Fruit and Nothing But the Fruit — Plus A Food Gal Giveaway

Peeled Snacks' "Paradise found'' variety with organic bananas, mangoes and pineapple.

In this day and age with ingredients lists a mile long on food packaging, you have to hand it to the “Much-ado-about-mango” one.

Its ingredient list?

Organic mangoes.

That’s it.

Peeled Snacks of Brooklyn makes conveniently packaged dried, organic fruit that has no added sugar, no preservatives, no sulfites and no gluten.

As a result, this dried fruit actually tastes like real fruit and not a souped-up sweetened version of it.

The resealable snack pouches come in 10 varieties, from “Cherry-go-round” (organic cherries) to “Farmer’s Market Trio” (organic raisins, apples and cherries).

Recently, I had a chance to try some sample bags.

Although the fruit is dried, it still has a nice soft texture. I can’t get over how vibrant the fruit tastes when it’s not masked by sugar, as is the case with so many other dried fruit products.

I especially liked the “Paradise found” with its thick, tender chunks of dried banana (none of those thin, hard chips here), along with pieces of mango and bits of pineapple. Call me a purist, but my favorite was probably the “Much-ado-about-mango,” which is just big shards of mango the color of a sunset and the taste of the tropics.

Just mango.

One serving has about 120-130 calories, depending upon the variety.

Tuck a bag into your child’s lunch. Or toss one into your purse, workout bag or carry-on luggage.

A 4.4-ounce bag is $3.49 and is available at select Whole Foods, CVS and Starbucks stores.

Available in resealable bags.

Contest: Two lucky Food Gal readers will get a chance to try a free variety-sampler pack of Peeled Snacks (a $25 value). Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST Sept. 8. Winners will be announced Sept. 10.

How to win?

Just tell me to what great lengths you’ve gone to in order to satisfy a favorite fruit craving.

Here’s my own answer:

“I paid nearly $6 for one small papaya. From Hawaii. When I was in California. After a week-long trip to Hawaii last year, in which I ate a papaya half practically every day, I missed that ultra smooth and creamy texture of Hawaiian papayas. I’ve had other papayas from elsewhere and they just don’t compare in texture and concentrated taste. So when I happened to spy one from Hawaii at a local fruit stand, I just had to have it — no matter the price.”

Produce delivered to your door. (Photo courtesy of Full Circle)

Winners of the Previous Contest: In last week’s Food Gal contest, I asked you to tell me about something memorable you received in a box. Five winners will each receive two weeks worth of free produce deliveries from Full Circle.

Congrats to these five:

1) JChan, who wrote, “I will never forget my husband’s Christmas gift in a box to me when we were engaged. At the time, I was studying hard in a Master’s program to become a children’s social worker. His gift consisted of a child sponsorship in my name (education, clean water, food to a child living in an impoverished area), a handmade magnetic framed photograph of the child, and a Threadless shirt depicting world hunger. I could not think of a more meaningful gift. Each month, we would try to write and send gifts to the sponsored child on our dates… the gift that kept on giving!”

2) Emily, who wrote, “My best ‘in a box’ story: When I was six, I was incredibly attached to a tattered bunny-blanket that I called, creatively, ‘Bunny.’ Bunny and I were inseparable, and I like to think I offered him just as much security as he offered me. One day, in an attempt to (justifiably) wean me off of Bunny, my mom decided to strike a deal: I could keep Bunny with me for as long as I wanted — as long as I stayed out of trouble in the classroom. Chatty child that I was, I came home the very next day with a polite note from my teacher regarding my “excessive socializing” during class. And just like that, Bunny was gone. Or so I thought. Twelve years later, a Freshman in college, I received a care package from my mom. It in I found everyone’s favorite homemade Tollhouse cookies, a week’s supply of Maruchan Ramen bricks & haw flakes, hair barrettes — and Bunny, cleverly clutching a note. ‘Phew, thought I’d never escape Mom’s undies drawer. Figured you might need a buddy now that excessive socializing is not frowned upon but encouraged.’ My partner in crime was back.”

3) Brent, who wrote, “story. I was probably about 5 or so. I wasn’t a terribly active kid, so I typically wanted your standard issue plastic figures/toys/playsets/etc. I would’ve been ecstatic to receive gifts that fell entirely in that category. Particularly, I remember asking for some huge, expensive, playset of one of my favorite superheroes of the time, Captain Power – now, as an adult, something I recognize and acknowledge as an expensive hunk of useless plastic, but as a child, of course, the object of my imagination. On Christmas morning, I found a large box under the tree, which I was sure was this very playset I’d asked for. However, when I unwrapped it, it was instead my first bicycle. Not going to lie – at the time, I was a bit let down. But that all went away when I first was able to ride that bike on my own (after plenty of trial and error, of course). That first ride on a bike, with no training wheels and no help from your parents, is an unreplaceable childhood memory.”

