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Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is a terrific snack, but cooks also use it in everything from muffins to stews.  Drying has the obvious advantage of letting us enjoy our favorite fruit when it's out of season, but it also serves to concentrate the fruit's flavor and sugar.  Since high concentrations of sugar ward off bacteria, dried fruit can last up to a year without refrigeration.   If you live in a hot, dry climate, you can dry fruit just by leaving it out in the sun for a few days.  If not, you can use an oven or dehydrator.  Sulfur dioxide is sometimes added to the fruit to improve its shelf life and color.  If you're allergic to it, you can usually find unsulfured dried fruit at health food stores.  In a pinch, you can remove some of the sulfur by boiling treated dried fruit for a minute or so, then draining off the liquid.

Substitutes:  nuts 


apple, dried   Notes:  These are popular additions to trail mixes.  They're often treated with sulfur to improve their color and shelf life.   Substitutes:  dried pear


apricot, dried  Notes:  Turkish dried apricots are lighter in color and milder in flavor than other varieties.  They're often treated with sulfur to improve their color and shelf life.   Substitutes:  dried peach OR dried nectarines OR dried tomatoes


dried apricot paste = qamar el-deen = ameerdine  Notes:   People in the Middle East usually make a drink out of this fruit leather by putting it into boiling water.  During Ramadan, it's often served before and after the day-long fast.  Look for it in Middle Eastern markets.

banana, dried  Notes:   These usually come in two forms:  long spears, which are very sweet and best for cooking, and chips, which are fried in oil, crunchy, and best suited for trail mixes.  Substitutes:  dried coconut OR other dried fruit


cantaloupe, dried  Notes:  These are very sweet and have an intense cantaloupe flavor.  Substitutes:  dried papaya

carrots, dried   Notes:   These are used to make muffins and cakes.


cherry, dried   Notes:  These are large and sweet, and they can serve as a refreshing alternative to raisins in many recipes.  Substitutes:   dried cranberries (not as sweet) OR raisins OR dried apricots OR currants



Chinese date = Chinese red date = red date = senjed = Chinese jujube (dried) = jujube (dried) Pronunciation:   JEW-jewb    Notes:  When fresh, these fruits are crisp like apples and have a mild, sweet flavor.  In the United States, they're most often available dried.   Substitutes:  dates (sweeter) OR dried apples OR prunes OR raisins  



Chinese jujube  See Chinese date

Chinese red date  See Chinese date

citrus peel, dried = fruit peel, dried   To make your own:   Begin with orange, lemon, tangerine, or grapefruit peels, scrape off and discard as much of the bitter white pith as possible, and dry what's left in the sun until hard.  Substitutes:  grated zest from a fresh peel (Fresh peels are better than dried peels since they have more aromatic oils.)


coconut, grated  Notes:   Bags of grated coconuts are usually stored among the baking supplies in larger markets.  Varieties include dried or desiccated coconut, flaked, angel flake, moist, sweetened and unsweetened, toasted and untoasted, and  macaroon coconut.   To make your own:  To grate, peel off the brown skin, then grate the white flesh with a grater, food processor, or vegetable peeler.  To toast, spread unsweetened grated coconut on a baking sheet and bake in a 350F oven until coconut is golden (about 5 minutes)  Substitutes:  chopped nuts 

Craisins  See cranberries, dried.


cranberries, dried   Notes:    With their flashy color and tangy flavor, dried cranberries are a good alternative to raisins in many recipes.  Craisins is a well-known brand.  Substitutes:  raisins (not as tart) OR dried cherries OR currants


currants = Zante currants = Zante raisins = dried Corinth grapes   Notes:  These dried Zante grapes look like tiny raisins.  Don't confuse them with the fresh sour berry that also called a currant.   Substitutes:  raisins (larger) OR golden raisins (for baking)  

date, dried   Notes:  If you plan to chop them, look for cooking dates, date pieces, or pressed dates--they're a lot cheaper than the exquisite dessert dates that are intended to be eaten whole.  Substitutes:  dried figs OR raisins OR fresh dates (crunchier and not as sweet) 

fig, dried  Notes:   These are a great source of calcium.  Varieties include the black mission fig, the highly regarded Calimyrna fig (pictured at right), and the juicy green figSubstitutes:  raisins (milder) OR prunes

ghora angur   See sumac berries 


golden raisin = Sultana  Notes:  These are more tart than ordinary raisins.   Substitutes:  raisins (Ordinary raisins are darker, but very similar to golden raisins.) OR muscat raisins (These are larger and sweeter than golden raisins.) OR currants (smaller) OR dried apricots 

jujube  See Chinese date.


