15 Ways to Use Dried Fruit in Your Kitchen

Update: 7/31/2020

Using dried fruit is not only delicious, but can also help you reduce food waste

There’s more to the world of dried fruit than those little boxes of raisins from elementary school lunches. Currently in my kitchen, I have stashes of dried mangos, cranberries, apples, and dates, but there are so many other kinds of delicious fruits to explore like dried mandarin oranges, banana chips, and dried papaya spears.

It is estimated that 80% of food waste comes from perishable foods, which includes fruits and vegetables, and while you do not want to hold onto a bag of dried apples for years, it is definitely going to last longer than fresh fruit and can help you waste less produce. You can also dry your own fruit at home — even without a dehydrator — so that you do not let extra produce end up in the trash.

Historically, dried fruits were always dried in the sun, but now many different methods are used and you can find candied fruit, dehydrated fruit, and freeze-dried fruit right alongside the traditional dried fruit at the grocery store. These different shelf-stable fruit options provide even more creative ways you can incorporate dried fruit into your breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts.

  1. Cranberry orange scones are often made with fresh or frozen cranberries, but in this recipe dried cranberries take center stage.
  2. Trail mix is a great way to use different kinds of dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and of course chocolate chips.
  3. No-bake cookies are an easy snack that only require a few basic, shelf-stable ingredients.
  4. Samin Nostrat’s recipe for jeweled rice is a labor of love, but completely worth it.
  5. If you’ve been able to get your hands on some yeast, cinnamon raisin bread is a worthy use of that precious commodity.
  6. This apple cake recipe uses dried apples and applesauce in lieu of fresh apples and still achieves a rich, delicious flavor.
  7. A simple kale salad is elevated with the use of dried fruit.
  8. These decadent truffles are made using a vegan salted caramel that is actually made from dates.
  9. Any bowl of oatmeal or vegan yogurt is vastly improved with the addition of dried fruits like cranberries, golden raisins, and apricots.
  10. This flexible rainbow quinoa salad can be made using dried fruits including apricots, raisins, cranberries, figs, and currants.
  11. You don’t need fresh fruit to make a delicious compote or even a summery jam — dried fruit will do the trick!
  12. Dates are a great ingredient for smoothies like this vanilla date smoothie.
  13. Dried fruits like apricots can be used to make a simple syrup for cocktails or sodas.
  14. If you’re a fan of Larabars, you can actually use dried fruit to make your own at home.
  15. This recipe for chocolate-dipped dried oranges is so reminiscent of those classic chocolate oranges you may never go back.
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