The Winter Fresh Fruit Blues
I do not know if any of you experience this, but I always get the blues when I go to the grocery store this time of year because I do not feel that there is enough variety of fresh fruit. In Ohio it can get cold (lately we have had temperatures below 0 degrees) which means we do not have a year round growing season. The summer is great with all the locally grown fruits and vegetables, but this time of year I may be able to purchase berries and other fruits, but they are just not as good and more expensive because they are not in season. Also, many times the fruits have been shipped a long distance and in that process nutrients are lost. That is why sometimes I think it is better to get some fruits that have been preserved. I admire those who already have a stockpile of home canned and home frozen fruits from a summer harvest, but many do not have this as an option. Below are some ideas for how I battle the fresh fruit blues and I hope you find them helpful too.
I do purchase canned fruit, but I make sure it is packed in its own juices rather than heavy syrup. Some of my favorite canned fruits are: Mandarin Oranges, Pineapple, Peaches, Pears, Natural Unsweetened Applesauce
Frozen fruit can be an excellent alternative this time of year when fresh fruit is not as plentiful. A consumer needs to make sure that the frozen fruit does not have any added sugar. Frozen fruit can be used to make smoothies and this can be a good way to increase the fruit intake of your family this time of year. The frozen fruits can also be added to sauces, baked goods, and pancakes/waffles. Good ideas for frozen fruit are: Strawberries, Mixed berries, Cherries, Peaches, Pineapple, Mangoes, Raspberries, Blueberries, Black Berries
Freeze Dried Fruit:
Freeze drying is a method of preserving fruit in which the fruit is frozen quickly and the water is removed. The fruit is then vacuum packed. It is an old method of preserving fruit as it allowed for long term storage. Freeze dried fruit is crunchy and sweet, which attracts kids. Some of the freeze-dried fruits my family has tried include: Strawberries, Raspberries, Apples, Peaches and Bananas
Dried fruit is also a way to include fruit in your diet when the fresh selection is not as plentiful. When purchasing dried fruit make sure there is minimal sugar added. If a package says no sugar added, read the ingredients as this could mean artificial sweeteners have been added instead of sugar. Some are fine with the use of artificial sweeteners, but others may find the taste off or not tolerate the artificial sweetener. Examples of common dried fruits include: Raisins, Cranberries, Blueberries, Peaches, Cherries, Apricots, Plums, Dates
Below is a comparison chart compiled looking at different preparations of peaches*.
|Type||Fresh Peach||Freeze-Dried Peaches||Dried Peaches||Frozen Peaches||Canned Peaches in 100% juice|
|Amount||1 medium||34 grams||½ cup||1 cup||½ cup, drained|
|Total Sugars grams||13||18||22||21||13+|
|Added Sugar||0||0||0||Not stated||Not stated|
|Vitamin C, mg||10||15||5||9-11||5|
|Ingredients||Peach||Most brands contain only peaches. Some may contain other ingredients to maintain freshness.||May contain peaches and Sulphur dioxide and the amount of sugar added can vary depending upon brand||Varies depending upon brand. The best is one that contains only peaches.||Peaches, Peach Juice, Pear Juice, Natural Flavor, and Ascorbic Acid|
In the age of the clean food/real food movement people may think that if it is not fresh fruit then it should not be included in the diet. Overall, fresh fruit is a good to include in your diet, but canned, frozen, freeze dried, or dried fruits can help one meet their daily need for fruits during times of the year when fresh fruit is not as plentiful.
*The table was created with information from food-a-pedia on supertracker.gov, USDA nutrient database, www.sparkpeople.com, and labels from the Del Monte Corporation and Aldi foods incorporated. The new food label requiring that the added sugars be listed is not required for food labeling, which is why the information on added sugars is not available for all products. The amount of nutrients will vary based on brands. Look at portion sizes carefully on packages as the portions in the comparison chart are not equal.