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Top Pick Of The Week

January 2, 2007

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Stoneridge Orchards Fruits
Dried blueberries and peaches are two of the eight dried fruit flavors available in grab-and-go packages from Stoneridge Orchards. All fruit photography by Melody Lan | THE NIBBLE.
WHAT IT IS: Gourmet dried fruit in 8 flavors.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Pretty pieces of dried fruit not only taste good (yes, because of the added sugar) but look great in other dishes: on pancakes, on salads, yogurt, ice cream, decorating cupcakes, etc.
WHY WE LOVE IT: A “better for you” grab-and-go snack, a sweeter dried fruit alternative, and a good ingredient to keep on the shelf when there’s no fresh fruit in the house.
WHERE TO BUY IT: StoneridgeOrchards.com.


Stoneridge Orchards Dried Fruit: Grab & Go

There aren’t too many guilt-free sweet snacks out there. Fresh fruit is a logical choice, but much fresh fruit is iffy these days—not particularly sweet, and not always available when you’re at work or on-the-go. Dried fruit is an option, but it, too, often lacks a satisfying sweetness. Stoneridge Orchards has hit upon a solution: whole dried fruits and berries that are guaranteed sweet because they infuse a bit of sugar into the drying process. The result is 130 to 140 calories per serving. It’s still nutritious fruit, and the added sweetness hits the spot. With nine different fruit varieties including the high-antioxidant blueberries and Montmorency cherries, the resealable packages of gourmet dried fruits can be transported or tucked anywhere. It’s easy to add them to dishes at home: When there’s no fresh fruit in the house, strawberry pancakes or salads and sundaes studded with tasty raspberries still can appear on the table. Kids can start popping fruit instead of gummi candies. The line is all-natural, sulfite-free, fat-free and kosher-certified.

  • To read the full review below, click here. If your e-mail client does not support anchor links that jump to text above or below, e.g. AOL, please scroll down.
  • Read reviews of more of our favorite snacks.
  • Review the Table of Contents of the January issue of THE NIBBLE online magazine, plus the back issues archive and our most popular articles.
  • All of the Top Pick Of The Week newsletters are permanently archived on TheNibble.com, in chronological order and by product category.

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Stoneridge Orchards: Grab & Go Dried Fruits

INDEX

 

In order to keep eating all of the wonderful specialty foods we like to enjoy all year, we have to figure out how to stop grabbing all those seductive junk foods we pass each day—the merely average donut or chocolate chip cookie, the ordinary pastries and candies that present themselves while we’re at our favorite coffee chain, passing the newsstand, or otherwise afar of THE NIBBLE offices were the great bounty lies. We think we need energy, deserve a treat, or are hungry: all empty excuses, but the excuses invariably triumph as the sugar demon begs to be fed. If we can’t stick to a serious food plan that doles out sugar sparingly, at least let us focus our snacking on better snacks. Last year we compiled a list of healthy office snacks, and we’re adding Stoneridge Orchards gourmet dried fruits to the list. It’s a different approach to dried fruit—even the sweet-toothed will be happy to know of it.

Stoneridge Orchards starts with top-quality fruits. In the drying process, the fruits are infused with a bit of sugar* to preserve the fruit and bring out the full fruit flavor (and yes, it gives our palates that bit of sugar they crave). Still, it’s nutritious dried fruit, not sugary candy, and we think Stoneridge Orchards has found a recipe for success.

Stoneridge Orchards Peaches
The antidote to the donut: Grab a package of Stoneridge Orchards dried fruit.

*Some of the fruits have sugar: Cranberries, Green Apples, Montmorency Cherries and Raspberries. Sucrose is added to Peaches. High fructose corn syrup is added to Blueberries, Bing Cherries and Strawberries. Sweeteners are paired to different fruits that best maintain the fruit’s vibrant natural color.

Dried Fruit Flavors

There are enough varieties of fruit to sustain a snacker’s interest. An organic line, due shortly, will add even more to the cornucopia, including kiwis and apricots. For now, feast upon:

  • Berrymix
  • Bing Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries
  • Green Apples (Granny Smith)
  • Peaches
  • Montmorency Cherries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

The infusion of sugar helps bring the flavor of the dried fruit closer to the taste of the fresh product. We especially enjoy the peach slices and the raspberries, now that those fruits are out of season. The one fruit that doesn’t work for us is the Green Apples. By nature, Granny Smiths are tart. These sweet slices don’t taste apple-like (other dried apple products we reviewed, especially Bare Fruit, have been spot-on), but that’s not a tragedy: Fresh green apples are generally available for most of the year and are an easily-portable, non-crushable snack. The rest of the fruits in the line need to be dried! Go for the Montmorency cherries over the Bing. The Bing has more name recognition, but the Montmorency, with its slightly tart profile, has more complex flavor.

Dried Raspberries
The fragile raspberries of summer become sturdy
dried snacks for all seasons.The all-natural products have no artificial colors or flavors, hydrogenated oils, preservatives or sulfites.

Beyond Snacking: Serving Suggestions

Aside from snacking on fruit from the bag, what can you do with it?

  • Breakfast: Add to cereal, yogurt, pancakes and waffles (on top or inside), bake into muffins and biscuits, serve as a side in a ramekin.
  • Lunch: Add to green salads and fruit salads, garnish sandwiches.
  • Dinner: Mix into rice; garnish lighter meats like poultry, pork and veal; sprinkle on plates as [edible] decor.
  • Desserts: Serve as a dessert, garnish other desserts, make a dried fruit compote, add to cookies and pies, add to rice pudding and other puddings, substitute for candied fruits in fruit cake.
  • Snacks: Add to purchased snack mixes, blend with with nuts to make your own snack mix, serve with cheese.
  • Projects: The different colors and shapes are a fun decorating project, especially with iced carrot cake or zucchini cake or cupcakes.

Click here to send us your suggestions, and we’ll add them to the list.

Stoneridge Orchards Dried Blueberries
Blueberries, the highest-antioxidant fruit, are available for a few weeks in the summer, but can be enjoyed year-round from Stoneridge Orchards.

 

Stoneridge Orchards received an award from the National Nutritional Food Association (NFFA), The People’s Choice Award for Best New Sweet Snack of 2004. We would have liked these sweet treats even if no authority had endorsed them as “nutritious.” We have come to prefer them to a Butterfinger. Armed with a bag in our briefcase, we can turn a deaf ear to those substandard sweets that beckon like sirens in our peregrinations.

—Karen Hochman

FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to anyone who wants better—or different—snacks, or new and interesting cooking ingredients.

STONERIDGE ORCHARDS

Gourmet Dried Fruits in Berrymix, Blueberry, Bing Cherry, Cranberries, Green Apples,
Montmorency Cherries, Peaches, Raspberries
Strawberries

Certified kosher by Orthodox Union

  • Case Of 10 5-Ounce Bags
    $59.99
  • Larger size bags available
    Telephone 1.866.759.5274

Purchase online at StoneridgeOrchards.com

The fruits can be purchased in individual bags at fine stores nationwide.

Prices and flavor availability are verified at
publication but are subject to change.

Stoneridge Orchards Packages
These 5-ounce bags contain 3.5 servings. The fruit is
so sweet and full-flavored, our sweet tooth was satisfied with less, and we got more servings from each bag.


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Find more of our favorite snacks
in THE NIBBLE online magazine.

Healthy Savory Snacks:


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Healthy Sweet Snacks:

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