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DRIED FOODS

Dehydrating food is a great way to preserve it without additives.  Nonetheless, many commercial dried food products contain additives to further maintain "freshness" or colour.  Using dried foods in cooking and for snacks opens worlds of possibilities for preparing real food at home, as long as you're careful about the products you choose.

Dried fruit, seeds and nuts are a great source of nutrients and healthy fats, as long as they are unprocessed and without additives. Most whole raw seeds and nuts don't have additives, but many roasted nuts and dried fruits (especially cranberries, apricots and mango) can be hard to find without additives.

Dried beans and lentils are usually free of additives.  However, the herbicide Round-Up is often applied to conventional legume crops before harvesting.  Choosing organic products is the easiest way to know that you are avoiding products that have been treated with Round-Up.

Dried mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes can add tonnes of flavor to recipes, in part due to their relatively high content of natural glutamate.  For more information about the difference between natural and processed free glutamate, please see here.  

Here are some of my favorite additive-free dried foods.

Fruit and Nuts:

Other:

Natural Delights Medjool Dates

Ingredients: MEDJOOL DATES

These dates are melt-in-your-mouth sweet without any additives or added sugar.  Delicious on their own and awesome in recipes.

Sun-Maid Raisins

Ingredients: CALIFORNIA SEEDLESS RAISINS

Not organic but if that's not so important to you, these are the best!

PC Organics Jumbo Raisins

Ingredients: ORGANIC SEEDLESS RAISINS, ORGANIC CANOLA AND/OR SUNFLOWER OIL

Big juicy organic raisins!  There are lots of brands of organic raisins without additives but I'm including these ones here because they're a little different.

Central Roast Dried Cranberries

Ingredients: CRANBERRIES, APPLE JUICE CONCENTRATE, SUNFLOWER OIL, CAMU POWDER.

These dried cranberries taste just like standard dried cranberries, but with apple juice concentrate as a sweetener rather than sugar.  They are drier than the Patience dried cranberries so I use them more for baking and salads than snacking (although they are delicious as a snack as well!)  These cranberries have camu powder added, which is an excellent natural source of vitamin C.

Patience Apple-Juice Sweetened Dried Cranberries

Ingredients: ORGANIC CRANBERRIES, ORGANIC APPLE JUICE CONCENTRATE, ORGANIC SUNFLOWER OIL (LESS THAN 1%)

These cranberries are delicious and super-juicy.  They do have added sugar in the form of apple juice concentrate (if you've ever tried dried cranberries without any added sugar you will understand why they need to be sweetened).  Note: make sure to check the package because Patience makes other dried cranberries that are sweetened with sugar and the packaging is very similar.

Central Roast Organic Pitted Prunes

Ingredients: *PRUNES (*ORGANIC)

If you love prunes you will love these.  I like having them on hand for the kids and when they were babies I found it really convenient to mash one into their cereal as needed.

Made in Nature Mangoes

Ingredients: ORGANIC DRIED MANGO SLICES

These mango slices are awesome, one of my favorite foods!

Let's Do Organic Dried Coconut

Ingredients: ORGANIC COCONUT (SHREDDED AND DEHYDRATED)

Pure unsweetened dried shredded coconut with no additives (unlike most other brands of dried coconut which contain sulfites). Once opened it keeps well in the freezer so you have it on hand anytime!

Central Roast Raw Almonds

Ingredients: ALMONDS

Great almonds that also come in larger 1kg bags - especially useful if you are into making your own nut milk or if you just love almonds!

Wonderful Roasted Salted Almonds

Ingredients: ROASTED ALMONDS, SALT

These almonds are delicious for snacking.  If you're a fan of raisins, mix them with these almonds for a perfectly salty and sweet trail mix.

Wonderful Pistachios - Roasted and Salted

Ingredients: PISTACHIOS, SEA SALT

These pistachios are perfect for a salty snack without additives.  Make sure you pick up the right package though - while the salted variety just have salt added, the salt and pepper variety actually contains 3 forms of added sugar and 2 sources of hidden processed free glutamate.

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Oak Manor Grains, Seeds and Beans

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Oak Manor has a great variety of dried organic beans, lentils, grains and seeds.  If you're looking for a one-stop shop for delicious organic grains, beans and cereals, this is it!

Prana Organic Sundried Tomatoes

Ingredients: ORGANIC TOMATOES, SALT

Sun-dried tomatoes are a great way to add a distinctive flavor to a wide variety of dishes!  These ones are organic and additive-free.  If you're not inclined to buy organic, there are other sun-dried tomatoes without additives (Derlea is one that we have tried and liked).

Rooster Dried Shiitake Mushrooms

Ingredients: DRIED SHIITAKE FLOWER MUSHROOMS

Most brands of dried mushrooms that we have found do not contain additives; this is one example.  They are a great way to add flavor to a wide variety of dishes.  They are relatively high in naturally-occurring free glutamate which adds umami without the negative effects of processed free glutamate (see here for more information).  Click the photo for more information about how to use dried shiitake mushrooms in cooking.

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