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Originally published in the Journal de Montréal on April 4, 2009.
Dehydration is one of the oldest food preservation techniques. Once our ancestors observed that fruits left hanging on the branches remained edible, they started to deliberately dry fruits in the sun. This was done in order to preserve them for the winter.
Dried fruits contain around 3 times less water than their fresh counterparts. This makes their nutrients more concentrated. Not only that, they in fact contain 4 to 5 times more nutrients than when they are fresh, making them highly energizing. The energy they provide is immediately made available, because their carbohydrates metabolize rapidly, making them the ideal snacks for all hikers.
Whether you buy dried fruit in bulk or pre-packaged, make sure that they look healthy and don’t have any marks or mould on them. They should be kept in an airtight container and can last for at least 6 to 8 months in a cool dry place, away from sunlight. They can also be frozen.
Apricots, prunes, figs, dates and other dried fruits go very well with salty dishes as they lend a slightly sweet and exotic flavor to food. Try our Chicken with Dried Fruits, which is simply mouthwatering.