Are you a patron of your local Farmer’s Market? I seek them out in every city I travel to, and am lucky enough to find something amazing at nearly every one I visit!
Today, I’m in Celebration, Florida, where I found a stand run by a happy couple eager to pass out samples (my favorite kind of stand :-)) … they had freeze-dried fruit/veggie chips of all kinds, all made without creepy ingredients like preservatives. I wish I’d taken a pic of their stand, but we’ll have to settle for a picture of the bounty.
I snapped up bags of lemons, limes, zucchini, mango, eggplant, pineapple, and kale, mostly naked, but a few with herbs/spices that took the food from tasty to amazing.
Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables retain much of the taste of their original fresh versions, though the texture changes to a chip-like crisp. For some foods, that’s a loss, for others, it’s a gain.
But how about nutrition? Any form of cooking/storage impact the nutritional profile of foods, but freeze-drying does a pretty good job of preserving the nutrients. Studies by the American Institute for Cancer Research show freeze-dried foods retain high levels of all phytochemicals and folic acid, and that freeze-dried foods retain more nutrients than dehydrated foods. And with a shelf life of up to 25 years (yes, that is not a typo), you have a long time to access those nutrients! Think of it this way … which will have more nutrients a month from now: the rotten tomato on the counter, or the one that you dehydrated? Easy answer, because you won’t eat the rotten one.
And speaking of “won’t eat it,” which provides more nutrients: the zucchini that the kids push around the plate at dinner, or the bowl of freeze-dried zucchini chips that they destroy while watching a movie? Easy.
In any case, I’m off to grab some of that pineapple to take on a long bike ride (it’s also super-portable). This is going to be an amazing week of eating!