There are many ways to enjoy our fruits and veggies.
Raw or cooked. Whole or sliced. As a main ingredient or as a side. As a meal or as a snack. As is or freeze-dried.
Freeze-dried? Yes, and you’d be surprised at how good freeze-dried fruits and veggies can be.
Just ask Karen, the founder of Gracious Goodness. Based in Singapore, Gracious Goodness is a brand of single-ingredient, all-natural freeze-dried snacks that are also gluten-free and non-GMO.
Their freeze-dried products include fruits like strawberry, banana and durian, and veggies like broccoli and okra. They also offer freeze-dried foods in powder form, like tomato, sweet potato and pumpkin.
“Gracious Goodness freeze-dried fruits and veggies have no added sugar and are never fried,” she says. And aside from not having any oil, they do not contain salt or preservatives either. “Our snacks taste clean and do not have an oily after-taste.”
What is freeze drying?
In case you’re not familiar with the method, Karen explains what it is – and what it does to our fruits and veggies.
“Freeze drying is the process of removing moisture from frozen food (fruits, veggies, meat, liquids, etc) through low heat within a vacuum chamber,” she begins.
“This process will convert the frozen or crystallised liquids into gas directly. This is also known as sublimation.
“What’s left is a lightweight, crunchy product that retains most of the nutrients and vitamins,” she concludes, adding that up to 98 per cent of these nutrients and vitamins are preserved, along with the fruit’s or veggie’s integrity, colour and shape.
What else does Karen love about freeze drying? “Freeze drying is also a new way of adding essential nutrients to our diet. A teaspoon of freeze-dried powder usually contains more than 10 times the amount of raw produce.” She cites a teaspoon (4g) of broccoli powder being equal to 100g of raw broccoli as an example.
And that’s not all. “At Gracious Goodness, we work closely with farmers and use all produce, whether they are beautiful or ugly, minimising wastage.”
You’ve probably seen (and eaten) freeze-dried fruits and veggies packaged as snacks at your local supermarket.
But others might not have even encountered these yet, or at all. “We believe most people are not exposed to freeze-dried produce,” Karen observes.
“Most will consume them as snacks straight off the pack – which is one of the best ways, of course! But there are actually many uses for freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, especially powders. They can add a substantial amount of essential nutrients to a meal without us having to consume too much of one thing.
“Many folks are slightly hesitant to adapt new ways of adding nutrients to food,” she continues. “Freeze-dried provides convenience, storage is easy and they last longer. In fact, some freeze-dried fruits taste better (more intense) than fresh.
“Working mums, health and wellness fans have been quick to pick up and add freeze-dried snacks or powders into their meal preps. Most of the reactions have been super positive once they have tried it!”
Are you one of them?
Do you look at freeze-dried fruits and veggies mainly as quick snacks? Then you’re missing out.
Karen lists her favourite ways to use freeze-dried produce to liven up dishes and recipes. You can thank her later. 😊
#1 Add freeze-dried fruits to homemade granola or overnight oats
“It’s simple, convenient and easy to store in the fridge. Add them after adding yoghurt or milk so that the fruits remain crunchy!” she advises.
“Because Gracious Goodness freeze-dried fruits have no added sugar, it’s a great alternative for anyone who is trying to cut processed sugar from their diet.”
#2 Add freeze-dried fruits to smoothies
“Less washing! Veggie powders are great for adding to juices or smoothies too.”
#3 Add freeze-dried longans to hot tea for the natural sweetness
“Longan, when added to tea, soothes our throat and relaxes our senses.”
#4 Use freeze-dried vegetables as a healthy garnish for soups and noodle dishes
“We also love to add them into our dishes right after cooking for an extra crunch.”
#5 They add natural colouring
“Our sweet potato and pumpkin powders have been used in local favourites such as muah chee.”
#6 Add freeze-dried tomato powder to homemade hummus
“One to two teaspoons of the powder to the chickpeas mix creates great flavour.”
#7 Freeze-dried fruits or powders are great additions to salads…
“… baking, pancakes, soups, and more!”
#8 They’re also your new breakfast staples
“Add them to your yoghurt and cereals.”
#9 Add the freeze-dried veggies or powders to your toddler’s meal
“Simply add them for extra crunch and variety. We find that kids who don’t enjoy vegetables generally love the crunchy texture of freeze-dried vegetables,” she states.
Plus: “Veggie powders add an extra nutrient boost to any dish.”
For the newbies
It all sounds so good, but what if it’s our first time with freeze-dried produce?
Which ones should we try first, and how should we go about it? 😊
Karen immediately enumerates “mango, banana, pineapple, longan and okra”.
“Personally, I love the durian! They are all perfect as a pick-me-up snack, so we definitely recommend snacking on them straight off the pack,” she quips.
“We are always trying to educate folks that they can have healthy snacking options, especially for kids.” Well, this is it! 😊