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

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.

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.

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.”

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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