Cubical Cuisine Test: Freeze-Dried Fruit
Picture those strange strawberries in the box of breakfast cereal or a brick of dehydrated space ice cream. Several manufacturers are marketing freeze-dried fruits as a snack alternative. They hope freeze-dried fruit will become a standard lunch box item.
Freeze-dried fruit is not dried fruit like a raisin or a prune. Traditional dried fruit is made by evaporating water as fruit dries under the hot sun or in an oven. But freeze-dried fruit is made by rapid freezing at a very low temperature, and then heating very quickly to change ice into gas while sucking out the moisture by vacuum pressure.
Freeze-dried fruit is extremely light because it is 98% water-free. Its portability makes it a favorite of hikers, campers and space travelers. Freeze-dried fruit has a long shelf-life – up to 2 years. It maintains most of its antioxidant phytochemicals and other nutrients, except for the full amount of vitamin C.
Our reviewers tasted Crispy Green Apples, Pears, Pineapples, and Apricots, but Crispy Green is not the only company making freeze-dried fruits. Funky Monkey, Today’s Farm, Just Fruit Salad, Brothers All Natural, Mountain House, Honeyville, and others all produce high quality freeze-dried fruit snacks.
This is what our reviewers had to say about Crispy Green freeze-dried fruit:
(1) Describe the taste:
The panel was divided down the middle. The comments ranged from "almost tasteless" to "very tasty" indeed. Other descriptors were yummy, plain, faint, diluted, and not as flavorful as the real thing.
(2) Describe the texture:
Freeze-dried fruit has a unique texture that words almost can't describe. The texture was characterized as light, crispy, crunchy, spongy, squeaky, chewy, chalky, dry, and "something like Sea-Monkeys," those dehydrated shrimp eggs that come to life upon adding water.
(3) Did you like it?
Some tasters liked knowing that freeze-dried fruit is healthy, while others liked that it didn’t make a mess. One gracious reviewer could see it "as perfect for certain applications" but not as an everyday food.
(4) What didn’t you like about it?
The term "weird" was used again and again. And no one could justify the cost of $1.79 (in New York) for the equivalent of ½ cup of fresh fruit.
(5) Did it satisfy your snack craving? Did you need something with it?
Testers said a bag of freeze-dried fruit may satisfy only the smallest of cravings. Several testers said it left their mouths feeling quite dry.
(6) Would you recommend it to a friend?
Only half would recommend freeze-dried fruit - although it definitely has a place in the safe-room in case of a disaster.
There are additional customer reviews for Crispy Greens, Funky Monkey, and other freeze-dried fruits at Amazon.com.
The bottom line:
Freeze-dried fruit is a healthy and natural alternative to fresh fruit; however, it seems to be an acquired taste. The cost is high, but then there is no waste and it surely is convenient. It is a great product to have on hand for times when fresh fruit is not an option. Expect to see freeze-dried fruit and vegetables more commonly used in the future.
Question for you:
Have you tried freeze-dried fruit? Do you like it?
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