothing else is ready and someone arrives at home. They are also largely stored by many families where children need to eat at odd times. It is a pretty good and rather recommended idea as children only eat junk food when they feel hungry at odd timings. Such eating orders are not uncommon amongst children. The, why not serve them with something healthy rather than compelling them to go out and get things that might not be god for health at all. In countries where dried fruits are mass produced, people use them largely in homes due to their easy and cheap availability. In such countries, exotic drinks and food items are also made using dried fruits.
Some of the main nutrition’s of a dried fruit would be Vitamin A, potassium, sodium, calcium, Vitamin K and dietary fiber along with others. Like fresh fruits, they contain no cholesterol, saturated fats, fats, and trans fats. Hence they are fit for use by all kinds of people.