4) Another Emily, who wrote, “When I was younger, my mother formed the endearing habit of giving me themed socks for every holiday. The habit lead to many an incongruous outfit—Thanksgiving turkey socks in August, heart-covered Valentine’s stockings for the first day of school, etc. This habit continued as I grew up and went away to college via care packages. Even if my mother was too busy to send a full-fledged care package, I might receive a padded envelope containing a lone pair of sparkly, bat-winged Halloween socks. During my senior year, my parents moved to South Korea to teach at an international school. You can imagine the interesting socks I received from their adventures abroad. What’s more, I finally got to return the favor and send care packages to my mother with the best selection of holiday themed sockwear.”

5) Nami, who wrote, “Hmm a memorable box – the first thing came to my mind was all the boxes that my mom sent to me when I first started my college life here. She wasn’t sure what I can buy so she put cup noodles, some snacks, all kinds of Japanese condiments, medicines, etc. It was like a supermarket in a box. I told her I can live without it, but she kept sending some boxes full of stuff throughout my first year (then she occasionally sent some boxes afterwards). The time shipping cost more than what was inside and that was the crazy part. Now being a mom I really appreciate her thoughts and I will never forget that moment when I first opened the box… when I think of memorable, surprise, special box, it’s my mom’s crazy boxes of Japanese goodness. She still sends me sometimes too…but now she send me things that we can only get in Japan.”

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  • The craziest thing I did to satisfy a fruit craving must have been the time in the middle of a Canadian blizzard and I was craving lychee. At the time I was in an university town and fruit selection was limited to start. I think I must have trekked from bus stop to bus stop in -25C temperatures over 2 hours and probably 15 cm snow.

    I ended up at the only Asian supermarket hours later to only find it was opening in another 30 minutes. I stood frozen in front of the store for that time and dashed in once they opened their store. Frozen solid, I head over to the fruit section to find no lychee, longon, or anything else resembling it. I asked the store employee and the only lychee thing they had was popsicle!

    Considering I just spent over 2 hours to get the taste of lychee, I bought 2 boxes and spent another 2 hours back to the dorm. At least the popsicles didn’t melt on the way home 🙂

  • I can’t win because I live in Canada – but good luck to the others! This looks like a delicious prize.

  • I have gone searching for durians in the Bay Area! Ha, that is hard to find, especially the Malaysian variety. We were particularly looking for durians with strong pungent aromas around but gosh, the durians here have no smell at all 🙁 (ha, kinda weird as I think the retailers here must have found some tricks to make durians not smell pungent!!!) Alas, we were only able to find the Thailand variety which I promise is not as good as the Malaysian variety. And the better Thailand variety we have tasted were actually frozen/vacuum-packed and sold in ethnic Vietnamese mini-mart in the Bay Area.

  • Mangosteen is one of my favorite fruit of all time. The refreshing, pure, smooth and sweet flesh are so amazing that I can’t get from any other fruit. No wonder they are the queen of fruit (Durian is the king, but not many like their smell). The price of Mangosteen is very reasonable in Asia and they are everywhere when in season. It’s so hard to get the fresh ones in the States though. The last time I saw the fresh ones from a Vietnamese market, I didn’t even look at the price and went to check out. I ended up paying $24+ for just a small bag. But I think they worth every single penny!

  • I LOVE dried fruit…especially when the only ingredient on the label is the fruit itself! I’ve been known to walk from one side of Manhattan, the east side where I live, all the way over to the west side to go to this specialty produce store that has every type of fruit and vegetable imaginable to get plantains!

  • Ha! I was just eating some dried mango. I love it! I don’t understand why anyone would buy sweetened mango. I see it at the store, but I buy the unsweetened kind. It tastes just like candy. Why would you need added sugar??

  • After tasting fresh picked pineapple in the Dominican Republic a few years ago, I developed a rather unhealthy obsession for the golden fruit. So much so I have resorted to getting pineapple anywhere possible, including frozen chunks. Now, those chunks taste nothing like the real thing (they often are rather bland tasting) but it’s nothing that a good coating of melted chocolate can’t cover up!

    I’m counting down the days until I can get back to the Dominican Republic. First thing on my list? Pineapple.

  • My husband and I live near the Apalachicola National Forest. In the woods, there are usually some blueberry bushes. Every summer, we check if there are any ripe blueberries to pick before the wildlife get to them. Few summers back, there were a lot of blueberries! My husband and I immediately made plans to pick them. We donned our hats with mosquito netting and slathered on homemade mosquito repellent. We picked as many blueberries as we could even though it was SO hot and humid and bizillion mosquitos were buzzing all around us! Finally after sweating buckets, I think we got only about 2–3 quarts of blueberries. Well, it was a lot of hardwork to get some fresh blueberries BUT it was worth it having them for dessert or in our freshly baked muffins!

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