Review: Freeze-dried Fruits - Part 1 (1/4/2 017)
by Kate Matthews with input from Eric.
We like fresh fruit and I love berries and cranberries so were excited about the idea of storing these fruits from the summer to enjoy in the winter months when they are not available or just too expensive at the grocery store. As directed, we hydrated with room temperature water and let them set for about 7 minutes. North Bay suggested to use hot water. We tried different hydration methods for the fruits as follows:
- Rehydrating the fruit in hot water
- Rehydrating the fruit in tap water
- Rehydration by wrapping the fruits in a wet paper towel, placing them in a plastic bag and storing in the refrigerator
We did not notice any difference using the first two methods. Eric thought the third method yielded better results. I could not tell any difference. The third method took much longer than the first two.
Freeze Dried Raspberries - Honeyville and North Bay
We had a #2.5 can of Honeyville rasperries and a small mylar bag of organic raspberries from North Bay.
You can see from the picture the difference between the two products. The North Bay looked like a much higher quality fruit. We were also impressed with how close to fresh fruit the North Bay Raspberries looked.
Here is what the two products looked like rehydrated.
At first glance, the North Bay raspberries looked and smelled more like fresh berries. The Honeyville raspberries looked like they had been in the refrigerator too long.
To be fair we did blind taste tests of both berries.
I thought the Honeyville raspberries had a better consistency but the North Bay berries had more taste. Eric thought the Honeyville berries were tarter than fresh raspberries and the North Bay berries tasted more like fresh raspberries.
It is important to note that when talking about the flavor of all the berries and cranberry seeds, we are talking about a significant loss of flavor as compared to fresh or even frozen berries. Both of us were disappointed.
We took some of the Freeze Dried Raspberries and ground them up into a find powder and mixed them in a glass with simple syrup and seltzer water to see what they would taste like as a fresh drink.
I was not impressed but Eric liked the drink. To each his own.
Freeze Dried Blueberries from North Bay
... and rehydrated
I thought the blue berries were mushy with almost no taste. Eric thought the blueberries were okay but had a bland taste.
Freeze Dried Blackberries from North Bay
The blackberries had more blackberry taste than the blueberries had blueberry taste. Also, the blackberries were less mushy than the blueberries. I cannot say that I liked them but I would eat them over steamed broccoli. Eric was not a fan of them but he is not a real fan of blackberries to begin with. He did feel the same I did about the taste and thought they did a better job of rehydrating than both the raspberries and blueberries.
... and rehydrated
Freeze Dried Cranberries from North Bay
We only posted one picture of the Cranberries here. We could not tell the difference between the freeze dried and the rehydrated picture. Looking at this right now we are not even sure which one this is.
The cranberries held the tartness of fresh cranberries. In fact, I thought the cranberries were more true to their taste than any of the others.
It was quite disappointing. I had no idea that so much of the flavor of food was in the water content and the freeze-drying process just sucks it out. Now, don't get me wrong. If bad times came along, Eric and I would gladly eat and appreciate this food source. We are disappointed because we wanted a way to store and rotate through food stock. This is not the food I want to rotate.
I also made some fruit smoothies with the ground powder left over from the spritz drinks. I use plain greek yogurt and fruit with a splash of milk or almond milk, crushed ice and a pinch of stevia. These were incredibly bland. I like to taste the berry when I have a smoothie - this did not happen. I added more powder but that did not help. I was eating colored, crunchy greek yogurt not a mixed berry smoothie. Another disappointment.
I was disappointed with most of these fruits. I was expecting these to have both a consistency and taste that was a little closer to fresh fruit.
I think the blackberries and the cranberries held up the best in the taste and rehydration departments. I would certainly consider buying more of these for WTSHTF or TEOTWAWKI as the preppers like to say.
I liked the spritzer drink with the raspberries. I can see buying more of these fruits for drinks, but like Kate said I would not buy these for the purpose of rotating through the stock. Freeze dried fruits are supposed to last up to 25 years in properly sealed and stored. And, given the crazy times we are about to face with Trump in charge who knows, we might actually get to TEOTWAWKI.
We have a lot more fruit to test, so be on the lookout for Freeze-dried Fruits Part 2.