When winter arrives, we often scramble to find some of our favourite fruits. Maybe this is the time to look at some dried fruit options. When it comes to eating healthy food, the general mantra is ‘fresh is best’, however it can be beneficial to sometimes include some dried fruits in our diet. Dried fruits can be very high in dietary fibre and as long as we don’t overindulge too much, they can certainly be beneficial for our wellbeing. Below is one of my favourite dried fruit compotes which is great to serve on porridge over winter or with yoghurt as a dessert.
FIGS – THE ANCIENT HEALTHY FRUIT
The fig has been cultivated for thousands of years, with remnants of figs having been found in excavations of Neolithic sites going back to around 5,000BC. It is believed this fruit originated in western Asia. Recently I wrote about the benefits of fibre for good bowel health. Dried figs are a great standby to prevent constipation. 5 grams of dietary fibre can be found in 3 servings of dried figs which is a great reason to include dried figs in our daily breakfast regime.
They are naturally loaded in phyto-nutrients, anti-oxidants and vitamins. Dried figs are an excellent source of calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc. 100g of dried figs contains 640mg of potassium, 162 mg of calcium and 2mg of iron. In addition, dried figs contain a good amount of B Vitamins together with some antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin A, E and K.
Recently we added dried figs to our bulk food bins which means you can buy whatever quantity you require and is a great way to easily sample our dried figs.
DRIED APRICOTS – YOUR NATURAL SOURCE OF VITAMIN A
Apricots are also an ancient fruit and are believed to have been grown in India way back in 3000BC – so they have stood the test of time!! One cup of dried apricots is the equivalent of 2 cups of fresh apricots with dried apricots also being a good source of dietary fibre as well as Potassium. They are interestingly also high in Vitamin A – 1 cup provides around 4600 IU of Vitamin A which is pretty amazing. Last week I wrote about the different forms of iron. Dried apricots also contain a significant amount of non-heme iron.
Once again, we now stock Australian dried apricots in our bulk food bins which I must say, are extremely popular.
DRIED CRANBERRIES – INFUSED IN APPLE JUICE
Now this is a dried fruit which has become extremely popular in Australia in the past 10 years. Cranberries in their raw state are quite sour and tart which is why most dried cranberries have sugar added when drying. There is however another healthier option which is apple juice infused cranberries. These dried cranberries are very plump and extremely tasty.
As with the figs and apricots, dried cranberries are high in dietary fibre. They are also rich in antioxidants and contain a particular polyphenol which contain antimicrobial properties. It’s believed these may, in conjunction with other valuable compounds assist in ensuring our digestive system is colonized with sufficient good bacteria.
I encourage you to try these tasty apple juice infused cranberries from our bulk food bins
MEDJOOL DATES – THE DATE THAT ISN’T DRIED
Although I’m writing about dried fruits in this article, the Medjool Date is one I really felt I needed to write about. Most of us think of Medjool dates as a dried fruit however Medjool dates are never actually dried – they are a fresh fruit harvested from the date palm, then sorted, cleaned and packaged. They have a delightful caramel flavour. They contain natural sugar with a low to medium glycemic index score which is regulated because of the substantial amount of fibre contained in the date. The fibre slows the release of carbohydrates, enabling more sustained energy instead of blood sugar spikes. These dates are also high in potassium as well as good amounts of copper, magnesium, vitamin B6, niacin, calcium, iron and vitamin K.
DRIED MANGO – THE ULTIMATE DELICACY!
Now I’ve definitely left the best until last as this is the ultimate in dried fruit. I’m sure we all love fresh mangoes, which of course generally are not available to us in winter. Well we now have the next best thing. Dried mango cheeks are naturally sweet and a wonderful tropical treat. They are in fact the most popular dried fruit we sell from our bulk food bins and with good reason!
Once again dried mango is high in dietary fibre as well as Vitamin A and B vitamins.
Below is an extremely tasty recipe for dried mango energy balls.