When fresh fruit isn't readily available, dried fruit is another way to obtain sunshine in a package.
Concentrated in taste, dried fruit is also concentrated in nutrients. For example, about one-fourth of a cup of dried cherries has about 20 percent of your vitamin A needs and 4 percent of your daily iron.
We found a dried-plum (formerly known as prune) product, produced by Mariani Packing Co., called "Premium Pitted Prunes Plus," which contains 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, 20 percent of vitamin B-6, 20 percent of vitamin B-12, 20 percent of vitamin E and 20 percent of iron, all from a one-fourth cup serving.
Dried fruit is higher in carbohydrate calories than fresh fruit because it is concentrated. But dried blueberries contain natural products that may help with eye health; raisins and dried plums are a good source of iron. Dried apricots, peaches and nectarines have potassium, and all dried fruit is a source of fiber.
Find your favorite and toss it into hot or cold cereal.
Keep a bag in your briefcase or knapsack for fast energy and refreshment. If you're creating a smoothie, toss in some dried fruit for sweetness and texture. Sneak a hint of sweetness into your green salad with slivered apricots, peaches, cranberries or raisins. Add dates, figs and dried berries to your evening dish of ice cream or frozen yogurt.
Making edible presents? Add dried fruit to zucchini or banana bread, carrot cake or oatmeal cookies. Dried fruit has a long shelf life, if stored in airtight containers, in a cool, dry place.