Dried Fruit: Good or Bad?

During the cold winter months, the availability of fresh fruit may be more limited. This is the perfect time to grab for dried varieties – or is it?
During the cold winter months, the availability of fresh fruit may be more limited. This is the perfect time to grab for dried varieties -- or is it?
Good?

USDA's MyPlate recommends 1½ to 2 cups of fruit each day. Fresh, canned and dried fruit can all be counted towards the recommended daily dose of fruit, but it's the portion that matters.

Portions can get a little confusing, especially when it comes to dried varieties. Dried fruit is more condensed than fresh due to the removal of water. For that reason, ½ cup of dried varieties counts as 1 cup of fruit.

Dried fruits contain a nice amount of minerals, phytonutrients and fiber (the exact amounts depend on the type of fruit).

Dried fruit is portable (making it a handy snack) and versatile in cooking. Toss raisins and dried apricots together with almonds and whole-grain cereal for a quick and easy trail mix. Fold dried plums (aka prunes) or cranberries (or both!) into a batter of cookies, scones or bread. Add dried blueberries to morning oatmeal or sprinkle dried cherries over a spinach salad.

Bad?

The method of drying depends on the type of fruit. When some fruit are dried, sulfur dioxide is added to help prevent discoloration. The chemical has been known to cause severe reactions in people sensitive to it, especially asthmatics. Sulfur dioxide also destroys some of the B vitamin thiamin. Although many fruits do contain sulfur dioxide, you can also find versions without at some markets or online.

Drying also destroys other B vitamins and vitamin C, some of which leach out during the process. Some dried fruits contain added sugar, while other varieties (such as banana) are fried. Read the ingredient list to make sure you're purchasing dried fruit without unhealthy add-ins.

The Bottom Line: Dried fruit can absolutely be part of your daily dose of fruit. Be mindful of portions and avoid dried fruit made with chemicals, preservatives and added fat and sugar.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »

Keep Reading

Next Up

Dried Fruit 5 Ways

During the winter, fresh fruits are limited in many parts of the country. Luckily, we can turn to dried fruit with all its nutritional goodness.

Bring On the Dried Fruit

The end of winter is always the time when I want some new fruit! I love the apples and citrus that are available at the market, but I need a change. That’s when I turned to the dried stuff and look for ways to experiment with them in dishes.

Fun with Freeze-Dried Fruit

Learn why Food Network Kitchens loves to used freeze dried fruit in its recipes!

Win These Freeze-Dried Fruit Snacks!

We’re giving away one 6-pack of each Crispy Fruit flavor and two bags of each FruitziO flavor to two lucky, randomly selected commenters.

Win These Freeze-Dried Fruit Snacks!

We’re giving away 12 bags of goVida (four of each flavor) to two lucky, randomly-selected commenters.

Fruit Juice: Good or Bad?

Love chugging orange juice at breakfast? You’re not alone. Many people are downing hundreds of calories of fruit juice. Even if it’s 100% fruit juice, this liquid stuff should not be an integral part of any diet and here’s why.

Canned Fruit: Good or Bad?

With the availability of fresh fruit dwindling as the cold weather sets in, canned varieties can be a healthy alternative. But not all canned varieties are created equal.

Nutrition News: How Healthy Is Dried Fruit? Plus, Mediterranean Diet Under Fire; Antibiotics and Childhood Obesity

Should the Mediterranean diet be redefined? Plus: Antibiotics and kids' weight — and dried fruit, considered.

Using Fresh and Dried Herbs

Can you use dried herbs instead of fresh?

Healthy Money-Saver: Dried Beans

Swap chicken or fish for dried beans once or twice a week — you'll save money, take in fewer calories and enjoy beans' many nutritional benefits.