An extraordinarily friendly woman I check out with almost everytime I take a run through BJ’s Wholesale Club in Northborough, MA, noticed a bag of mixed dried fruit along with containers of fresh fruit in my shopping cart and asked, “What’s better for you, dried or fresh fruit? I’ve tried looking it up online, but I can’t find a good answer.”
Bottom line: fresh fruit is by far better for the following three reasons:
- vitamin and nutrient content in dried fruit is diminished through the fruit drying process, more so when that fruit is dried more aggressively commercially instead of more gently dried at home either in the oven or in a food drier
- ounce for ounce, dried fruit contains more sugar and calories than fresh fruit (that makes sense as most of the weight in fresh fruit is water, and that water is removed through rapid evaporation when the fruit is dried leaving only the fruit flesh behind)
- though fresh fruit may not be free of chemicals due to pesticide use depending how that fruit is grown, fresh fruit does not contain preservatives the way some fresh fruits do to enhance color and shelf life
My favorite resource regarding food nutrition and practical food preparation the World’s Healthiest Foods site. Click the picture below for a link to their site, and take a look at the concise fresh fruit vs. dried fruit nutrition table below. Notice also that that table compares equal volumes (1 cup) of fresh and dried fruits (apricots in this case), which makes it very easy to see the significant nutritional difference between the fresh and dried forms of that fruit.
Finally, I love the chew and rich flavor of dried fruit, which I like to combine – in moderation – with fresh fruit just as I did this morning as shown in the picture below of the breakfast I had while writing this article.