Dried Fruits: All You Need To Know About These Healthy Treats
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Dehydrating fruit is one of the ancient ways to preserve food, it was discovered thousands of years ago and is the best way to prepare healthy snacks that can also be eaten with breakfast. Also known as dried fruit, it is made by taking all the water out of the fruit by sun drying or using dehydrator (a special machine to dry fruits). Dates are one of the earliest and most common fruits that is eaten in dried form. Other popular dried fruits are raisins, prunes, figs, apricots and peaches. 

Dried fruits are loaded with nutrients, they are high in antioxidants, vitamin A and also contain iron and fibre. According to Healthline, dried fruit by weight contains three times more fibre and vitamins than whole fruits. They are also a good source of natural sugar and calories. Due to its nutrients content, it is considered beneficial for bone health and pregnancy. Dried fruit is often recommended to people who are trying to gain weight. 

Ways To Prepare Dried Fruits At Home

There are two ways to prepare dried fruits at home: 

1. Sun-Dried Fruit

This is the most economical method of dehydrating fruits, but it only works in regions where the temperature is thirty degrees Celsius or more. This method gives the best results and just takes around two to six days to sufficiently dry the fruits under summer heat. In order to use this method, you just have to invest a little in wooden or steel drying racks, store your fruit slices on them and take them out in the sun each morning and take the racks back at night. But remember to wash the fruits and slice them evenly. You can use cheesecloth or netting to keep insects such as flies away from the fruits while drying. Apricots, tomatoes, plums, grapes, apples and pears are some of the best fruits that can be dried in the sun. 

2. Oven Dried Fruit

If the climate is not in your favour, the oven is another solution for dehydrating fruits. You just need an oven, parchment paper and baking sheets. Clean the fruits, cut them into slices and bake them in lowest temperature between hundred and thirty to hundred and sixty. If your oven has a fan use it otherwise you can keep opening the door of the oven frequently to get rid of excess moisture. Generally, the fruits take six to seven hours to bake completely apart from banana and strawberries that takes only two to three hours to dehydrate. This method takes minimal attention as the slices only need to be flipped a few times and the rest of the work is done by your oven. The best fruits to dehydrate in oven are apples, oranges, cherries, strawberries, pears, peaches and bananas.

There are also some special dehydrators available in the market for preparing dried fruits. These forms of fruits are perfect to carry while travelling, as they take up very little space and require no refrigeration. But dried fruits have more concentrated sugar as compared to whole fruit therefore it may not be safe for diabetic patients and people who are trying to lose weight. The concentrated sugar can also increase the risk of tooth decay.