Dried fruit is an excellent and healthy snack that can last on your shelf for much longer than fresh fruit. This longer shelf life makes dried fruit an adaptable snack and a great treat to have on camping trips, long car rides, and in packed lunches.
Dried fruit lasts much longer than regular fruit, but it also has many of the same health benefits that make fruit a desirable treat.
Thankfully, there are many different types of dried fruits on the market so you have plenty of options when choosing what dried fruit is right for you.
So, what are the 18 best and most common types of fruit? The 21 best and most common types of fruit are raisins, apricots, prunes, figs, dates, cherries, cranberries, currants, goji berries, mango, papaya, peaches, pears, pineapple, apples, kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, mandarins, and watermelon.
Keep reading to learn more about each individual dried fruit, what it actually is, how it is consumed, how to store dried fruit, and how to make it at home.
What Is Dried Fruit?
Dried fruit is fruit that has gotten a majority of its water content removed from it.
This can happen through sun drying, which is considered the natural process, or through a more mechanical process of using a dryer or dehydrator machine.
If you want to make dried fruit at home, you can even do so in your oven.
The original fruit gets shrunk down into extremely small versions of the fruit with a very unique texture.
Depending on the fruit, once dried it becomes a bit soft and chewy and extremely easy to bite into (some dried fruit is a bit tougher than others).
Some dried fruit taste more like candy than a healthy snack as oftentimes they have sugar added to them and are coated in sugar– pineapples and mangos can often be found this way.
The most popular dried fruit out there is prunes, apricots, raisins, dates and figs.
Dried fruit is not to be confused with dehydrated fruit (also can be named freeze dried fruit), which goes through a similar drying process but ends up with a completely different texture.
Dehydrated fruit ends up being crunchy like a chip. Even more of the water is removed in this process which results in a crunchy texture.
Certain fruits only fit in one of these categories. For example, bananas cannot be dried and made soft, only dehydrated and crispy where prunes can be dried but not dehydrated or freeze dried.
How Is Dried Fruit Consumed And Used?
Dried fruit is versatile and is consumed and used in a few ways.
First and most obviously, dried fruit is often eaten by itself as a healthy snack or sweet treat. Taken right out of the bag, it is a snack that works well just on its own.
Dried fruit also is often found in trail mix or snack mixes. For example, raisins and dried pineapple are often found mixed with many different nuts to form a delicious trail mix.
Dried fruit is eaten as a part of spreads, specifically, charcuterie or cheese boards. Dried fruit pairs well with cheese and meats and can be often found on these fancy snack boards.
Dried fruit can be added to breakfast foods like yogurts, granola and cereal for added sweetness and nutrition.
Dried fruits are also added to baked goods like cakes and cookies for extra flair.
They even can be used to sweeten savory sauces like barbeque sauce.
How To Store Dry Fruit
The most important part of storing dried fruit is to make sure it is a container that is fully sealed.
Oftentimes, the package it comes in works just fine to keep it fresh in your pantry.
However, if you want extra protection, you can put your dried fruit in a big sealable plastic bag then store that in an airtight container.
Metal or glass containers work best for keeping foods fresh.
Though dried fruits have a long shelf life in a pantry or cupboard, you could store them in the refrigerator to help them last even longer.
In the pantry, dried fruit can last about 4-6 months. In the refrigerator, dried fruit can last up to 1 year.
Best Way To Purchase Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is so popular that you can buy it at almost any grocery store and now even online.
It can come in its own individual packaging or you can buy the dried fruit in bulk.
The best way to buy dried fruit, if possible, is in bulk. This produces the freshest dried fruit, but also the most cost effective as dried fruit can get expensive.
Many different health stores carry bulk dried fruit, like Sprouts or Mothers Market. You also can purchase large quantities of dried fruit from bulk stores like Costco or Sam’s Club.
How To Make Dried Fruit At Home
If you want to save even more money, try making your dried fruit at home.