kokum = kokum ful = cocum   Notes:  This Indian souring agent is made from dried mangosteen peels.  It's often used in fish dishes.   Look for it in Indian markets.  Substitutes:  tamarind paste (Substitute one teaspoon for every piece of kokum call for in recipe.)

leechee nut  See litchi nut.

lichee nut  See litchi nut

lichi nut  See litchi nut

litchi nut = lychee nut = lichee nut = lichi nut = leechee nut   Notes:  These are sun-dried litchis.  The outer shells are brown and the meat inside looks like a large raisin.  Look for them in Asian markets.   Substitutes:  prunes (not as crunchy) OR cashews   

lychee nut  See litchi nut


mango, dried   Notes:  These are sometimes coated with sugar.  Substitutes:  dried papaya


mulberries, dried = toot  Notes:  These are the size of large raisins, and they taste like very dry figs.  Look for them in Middle Eastern markets.  

muscat raisins  Notes:   These are large and very sweet.  Substitutes:  raisins (smaller and less sweet) OR golden raisins (golden color, smaller, more tart) OR dried dates   


nectarines, dried  Notes:   These are similar to dried peaches, but often a bit more expensive.  They're often treated with sulfur.  Substitutes:  dried peaches OR dried apricots

papaya, dried  Notes:  These are sometimes coated with sugar.  Substitutes:  dried cantaloupe OR dried mango


peach, dried   Notes:   These are similar to dried apricots, only larger and milder. They're often treated with sulfur.  Substitutes:  dried nectarines OR dried apricots

pear, dried  Notes:   These don't have the cloying sweetness of some dried fruits.  They're often gassed with sulfur dioxide in the drying process in order to improve their color and shelf life.  Substitutes:  dried apples

persimmon, dried   Substitutes:  other dried fruit


pineapple, dried   Notes:  These are sometimes coated with sugar.  Substitutes:  dried papaya OR dried mango


plum, dried  See prune.


prune = dried plum   Notes:   In a marketing makeover, producers are starting to call these dried plums instead of prunes.  Whatever you call them, they're sweet and just loaded with dietary fiber, iron, and other nutrients.  You can eat them whole, chop them into sauces and stews, or make a compote out of them.   Substitutes:  raisins OR dried figs


raisins = dried grapes   Notes:  The common raisins we see on supermarket shelves are usually dried Thompson seedless grapes.  Golden raisins are amber in color and somewhat tart--many cooks prefer them over ordinary raisins for baking and cooking.  Muscat raisins are dark and very sweet, and they work well in fruitcakes. Currants are about one-quarter the size of ordinary raisins, and are typically used in baked goods.  Store raisins in the refrigerator after you open the package.   Substitutes:   prunes OR dried cranberries OR dried apricots OR dried dates OR dried cherries OR chocolate chips OR nuts OR dried figs (stronger flavor)   

red date  See Chinese date

senjed  See Chinese date

somagh  See sumac berries.

sour prunes   Notes:  Look for these in Middle Eastern markets.  Substitutes:  Soak ordinary prunes in vinegar overnight. OR tamarind paste

strawberries, dried  Notes:  These are sweet and chewy, and they're great in trail mixes or granola.  Substitutes:  dried cherries

sun-dried tomatoes = dried tomatoes   Notes:  Dried tomatoes have a richer, more concentrated flavor than ordinary tomatoes.  They're great for snacking, or tossing in salads or sauces or on pizzas.  Dried tomatoes usually come either dry or packed in oil.  If they're hard and dry, steep them in boiling water for about 5 minutes before using them.   Substitutes:  tomato paste (in sauces)

Zante currants  See currant

Zante raisins  See currant.


Copyright 1996-2005  Lori Alden