Working with different ingredients is always interesting and working with something totally new to us often presents a challenge. Freeze dried fruit is something that I only started using when I began my healthy journey around seven years ago. Before this I had never used a freeze dried fruit powder or eaten a freeze dried fruit snack in my life! Turning to a healthier plant based diet opened my eyes to the world of health foods and the magnificent ingredients that can be discovered.
Many people question what they’ll eat if they go vegan or start to cut out their well-known mainstream foods, but for me it’s opened up a whole new world of much more interesting, tasty, unique and healthier foods. Foods I never knew existed before I started looking for them. Turning to a wholefoods lifestyle and cutting out all animal products whilst focussing on superfoods has given me a chance to play around with ingredients I never knew existed and create exciting new recipes.
Freeze dried ingredients, such as different varieties of berries and fruits provide a lot of new and creative ways to use some of your favourite tastes in different recipes. While using them as a topping or stirring them into your favourite recipes is an easy and effective way to use them, there are some more unusual options you could consider.
Here are three ways to use freeze dried fruits in your vegan baking, cooking and recipes:
It might sound odd buying powdered fruit or grinding freeze dried fruit into a powder, but it means you can inject flavour into dishes in places that you wouldn’t normally expect to.
For example, when making a vegan base for a cheesecake try stirring some crushed-up berries into the mixture before pressing it into your tin and setting it in the fridge. There are some amazing vegan cheesecake recipes online that use nuts, dates and coconut for the base. By adding a fruit powder you can potentially colour the base to make it more interesting, add some extra fruity flavour and even boost the vitamin content!
Of course when you’ve made your amazing plant based cheesecake you can decorate it with some amazing freeze dried berries on the top for a divine and Instagram worthy look.
As a flavour boost
Freeze-dried fruit can have a much stronger and more concentrated flavour. This is because the drying process removes moisture from the fruit which then causes the flavouring to become more intense.
This makes them a perfect choice for adding vibrant colour and bold flavour to smoothies without affecting the texture. Due to being dried, when you blend the smoothie the fruit will break up and soften. This technique also works if you want to try and sneak extra fruit into mylkshakes for the kids. My kids get so excited when we make homemade smoothies and mylkshakes and the bonus is they’re stuffed full of fruit and/or veg!
A tip is to choose a powdered variety to make blending into smoothies even quicker and easier. Just one or two scoops of a freeze dried fruit powder such as raspberry mixed with a banana and your favourite plant based mylk will satisfy any sweet craving or even be substantial enough for a meal in itself such as breakfast. Freeze your bananas beforehand and then you’ll be able to create frozen mylkshakes – an absolute winner with the kids again, especially in the summer.
A professional finish
Freeze-dried fruit also provides a great way to keep the look of a recipe consistent. For example, when creating recipes with fresh fruit that needs mixing into other ingredients, such as muffins, the taste and texture can vary greatly depending on how much juice is in each fruit. The colour and consistency can also change as no two fresh fruits are ever identical.
Freeze-dried fruit doesn’t have the same issues as all the juice has been removed. It will simply rehydrate using the moisture present in the muffin mix while cooking. This means there’s less change in the consistency of the dough and more control over the texture of the muffins. The lack of moisture in the fruit also means there’s less juice to bleed into your muffin mix, meaning you don’t get drastic changes in colour.
The consistency this provides means you can be more confident in what you produce, knowing that you aren’t going to wind up with something that look unappetising or doesn’t have the right texture. Every muffin should look, taste and feel the same.
Freeze-dried ingredients can be a bit intimidating if you haven’t used them before; there’s a lot of temptation to simply treat them like a fresh ingredient or use them in very simplistic ways. However because of the way they are preserved they allow you to be much more experimental. This ability to just play around and see what new and interesting dishes you can come up with is a fantastic way to make cooking feel fun and exciting again and allow you to transform the way you potentially look at food.
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