You most definitely can buy a dehydrator or you can use your oven to dry your fruit yourself.
To do so in an oven, you will have to follow these specific steps:
First, remove any leaves stems, then wash to get off any excess dirt or grime.
Second, dry the fruit extremely well with a dishtowel.
Third, make sure to deseed the fruit as best as possible as most fruit seeds are inedible. The slice in extremely thin pieces.
Fourth, preheat your oven to the lowest possible temperature. While your oven preheats, arrange your fruit on a rack, then place the rack over a baking sheet.
Fifth, put your fruit in the oven from anywhere from 2-5 hours, depending on your desired consistency. Remember, you want it chewy, not too soft or crunchy.
Make sure to keep an eye on the fruit so it does not burn–you may have to flip them occasionally.
Dried Fruit Health Benefits
As dried fruit is just a mini version of regular fruit, they are full of nutrients and health benefits.
They are like small rockets of nutrients as eating 1 small piece of dried fruit would equate to eating 1 large piece of fresh fruit.
If measuring dried fruit by weight, it would have almost 4 times the amount of vitamins, minerals and fibers as fresh fruit.
Dried fruit also is full of antioxidants, which are excellent in fighting off free radicals (what causes cancer and other major health issues in our bodies).
One downfall to eating dried fruit over fresh fruit is that lack of vitamin c, as the process removes much of the vitamin c.
Another downfall is the sugar intake when eating dried fruit. As they are condensed versions of fresh fruit, you often have to eat nearly double the amount of dried fruit to satisfy your hunger.
For example, you may feel satisfied after one full apple, but may need 10 dried apple slices to curb your hunger.
You will get lots of vitamins, but also a lot of sugar.
Natural Dried Fruit Vs. Sugar Coated Dried Fruit
Quite often, you will see dried fruit that has sugar added or is coated in a layer of sugar. Sometimes these fruits are even called candied fruit.
If you are looking for a healthy snack, stay away from this type of dried fruit; the candied name is not misleading as you basically are consuming candy.
The sugar levels are astronomical compared to normal dried fruit as are the calories. You also cannot reap the many health benefits that normal dried fruit has to offer.
To avoid the added sugar, make sure to read your ingredient lists carefully.
There should be no added sugar on both the ingredient list and the nutritional facts.
21 Different Types Of Dried Fruit – Best And Most Common
Now that we have learned all about dried fruit, let’s look at the different dried fruits that are out there as well as their unique tastes, textures, and health benefits.
One of the most popular dried fruits out there, if not the most popular, are raisins– both regular and golden raisins.
Though the name may be misleading, raisins are simply dried grapes. They are often found in trail mixes but can also be bought and consumed by themselves.
They are extremely small, only a few centimeters long and wide, and have an extremely wrinkly texture.
Raisins tend to be a deep purple, almost black and are made from red grapes, and golden raisins look yellow and are made from green grapes.
They are packed with many nutrients including fiber and potassium.
Currants are a type of raisin, but they are made from a special variety of grapes.
Specifically, currants are made from the small grape varieties where raisins are made from larger varieties of grapes.
Currants have a similar look and taste to raisins as well, dark and a bit wrinkly, but they just taste a bit more tart than raisins do.
They soften are considered the “fancier” version of the grape.
Currants are an excellent source of antioxidants, potassium and fiber.
The dried fruit that comes in second place for the popularity contest would be dried apricots.
Like raisins, they are quite often found in snack mixes like trail mix. One interesting thing about the popularity of dried apricots is that fresh apricots do not tend to be as popular.
It could be because they are not often in season, but dried apricots are quite popular and can be found at just about any grocery store.
They are naturally really sweet and a beautiful bright orange color. Their texture is similar to a chewy or sour candy.
Though many people do not love prunes, they also happen to be an extremely popular dried fruit.
Prunes closely resemble raisins, as they are a deep dark purple with a similar wrinkly texture, but they are more than double the size of a raisin.
