Four Fun Ways to Use Freeze-Dried Fruit
It’s late January in Lake Chelan, and our summer garden of Eden looks a bit different this time of year. The orchards are barren with ice-tipped branches. The lake is covered ominously most days with a thick layer of fog. The hills once lush with fruit are deep in snow.
Needless to say, we’re all desperately missing the bounties of summer around here. That’s one of the ironic things about spending your days on an organic fruit farm. Harvest season is a whirlwind of picking, sorting, packing and shipping, and then, just like that, it’s over, and winter sets in.
Right now we’re approximately 23 weeks away from our first batch of cherries, 25 weeks from blueberries, and 28 from our first batch of Sweet Tangos, not that we’re counting!
In the meantime, we’ve found a winter refuge for curbing our cravings for the fresh stuff: freeze-dried! All of our freeze-dried fruit is harvested in-season, and the unique process of freeze drying locks in so much of the fruit’s original flavor, adding a crunchy edge that’s irresistible for snacking. During these cold months, it’s just the thing to save the day, just the thing to bring back a little bit of that summer sunshine on a dreary winter day.
Currently, we offer organic freeze-dried blueberries, freeze-dried red cherries and freeze-dried honeycrisp apples, and we’ve discovered some really awesome ways to incorporate them into baking, snacking and beyond. Dig in to learn more about things to do with freeze-dried fruits below.
What is Freeze-Dried Fruit
Freeze drying is the process of subjecting frozen fruit to a vacuum, which instantaneously vaporizes the ice on the fruit, removing all of the water. The result is something quite different from chewy dried fruit: a very crunchy, flavor-filled, zero-moisture, shelf stable version of the original that’s perfect for, well, lots of things.
Even better, freeze-dried fruits are often more nutrient-dense than their fresh counterparts because they are harvested and preserved in-season.
What to Do with Freeze Dried Fruit
Maybe no other meal of the day is more perfect for freeze-dried fruit than breakfast. Everybody knows there is never enough dried fruit in the box! Top off your cereal, add to yogurt, bake into muffins or throw a handful in the blender to add a little pizazz to your smoothies.
Freeze Dried Blueberry Smoothie Recipe:
- 1.5 cup milk
- 1 cup freeze-dried blueberries
- ½ cup oats
- Ice cubes to desired consistency
- Top with fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, kiwi, etc.
Blend all ingredients together until desired thickness. Pour and serve.
Usually when adding fruit to baked dishes, you’ve got to account for the added moisture. Not with freeze-dried. Say goodbye to soggy baking while getting all the flavor or fresh fruit. Another popular baking use for freeze-dried fruit is grinding it into a powder. Use your mortar and pestle , throw in a little sugar, and grind into a powder to mix with frosting, whipped cream, or sprinkle on top of cakes and cookies. It’s a two for one in that you get both flavor and color.
Fruit Butter Recipe:
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup crushed freeze dried blueberries or cherries (or both!)
Whip all ingredients together. Sit in the fridge until firm.
Flavored water is all the rage these days. You can add freeze-dried fruit to almost any beverage (from regular water to sparkly water to bourbon and vodka) for a new flavor spin. Add the freeze- dried fruit to your favorite drink. Let the fruit soak in the beverage for about five minutes in order to rehydrate.
Berry Infused Water Recipe:
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup ice cubes (optional)
- 1 cup freeze-dried blueberries
- 1 lemon thinly sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 tbsp. sugar (optional)
Last but not least, snacking! Freeze-dried fruit delivers the irresistible crunch we look for in a snack. There is zero sugar added, no preservatives and absolutely nothing added, making it a healthy game changer no matter what time of day you reach for it.