Tropical organic dried fruit is great for a snack or when used in cooking.
The tropical regions of Australia – The Kimberley region in Western Australia, the ‘Top End’ area of the Northern Territory and far North Queensland – are mostly suitable for the growing of a wide variety of exotic fruit, most species originating in Asia.
Australia has a very strict quarantine policy aimed at restricting the import of exotic fruit and plants which might introduce diseases and pests to the local industry, so some of the species are only seen rarely in southern markets.
Organic dried fruit from the tropics has all the goodness of the fresh, ripe fruit, is easy to transport and store and is versatile in its usage.
If you are visiting Tropical Australia and want a new taste experience, look for unusual exotic fruits in local farmers’ markets. Sometimes farmers will dry and sell excess produce there. Papayas, bananas, limes and passionfruit seem to fruit year round. But mangoes, rambutans, lychees, durian, jackfruit, abiu, rollinia and other rare exotics have a shorter harvesting season, usually from November to February.
Because of recent, devastating cyclones, much of the commercial production of exotic fruit has experienced a setback and will take some years to recover. However, the swathe of destruction left some areas unaffected and these continue to develop what is a fairly new industry in the country.
Various sulphites are used as preservatives in many commercially produced juices and dried fruits. They help to keep the bright colour of fruit and inhibit the growth of bacteria and enzymes, which may cause it to discolour. But they are also thought to be partly responsible for asthma, hyper-activity and migraines in children and adults.
Many people, concerned for their family’s health, prefer to eat fruit that has been grown and processed without the addition of chemicals of any description. If Tropical Superfoods can't find strictly organic products we use those grown with the least pesticides and herbicides possible.
Of course, only a minority of orchards or plantations in Australia are certified organic. In response to consumer demand it is these suppliers that we wish to encourage.
NB: We have been using organic sugar in our products such as vanilla sugar, ginger sugar, cinnamon sugar and turmeric sugar but, disappointingly, we have been unable to find a single organic sugar producer in Australia! It does seem that Australians prefer to buy Australian products so, from June 2012 we will be using Daintree Gold sugar, grown in North Queensland and processed at the Mossman Sugar Mill.
If you can’t find organic dried fruit in the shops you could always dry your own. Peel and trim fruit then cut it up into fairly small chunks or slices and leave to dry in the sun and wind, in an electrical fruit dehydrator or in your kitchen oven set at a low heat (45 – 50 degrees). Fan-forced is quickest, especially if you leave the oven door open a crack to allow water vapour to escape.
Best solution: buy it from Tropical Superfoods!