Dried fruit has been available for thousands of years in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Dates are one of the earliest dried fruits that were eaten. Dried fruit is made by taking the water out of the fruit by sun drying or using a special machine called a dehydrator. Since the water is removed during drying, this also means that the natural sugars in the fruit are concentrated.
You can add some sweetness to your day by enjoying dried fruits. Popular dried fruits include raisins, dates, prunes (dried plums), figs, apricots and peaches. Fruits such as dried mango, pineapple and berries are also available, but these tend to be dried with added sugar.
Nutritional profile of dried fruit
- Dried fruits can be a source of antioxidants in the diet. Dried apricots and peaches are also good sources of carotenoids, which your body turns into vitamin A.
- Prunes, raisins and apricots also contain iron.
- Many dried fruits are also a source of fibre. Take a look at how much fibre there is in ¼ cup of these dried fruits:
Remember, dried fruit is more concentrated in sugar than whole fruit. If you have diabetes, it is best to connect with a dietitian to find out how to include dried fruit as part of your diabetes meal plan.
Dried fruit and dental health
While dried fruit can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet, be careful as it can stick to teeth and cause dental decay. It is best to enjoy dried fruit as part of a meal to prevent it from sticking to teeth or you can also make sure to brush your teeth after enjoying them.
Buy dried fruit at it's best
- Check out your local bulk food store - dried fruit may be less expensive and it will save packaging.
- Buy dried fruits without added sugar. Check the ingredient list to see whether or not sugar has been added.
Tips for storing dried fruit
- Store dried fruits in an airtight container to keep them fresh.
- Dried fruit can be stored tightly wrapped at room temperature for several months. Store in a cool, dry place like a cupboard.
- For prolonged storage (up to a year), they should be refrigerated in a tightly sealed plastic bag.
5 Things to Do with Dried Fruit
- Bake apples with raisins and walnuts.
- Make homemade trail mix with raisins, high fibre cereal and unsalted almonds like in this Kids Pix Trail Mix.
Sprinkle raisins onto a salad.
- Add as a topping to oatmeal.
- Top high fibre cereal with dried apricots and almonds.
- Layer a yogurt parfait with chopped dried apricots.
- Add dried apricots to stews.
- Make a quinoa pilaf with dried apricots and toasted almonds.
- Toss chopped prunes into a stir-fry dish.
- Add prunes to curried chicken.
- Pureed prunes can also be used to replace half the amount of fat used in baking.
- After dinner, enjoy a serving of fresh fruit and dried figs.
- Add dried figs to a stir-fry dish.
- Layer chopped dried figs onto pear slices. Top with crumbled blue cheese.
- Add to batters and doughs for quick breads and muffins.
- Use to make fibre-filled granola bars.
- Slice dates lengthwise and fill them with peanut, almond or soy butter.
- Cook up rice with green lentils, dates and raisins.
- Add to your favourite tagine recipe for some extra flavour.
Recipes to try
Soft Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Date and Oatmeal Pancake
Kids Pix Trail Mix
Granola and Fruit Bites
How can a dietitian help?
Dietitians can support you throughout many phases of your life from pregnancy to eating well when you are older. Counselling sessions with a dietitian can also help you to prevent and treat health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Your dietitian will work with you to give you personalized advice that meets your lifestyle and goals. Connect with a dietitian today!
Dried fruit can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet, but remember to keep portions in check as they are more concentrated in sugar than whole fruit.
You may also be interested in:
All About Sweet Potatoes
Top 5 Reasons to See a Dietitian
This article was written and reviewed by dietitians from Dietitians of Canada.
Last Update – May 6, 2022