Baking can be fun for the whole family. For many, it is a family tradition that involves many recipes that have been passed down through the generations. Times are changing and baking is somewhat different than in years gone by. We have several more options at our disposal that will allow us to bake our family favorites all year long, even when our favorite fruits are out of season. At Big Nest, we offer a variety of unsweetened, no-sugar-added, dried fruits all year long so that you can enjoy your favorite dishes any time of year.
1. Soak Dried Fruits First
If you are using a recipe that has a lot of liquid, it’s important to remember that dried fruits will soak most of it up. Using a recipe that contains more dry ingredients will prevent the fruit from plumping up. Either way, your finished dish won’t be as moist as you want it to be. If you are planning on using dried fruits, it may be a good idea to soak them first. Dried fruits can lose up to 75% of their volume during the drying process. Once they are mixed with the other ingredients they will begin to reabsorb the moisture around them. You can prevent this from happening if you soak your dried fruits for an hour or so before using them.
2. Use Less
Remember, if you use a recipe that already calls for dried fruit, like raisins or cranberries, the recipe has already been adjusted to account for the lack of moisture. If you plan on using dried fruit in a dish that calls for fresh, you will need to determine how to adjust the amounts on your own. A recipe that calls for one cup of fresh blueberries will be reduced to ¼ cup of dried fruit. Even if you don’t let the mixture set very long before baking, the dried fruits will still absorb liquid during the baking process. Soaking your fruits first will provide you with the most accurate measurements.
3. Watch the Flavor
When using dried fruits, you have to think about the amount that you are using. ¼ cup of dried fruit will have all of the flavor, nutrients, and calories as one cup of fresh. Just because they are smaller, it doesn’t mean that everything is smaller. The only difference between dehydrated or dried fruit and fresh is the amount of moisture or liquid they contain. Rehydrating them will give you a good idea of how much water has been removed in the drying process.