When we hear the word ‘Apple’, juicy fruit comes to our mind. Children, adults or even old age people love to eat this nutritious fruit. But some people love to eat Apples in DRY form. Dried Apples are made by removing water content from the fruit. There are many ways to dry them. Other than apples, numerous other fruits, like dates, raisins, figs etc., are also dried in the sun naturally or by using dehydrators. Today, dried apples or other fruits are consumed largely.
Variety of Apples
There is a wide variety of apples all around the world. Almost 7500 varieties are there and from these 7500 varieties, 2500 are grown in United States of America only. Mostly apples are easily available for people but Black Diamond Apple is the rarest of all Apples.
Where Does This Technique Of Dried Fruit Come From?
Let’s see from where does this trend of using dried fruits came from. The origin of dried fruits is from Mediterranean and Mesopotamia in 4th millennium BC. People back then, use dried apples as sweeteners or snacks. Because the dried apples have same nutritional value as that of fresh fruits, people dehydrate fruits to increase their shelf life. In 16th century, dried fruits are preserved so that it can be used in all the seasons especially in winters. They were soaked before time in sugar syrup, puddings or any sauce as per needed.
Farmers and fruit gatherers in 1500 BC found that the fruits which have fallen from the trees or vines can be preserved by drying them in the sun. They came to know the value of these fruits due to their stability and concentrated sweetness.
In modern world, dried fruits are produce in various regions of the world. These fruits are preserved and consumed in all cultures. Fruits are mostly dried in hot areas where the thermal energy from the sun can easily be used to dry fruits e.g. in USA, California has hot climate and ideal for sun drying the fruits. Now mostly Raisins are dried in the sun and many other fruits are processed in industries on large scales.
Methods Of Dehydrating
Fruits can be divided into halves, slices or can be dried as a whole. 4 main methods are mostly used around the world for drying apples and many other fruits:
1. Sun Drying
The most commonly used method is Sun Drying. Core of apples are removed and thin slices are placed in the sun. This is a slow process but inexpensive as it requires only thermal source from the sun.
2. Tray Drying
This method of drying is similar to convection drier. Slices of fruits are placed on trays in rows and then these trays are popped into the oven. This method is common in industries where large number of fruits are to be dried.
3. Freeze Drying
Fruits like apples, peaches, mangoes or pears, which have high water content, are best preserved by using this method. Fruits are freeze first and then heat is added so that frozen water in fruit is neutralized.
4. Vacuum Microwave Drying
In Vacuum Microwave Drying, the fruit takes less time to dry. In this dehydration process, the radiations of microwave generate heat at high pressure that causes evaporation of water molecules from the fruits. The vacuum dehydration maintains texture, color and taste of the fruits.
Nutritional Profile Of Dried Apples
Dried apples are popular munching snacks nowadays, almost all over the world. Let’s look at the nutritional profile of these:
- Serving Size: 1 Oz (5 rings)
- Total Calories: 69
- Fat: 0.1 Gm
- Cholestrol: 0 mg
- Sodium: 24.7 mg
- Dietry Fiber: 2.5 gm
- Sugars: 16.2 gm
- Protein: 0.3 gm
- Vitamin C: 1.1 mg
- Iron: 0.4 mg
- Calcium: 4 mg
Benefits Of Dried Apples
Dried apples have almost same benefits as that of fresh fruits. The following are some of the benefits:
1. Good Source of Fiber
Fresh apples as well as dried are best source of Fiber. Dried apples have 2.5gm of Fiber. Fibers help to regulate digestive track processes. Fibers are also essential for our body for providing energy.
Dried apples are great antioxidants. The special antioxidant called Polyphenols are present which reduces risk of many diseases. Antioxidants improve the blood flow and also helps to minimize oxidant damages in our body.
3. High Calories and Sugars
All the water content from dried apples are evaporated, so they have concentrated form of sugars and calories. We can say that, these are smaller packets of sugars and calories. One slice of dried apple is equal to almost 2 slices of fresh apple, in its nutritional value.
4. Vitamins and Minerals
Apples in dried form are rich in vitamins and minerals. These vitamin and minerals have same health benefits as that of present in fresh one.
Side Effects Of Dried Apples
Though Dried Apples have many health benefits but they also have negative side effects. Since fresh fruits have both sucrose and fructose sugar in them, about 22-51% of the sugar is FRUCTOSE. This much intake of fructose can cause many negative health effects.
1. Weight Gain
Excessive intake of fructose causes weight gain.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
Fructose sugar causes type 2 diabetes especially when taken in the form of dried apples or fruits. As all the water is dehydrated, high concentration of fructose can cause diabetes in many people.
3. Heart Diseases
These can also affect the normal functioning of heart. Large amount of dried apples can cause heart diseases in people who are also vulnerable to other diseases.
As much as Dried Apples are beneficial and tasty for health, one must keep in consideration the rule of moderation. Patients with Diabetes should consult their doctors before eating any form of dried fruits. Fresh as well as dried, both provide equal amount of energy, vitamin, minerals and fiber but the dried one has concentrated form of sugars which can have harmful effects on our body and especially on our heart.