You cannot go wrong when you present a fresh fruit gift basket to your loved one on a celebratory occasion. These fruit hampers are also available with dry fruits. Express4Fruits offers a wide range of fruit baskets for gifting.
You can order a fruit hamper that contains only fresh fruits or buy the one that also has some dry fruits and packaged products. There are some interesting things to know about dried fruits.
1. Available since Ancient Times
Dried fruits have been seen in the paintings and clay tablets of Mesopotamia dating back to 2000-1700 BC. They have been found in Egyptian tombs. Date syrup and raisins were used as sweeteners in early civilizations of Middle East. Dried raisins and figs have been mentioned in the Bible. Raisins are considered the oldest dried fruit and were brought by Spanish missionaries to California which has become one of the world’s largest dry fruit producers.
Sun-dried fallen dates and figs were collected by the hunter gatherers. Date palms were domesticated 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia where they grew in large numbers across the banks of the Nile, Euphrates and Tigris. Communities across the world have been drying fruits for use as winter foods for centuries. Traditional dried fruits were sun and wind tunnel dried.
2. Different Fruit Drying Methods
Fruits are usually dried in one of the following three ways.
Sun Drying – This is the oldest method to preserve different types of natural farm produces. This method relies on sun heat and airflow to dry fruits and vegetables. Some commercial fruit drying technologies try to replicate this same method. However, sun drying is gentle on the fruit and helps retain its flavor and nutrients. It is a reliable method tried and tested over several centuries.
Air Drying – This is another simple, cold and natural method to dry foods. In this case, sun heat is not used, and the fruits are dried in a shaded but open area. The place must have good airflow to dry the fruits properly. This method is suitable for a season when the air has low humidity.
Dehydrator Equipment- This can be a small gadget for home use or very large equipment in a commercial food production company. It simply creates the effects of sun and air drying in a controlled indoor environment. Fruits dry faster inside this equipment due to continuous and even heating from all sides.
3. All Dried Fruits Are Not Healthy
Some manufacturers add sweet syrup to increase the sweetness of the dry fruit. Sugar syrup is also used as a preservative but as you know too much refined sugar can be unhealthy. You should choose dried fruits that have been dried using natural drying methods. Sun-, air- and freeze-dried fruits with no preservative and sugar are the best one for health.
Check the ingredient information on the packaging label. Freeze-dried fruits retain more flavor and nutrition because in the freeze-drying technique, only the water content is removed. The end product is dry and crispy with only the main fruit ingredients.
Some manufacturers use the naturally occurring chemical compound sulphur dioxide (SO2) as preservative during the fruit drying process. The purpose is to increase the dry fruit’s shelf life, kill bacteria and maintain its color. These benefits may seem positive but SO2 can cause allergic reactions in some people. SO2 is used as preservative to increase the product’s shelf life and to prevent the dried fruit from browning. The manufacturer boil out SO2 before packing but this process can remove vital nutrients of the fruit. It is better to use dried fruits that have been dried naturally without using chemical compounds.
4. Selecting the Best Dried Fruits
Make sure no additives or preservatives have been used to increase the shelf life or improve the flavor, taste and look of the fruits. You will avoid excess intake of cholesterol that can be harmful to your heart. The dried fruits should be natural with only the main ingredients, nutrients and the original fruit fiber. These fruits are good as low-calorie snacks as they have little to no fats. Some producers remove the fruit’s skin and cores. Some dried fruits prepared for long shelf life and stored under the ideal condition can last for years. They can serve as emergency food supplies in times of disasters.
While dried fruits last long, they still have a shelf life. Check the Best Before Use date of the packaged dry fruits you buy. Store these supplies as recommended by their manufacturer or supplier. You can order fresh fruit hampers with some dry fruits or other products like a bottle of wine. Express delivery service is available for sending your gift hamper.