Dried plums are sweet but with a little bit of bitterness to them; they pair well with richer flavors like chocolate.
One of the biggest health benefits to eating prunes is their ability to assist your digestive tract.
If you suffer from any type of constipation, dried prunes are great to include in your diet.
Dried figs come in two different varieties like raisins do– there are black mission and calimyrna or Turkish dried figs.
The main difference between these two varieties is their color; lack mission figs are a darker purple almost black color and Turkish figs are a dark beige color.
However, Turkish figs also tend to be a bit larger.
When bitten into, both dried figs have visible yellow seeds that are completely safe for consumption.
Dried figs are extremely sweet and have a delicious sticky texture to them.
Dates may seem like a loophole dried fruit as their natural state is what other dried fruits are like, its qualities allow it to be in the dried fruit category (and it is one of the most popular varieties!)
Dates are extremely sweet and candy-like as their sugar content is naturally really high.
This makes them a popular choice in protein bars, desserts, and even for sweetening up smoothies and homemade nut milk.
Dates have a deep brown color and their texture is chewy and closely resembles candy.
One of the biggest health benefits of dates is their effect on pregnant women. Studies suggest that consuming dates in the last few weeks of pregnancy provides an easy labor and cervical dilation.
Out of all the dried fruits, they are also one of the highest in antioxidants.
Dried cherries are not as popular as the previously mentioned fruits, but they are absolutely delicious and a bit unique.
Compared to some other dried fruits on the list, dried cherries tend to be the tarte. However, they still have a nice level of sweetness to them.
Dried cherries are extremely dark in color and look like a cross of a raisin and a prune–super dark and a bit wrinkly.
Dried cherries are not only delicious, but offer an excellent source of vitamin A and could be a good addition to your diet.
Dried cranberries, oftentimes called “craisins,” get that name because they are quite similar to raisins.
They are the same size, look the same texture wise, and the biggest difference is how they are a bright pinkish red color and their taste.
They have a slightly tart taste (not as tart as dried cherries) but with just the right amount of sweetness.
The name is also appropriate as dried cranberries are often used in the same way raisins are. Dried cranberries are often found in trail mixes, and many desserts like cookies.
9. Goji Berries
Dried goji berries are small and look quite a lot like dried cranberries do, they just tend to be a bit longer and more oval shaped than the round cranberry.
Their colors are similar, but cranberries tend to be dark while goji berries have a bright red orange color to them.
Dried goji berries are tart and have been compared to a dried cherry, yet have a hint of sweetness to them.
They are used in both savory and sweet recipes as their tartness is complementary to many different flavors.
Dried goji berries are an excellent source of vitamin C, A, iron and fiber.
Dried mango is a popular dried fruit that is often seen in tropical renditions of trail or snack mixes.
It is a similar color to the raw fruit, but just a lot more dull and not as vibrant as the raw fruit.
Out of all of the dried fruit, mango tends to be the toughest of them all. They are not as soft as an apricot or fig and tend to need a big strong bite to rip it apart.
Once bitten though, the mango is not relatively easy to chew and taste sweet and floral.
Dried papaya is one of the more tropical options for dried fruit; it taste like vacation with every bite.
It is both exotic and sweet tasting with a mild tartness to it with each bite.
Dried papaya is a gorgeous bright orange color and the texture can vary depending on how it was cut before drying.
If it comes in cubes, it tends to be a bit softer. But if it comes in strips, it tends to be a little more tough to bite into, like dried mango.
Dried papaya is an excellent source of both fiber and antioxidants.
Dried peaches are actually one of the harder dried fruits to find, but they are most definitely worth the search.
Like dried apricots, dried peaches are soft and chewy and have a candy-like taste and consistency to them.
They do lose a bit of their beautiful bright color when they are dried and turn more into a brownish orange.
They are usually very sweet and taste like a concentrated version of a fresh peach.
Dried peaches have health benefits as well including iron and vitamin C and A.
