What it is: Freeze-dried Fuji apples
Bonnie: Many of my product discoveries are from research for other media outlets. And that’s how I found these dehydrated slices of fruit. I was looking for products for my supermarket shopper’s column in Better Homes & Gardens’ special Diet issue and reached out to food public relations professionals.
One suggested a new freeze-dried 100 percent natural peach crisp, just added to Brothers-All-Natural line of fruit crisps. I was a bit leery, as I had previously sampled some horrid stuff, but I said sure. And I suggested she also send what she thought was the best-tasting variety in their line.
I’m glad I tested the Fuji apple slices first, as they are a Bite of the Best. I might not have kept trying them had I tried any one of the others first. I was surprised as I put a slice of dried apple in my mouth; surprised at how – after reconstituting with the saliva in my mouth – it tasted like a real Fuji apple. And one bagful contains a mere 39 calories.
The slices tasted so good, I was sad when the bag was empty. I’d prefer the servings a bit bigger – but was told that the bags are tiny “because when exposed to air more than 40 minutes, the texture changes.”
Forty minutes? These tasty morsels won’t last that long. But hey, Brothers-All-Natural, how about making one a bit bigger? A 100-calorie bag perhaps?
Bryan: Dried plums made an appearance a while back on Bite of the Best and that’s when my affinity for dried fruit was established. Banana chips, dried apricots, Craisins and more; fruit provides a truly healthy snack in a world of sugar, salt and fat.
Apples were a particularly popular staple growing up in New England. We had an annual apple-picking tradition at a friend’s orchard nearby, enjoying the wide selection of local varieties: Macoun, McIntosh, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Fuji. I thought I had tried most of the dizzying array of apple dishes out there: pies, turnovers, and fritters; breads, muffins, pancakes, and ciders; candy-coated, caramel-covered, battered and deep-fried. I’ve done it all—that is until I was introduced to Brothers-All-Natural Fuji Apple Fruit Crisps. Brothers has experimented with a few different fruits (Asian Pears among them), but their real success is with Fuji apples.
Though I would call myself a dried fruit aficionado, I’m a freeze-dried fruit novice. I initially starting crunching away, not really enjoying these dry, oddly textured chips. I almost put them down before slowing a bit to really try and taste them. Given an extra second or two in my mouth, the apple chips found new life and slowly transformed back into juicy apple slices with the help of my saliva. I realized that it’s not really dried fruit, it’s dehydrated fruit, fruit that can regain its moist, flavorful essence right on your tongue.
This is a snack that is worth at least a first try. You will not likely find me pairing apple crisps with a turkey sandwich for lunch, but could you find it in my desk drawer for a mid-day snack? Absolutely.
Eric: I recently received a package of these dehydrated apples and was eager to rip-open a bag and try what my mother had been raving about. I had really never tasted an apple in such a form, perfectly dehydrated and still crispy, and my first instinct was to savor the bag as I would savor each bite of an orchard-fresh apple. The taste is powerful and the texture unique. The only downside is the absence of enough product in each bag. These would be an ideal replacement for chips or cookies, and a healthy alternative to any snack.
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