Sometimes you get a craving for sweet, summery fruit in the dead of winter. But the produce section of your supermarket can look a little bleak: watery berries, white-centered strawberries, bland melon, and apples that taste more like cold storage than autumn's bounty.
Enter freeze-dried fruit to save the day. The shelf-stable item packs more of a flavor punch than dried fruit and has a crisp rather than chewy texture. Freeze-dried fruit won't take up space in your freezer and lasts longer than frozen produce, too. It can even stack up as a more affordable option than fresh fruit depending on the season and your location. A delicious snack all on its own, freeze-dried fruit can up the ante in a wide range of recipes in place of fresh or dried fruit. Try some of these favorites to make the most of your next bag.
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Homemade Muesli Bars
Instead of store-bought granola bars that often come with tons of sugar and artificial flavor, make your own chewy muesli bars at home with this easy recipe. Freeze-dried berries, mango, pineapple, or apples are a tasty addition.
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Despite their somewhat unappetizing name, rock cakes have a pebbly surface, a sweet taste, and slightly crumbly texture. They're similar to scones but instead of rolled and shaped before baking, rock cakes just get dropped onto a baking sheet like cookies. Add your choice of chopped, freeze-dried fruit for a fun flavor variation.
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Instant Pot Oatmeal
Never worry about your oatmeal boiling over again by using your Instant Pot instead of the stovetop. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to five days, or you can freeze individual portions to pull out later. Stir in freeze-dried fruit, nuts or seeds, and a little maple syrup and nut butter for a nutritious start to your day.
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Fruitcake gets a bad rap, but these fruitcake cookies will convince you to give it a second chance. While this recipe calls for a whole slew of candied fruits, their freeze-dried counterparts will also work as part or all of the fruit. The cookies also freeze well, so make a double batch and save some for later.Continue to 5 of 14 below.
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With tangy vinegar and both fresh and dried fruit, apple chutney has a chunkier texture and zippier flavor than applesauce. It pairs perfectly with pork or ham, but sometimes we just go after it with a spoon. You can slip some freeze-dried apples in here as well for additional autumnal flavor.
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Chocolate Almond Bark
One of the easiest candies out there, chocolate bark makes a great gift and easy afternoon baking project. This one has almonds and goji berries, but you can add just about any freeze-dried fruit, nuts, and candies you like to give it texture. Try raspberries for a sweet and tart addition to the sweet, rich chocolate.
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Wild Rice Stuffing
A Thanksgiving classic, wild rice stuffing makes a hearty and healthy side dish any time of year. Toss in some freeze-dried cranberries, apricots, or even mango to add a hint of sweetness that complements the herbs and pecans beautifully.
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British Oaty Apple Crumble
With the addition of muesli, oats, and dried fruit, this hearty crumble has more heft than the versions you may have enjoyed stateside. You can swap out some of the fresh apples for freeze-dried, or toss some into the muesli topping for more apple flavor.Continue to 9 of 14 below.
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Mixed Berry Smoothie
Start with this simple berry smoothie recipe and freestyle with your favorite freeze-dried fruits, The only limit is your imagination—and your tastebuds. Mango, papaya, and/or banana will add a bit of tropical flavor.
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Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars
Make your own version of the classic ice cream truck treat with freeze-dried strawberries, strawberry ice cream, and sugar cookies. Make your own crispy cookies or use a store-bought version for an even quicker sweet snack.
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Apricot Tart with Chocolate Tahini Ganache
For a beautiful lattice-topped dessert that takes less work than it looks, you can't go wrong with this apricot tart with chocolate tahini ganache. Sub in freeze-dried apricots when making the filling, which will also give you leftover apricot syrup for sodas, cocktail mixers, or drizzling over ice cream.
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One of the most versatile sweets out there, cowboy cookies make a great base for your favorite fillings. Start with a peanut butter oatmeal dough and add chocolate chips, chopped nuts, freeze-dried cranberries, pomegranates, or blueberries, and any other mix-ins you like.Continue to 13 of 14 below.
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Cinnamon and Date Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seeds magically turn into a thick pudding consistency when hydrated for an easy and nutritious breakfast or snack. This easy chia seed pudding features cinnamon and dates but tastes great when topped with freeze-dried berries, mango, papaya, or your favorite fruits.
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Red Cabbage and Apple Salad
Dried fruit doesn't just work in desserts. This sweet and tangy salad uses cabbage, fresh apples, dried cranberries, and toasted nuts for a lovely crunchy side. Try swapping the dried fruit for freeze-dried cranberries for a different texture, or even include some chopped freeze-dried apples. A mustard, honey, and vinegar dressing ties it all together. Try it as a side for pork chops, ham, or sausages.