Dried pears, like dried peaches, are also a bit harder to find but are a delicious treat when you do.
Dried pears texture is a bit on the tougher side, but they melt in your mouth once bitten into.
They become a brownish yellow, almost beige, color when dried and they usually keep a bit of their signature pear shape
If wanting to try making dried fruit at home, pears are one of the best options as they tend to be relatively easy to dry out.
Dried pineapple is one of the most versatile dried fruits out there.
It can come in chunks, rings, sugared or not sugared. Dried pineapple is also often found in tropical trail mixes and snack mixes.
Because dried pineapples come in different ways, they can taste different depending on the variety.
Chunks and sugared pineapple tend to taste more like candy and are extremely soft and sweet. But rings are a bit on the tougher side and tend to be sweet, but also tart.
One of the biggest benefits to dried pineapple is the amount of fiber each serving contains.
You may be familiar with dehydrated or freeze dried apples as they are extremely popular, but did you know dried apples exist as well?
They are a bit harder to find and can usually only be bought in specialty stores or online, however they are a delicious dried fruit option.
They are a little funny looking and can look a lot like wild mushrooms, however their taste makes up for their looks.
Dried apples are nicely sweet without being overbearing and have a perfectly chewy bite without being too soft.
Dried kiwi is the most beautiful dried fruit on this list. Not only that, when dried, dry kiwi tends to look the most like its raw form.
Now, some dried kiwi does look brown and close to the dehydration state, but some of it is bright green with the seeds present and visible.
Dried kiwi often comes with some type of sugar added to it, so it will be sweeter than a lot of other options and often taste more like candy than fruit.
You may also find it in rings or in chunks and both options tend to be soft and chewy.
Dried blueberries look a lot like dried cranberries or raisins as they are extremely dark. However, they have an obvious blue tint to them.
They are extremely chewy and soft and make an excellent addition to trail and snack mixes as well as yogurt or oatmeal in the morning.
Dried blueberries are another great option to try at home as they tend to be fairly easy to make in an oven.
Dried blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants; they are the best source out of all the dried fruit options.
Dried strawberries are another dried fruit option that tend to be a bit harder to find, however, if you are close to a Costco, you may be in luck.
Dried strawberries look a lot like chewy candy or like the gummy packaged fruit snacks that are out there except with visible seeds all around it.
Not only do they resemble those chewy goodies, they share a texture with them as well. Dried strawberries are extremely soft and chewy.
They are one of the sweetest dried fruits out there and are extremely berry forward tasting as well.
Dried oranges are one of the most beautiful options when choosing dried fruit.
Dried oranges come in thin slices with the peel of the orange still attached. They can be sugared or unsugared and they are more tough than soft.
If they are sugared, they tend to taste citrusy and sweet. If they are not sugared they taste a bit more on the tart side.
Dried oranges are not usually consumed by themselves as a snack, but instead are often used as edible garnishes on desserts and cheese and charcuterie plates.
Though mandarins are a variety of an orange, the dried versions of both of these fruits are quite different.
Where dried oranges are tough, dried mandarins are extremely soft and chewy.
They taste citrusy and more sweet than dried oranges do, even when unsugared. When sugared, dried mandarins taste a lot like candy.
Dried mandarins are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C.
Yes, watermelon can be made into a dried fruit! Another aesthetically appealing option, watermelon retains its signature pink color.
This is also another dried fruit that can be dried with the rind, which becomes a very pale green color.
Most dried watermelon tends to be in a thin “jerky” form, but you can find dried watermelon that’s thicker and squishy when you bite into it. Just keep an eye out for added sugar.
Plus, most varieties of dried watermelon contain crunchy watermelon seeds that are a great source of magnesium.
Dried watermelon doesn’t tend to be a fan favorite taste-wise, but those who love it really love it.
Personally, we’re big fans of the taste of this oxymoron dried fruit and recommend giving it a try.
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